A“natural” coffee refers to the method of processing coffee once it is picked. Only the ripest berries are picked, and the fruit is spread out to dry on mats or “patios” in the sun, encouraging the fruit notes of the coffee cherry to infuse into the seed inside. As the coffee cherry dries, the skin and the pulp attach to the parchment, which is like a peanut skin surrounding the seed. It is this pulp or fruit, often called the mucilage layer, that ferments during drying and enhances fruit notes in the coffee. Natural coffee is best picked and processed when the dry season begins, and the coffee is at its ripest. The natural process takes about 20 days to dry.
This process for producing top quality beans requires incredible attention and constant turning on the patios to achieve a great tasting coffee in the cup. The reason for this is that only the perfectly ripe cherries can produce the desired traits and therefore any unripe cherries must be identified and removed by hand. Once the cherry is dried, the coffee is hulled, meaning the fruit skin is removed with burrs using friction, and two coffee beans are revealed. The coffee is cleaned in gravity tables, screened by size and then hand sorted again to remove any defects to ensure a clean cup and an even roast.
Coffee Mongers Roasting Company – the UK-based specialist roaster – searches out farmers that produce the best natural coffees. They believe the natural coffees bring body to the cup, are clean and reveal a complex layering of fruit flavours that offer exciting and different taste profiles to be enjoyed as much as their specialty washed coffees.
Coffee Mongers is currently offering a Natural El Salvador, Finca El Gobiado. This 14-hectare farm is located in the lush Apaneca Illamatepec mountains and is owned by the Alfaro Family, fourth generation coffee producers in El Salvador. The volcanic soil, elevation and climate conditions, creates the ideal atmosphere to produce an extraordinary quality natural coffee. The coffee boasts buttery, sugar cane notes and a sweet grape acidity. Like all of Coffee Mongers specialty coffees, this coffee is sustainably sourced, and roasted on a bespoke medium profile to ensure the flavour notes are highlighted. Coffee Mongers coffees are available to enjoy at their roastery in Hampshire, or can be ordered online.