The Kenya coffee offered in International markets is processed by use of the Wet Parchment Method. This ensures a high quality coffee bean.
The following is the Wet Parchment Method of Processing:
- Sorting: Coffee cherries are harvested when “cherry red.” On reaching the factory, the under-ripe and overripe cherries are sorted out from those that are the perfect ripeness.
- Pulping: The red cherries are pulped as soon as they are picked and no longer than 24 hrs, otherwise, they begin to ferment. Light cherries are floated out and pulped separately. Pulping removes the exocarp and part of the fleshy mesocarp. The pulped parchment then passes along the grading channels, where it is separated into 3 grades by specific gravity and passes to the fermentation tanks. The heaviest fall into tank number 1, followed by the medium and lightest in tanks 2 and 3, respectively.
- Fermenting: Yes, coffee has a fermentation phase. This is what gives coffee its sweetness. Never tasted a sweet coffee? Well, order some of our coffee today to experience it! Natural Fermentation takes 72hrs to complete, but use of enzymes, yeast or bacteria can accomplish the process in 12-24hrs.
- Washing: The fermented parchment is washed and graded, and then sun-dried, where possible, the coffee is initially dried in a flow of hot air and finished off by sun drying.
- Drying: Sun-drying takes 8-10 days and during this time, coffee is protected from rain. It is turned regularly to give an even and quick drying. During the drying process, coffee beans go through several stages, ranging from skin dry, where there is no more water between bean and parchment, through ‘White’, ‘Soft Black’, ‘Medium Black’, ‘Hard Black’, to ‘Fully Dry’, where there is no trace of blackness, and the beans grayish-blue in color. At this stage, the beans are at 10-11% moisture content.
- Curing: The dried parchment is then hulled, then polished and graded. Hulling removes the endocarp and testa (silver-skin). The final traces of the silver-skin are removed in polishing. Defective beans are sorted out by hand.
- Grading: The final grading of Kenyan coffee is on the basis of shape and size of the bean. Read our post on the different coffee grades.