Is Honey Processed Coffee Good for Espresso?
There is some discussion about whether honey-processed coffee is good for espresso.
Some say that honey-processed coffee's natural sweetness and delicate flavors are perfect for espresso.
In contrast, others say that the lack of acidity makes it unsuitable for this type of coffee.
We will explore what makes coffee honey-processed and whether or not such coffee is a good candidate for espresso.
What does honey-processed coffee mean?
Honey-processed coffee describes a coffee dried with the skin and fruit removed from the coffee cherry while preserving a sticky layer called mucilage.
This mucilage is reminiscent of a small amount of honey, hence the name of the process.
The "honey" layer helps to add sweetness and body to the coffee and also helps to reduce acidity.
Is honey-processed coffee washed or natural?
Both and neither.
Honey-processed coffee beans are a cross between natural and washed processing methods.
Washed processed coffee removes the skin and fruit from the bean before drying.
Natural processed coffee keeps the skin and fruit intact during the drying process.
With honey-processed beans, producers leave some fruit flesh in place when drying.
Where is honey-processed coffee produced?
Honey-processed coffee may be found worldwide, especially where water access is an issue.
Countries in South America, Central America, and Africa with water shortages have had to develop ways around water-intensive wash processes.
This resourcefulness has led to the honey and natural processing practices we see today.
Some credit Costa Rican coffee producers as the originators of the honey process.
What are the types of honey-processed coffee?
The amount of fruit flesh or mucilage left on the bean determines the type of honey-processed coffee.
The classes are color-coded.
White honey-processed coffee indicates the least amount of flesh, whereas black indicates the most.
Colors in between, such as yellow or red, denote higher amounts of mucilage as they approach black.
Some producers are adding even more color names to the mix.
What does honey-processed coffee taste like? Is it sweeter than other coffees?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as the sweetness of honey-processed coffee will vary depending on the individual beans and the brewing method used.
Many believe honey-processed coffee is sweeter and more mellow than other coffees.
Honey processing is a delicate process that preserves more of the natural sugars in the coffee bean.
This results in a sweeter, smoother cup of coffee. As with any other coffee, how sweet it tastes depends on the beans and how they are roasted and brewed.
Adding to the complexity, the more flesh left on the bean before the drying process, the closer the beans will be to a natural coffee flavor profile. The less, the beans will be closer to a washed coffee flavor profile.
Personally, I think honey-processed coffee can be an excellent choice for espresso.
Still, it depends on the specific beans and how they are roasted.
Your best bet is to find a honey-processed coffee roasted with espresso in mind and give it a shot.
As coffee making goes, you should always experiment with different beans and brewing methods to find what you like best.