What The Heck is Washed Coffee?
Most of us don’t examine our coffee beans or grounds.
We groggily scoop, brew and sip.
After all, why should we? All coffee looks alike — and to some of us, it tastes alike.
If you’ve joined a coffee of the month club recently, you may notice something a titch fruitier in your cup….
We’re talking about washed coffee beans.
Washed coffees are considered the creme-de-la-creme of coffee. Their hip, fun, and offer up flavors you didn’t know existed in coffee.
Of course, don’t expect to find a washed bean at the grocery store — unless you’re shopping for your milk and meat at some epicurean market. These washed beans go through an extensive process and are used by companies that feature high-quality coffees for the true aficionado.
Wait, the Coffee Beans Took a Bath?
No, not exactly.
The term “washed” can be a little misleading.
While you may be picturing a bucket of coffee beans soaking in the hot sun with some bubbles and a glass of wine, the washing process is a little more in-depth. Once you see the process, however, you will also understand why washed beans tend to cost more.
Washed beans go through the wet processing method. Essentially, the beans are harvested, just like regular beans, but then they go straight to the mill and start their transformation.
Here at the mill, the beans are sorted and go through several critical steps:
- The outer skin of the bean is removed from the seed using a depulper — a fancy machine.
- Once removed, the coffee is then placed in a tank where the remaining skin is removed naturally via fermentation. This lasts anywhere from one to two days.
- The coffee is then washed to remove the debris. Then it is usually sun-dried. If the area where the coffee was harvested lacks adequate natural sun or has high humidity, a mechanical dryer may be used.
After all of this work, you will definitely notice a difference.
The coffee bean itself is lighter in color (and even in weight). When you brew the coffee, you will notice it is cleaner, slightly caramel in color, higher in acidity and…..extremely flavorful.
Washed beans bring out the natural flavors of the coffee.
You know how you read a bag of coffee and they say you will taste honeysuckle, fig, lemon, etc.? You drink it only to find that you taste nothing but, well, coffee.
Coffee beans are fruit. You’d never know it from your traditional brew. But, they really are fruit! No, it’s not a replacement for eating real fruit — though, one could argue you’re getting your fruit intake with your two cups a day…right?
With the washed beans, you actually taste all of those claims on the bag. The flavors are pronounced — if not punching you in the face. When they say you taste “lemon,” you seriously taste lemon. It’s refreshing, lighter, and doesn’t have any bitter aftertaste.
Now, if you’re a hardcore-bold-roast-type of coffee drinker, you may find washed coffees more like a tea. I like to describe them as Coffee for Tea Drinkers, because they have that tea-like taste, but still a slight coffee punch.
Overall, washed coffees are definitely something unique. Each roaster and bean will have its own unique flavor profile too — so you won’t have the same monotony that regular coffee can often bring.
Obviously, washed coffees aren’t for everyone. They are fruity, they are acidic, and they can be a little too sweet for that morning pick-me-up. But, if you’re looking to change up your coffee or just try something new, migrate your way over to some washed bean varieties.
Not Sure Where to Find Them?
You don’t have to. With a coffee of the month club, those washed beans will find their way to you. Coffee of the Month Clubs, like Moustache Coffee Club, Angels Cup, and even Blue Bottle all periodically send out washed coffees.
Even if you decide washed coffee isn’t for you after tasting it, at least you can say that you’ve tried it. It’s definitely something every coffee lover has to try at least once — and I dare argue to say that if you haven’t tried it, you aren’t a real coffee fanatic!
Check out all of the coffee of the month clubs we’ve personally tested and brewed here at Revuezzle. See our taste test results, then order one up for yourself.