Pulped Natural Process: the example of Sitio Monte Sinai

Jao Joel

With a tasting score of 90.83 - which earned it a "Presidential award" - Sitio Monte Sinai well deserves its place in our Select Reserve.

But to what does this variety of coffee from Brazil owe its exceptional taste? Is it the ground? The climate ? Humidity? Coffee professionals agree that the most determining parameter is the method of processing the bean: the Pulped Natural Process .

Pulped Natural Process - method of processing the coffee bean

“Natural pulped”, an atypical process

For information, we are talking here about a coffee processing stage which takes place well before it arrives at our workshop, well before Brûlerie du Quai purchases it on the auction platforms. The Pulped Natural Process is applied to coffee beans just after picking : it is therefore done in Brazil, by the planters/exporters.

If the taste (and texture and aroma and body...) of Sitio Monte Sinai coffee differs so much from other varieties from South America, it is in particular because of the Pulped Natural process.

Coffees of this kind are very rare on the market, the reason being that this preparation method is quite complex and requires more hi-tech equipment, more labor, and time.

The result is a coffee that has a lot of body once in the cup, is sweeter, fruitier and tangier. The profile of Sitio Monte Sinai evokes a complex blend of aromas of cane sugar, honey, acai, lemongrass, mango and pineapple . Its texture is silky, shiny, a little white chocolate, slightly citric, elegant with a long finish.

Ripe coffee cherries, pulped natural process

Detailed presentation of the pulped natural processing process

Once picked, the coffee cherries are sorted: the planters only retain the ripe cherries . A method of sorting other than by hand is to immerse the cherries in a container filled with water (flotation tank): ripe ones sink, unripe cherries float to the surface.

The “selected” cherries are then pulped by machine . Note that the pulper can be adjusted to remove almost all or only part of the mucilage. Once pulped, the coffee beans are placed in the sun to dry. These last two stages - pulping and natural drying - characterize the pulped natural process.

Different from honey process, natural process and washed process

  • In the washed process, the cherries are also pulped shortly after harvest, but are then placed in a container filled with water so that they ferment. Thanks to fermentation , the mucilage that remains attached to the grains becomes detached. The grains are then "washed" with water before being dried in the sun.
  • By opting for the natural process, the farmers put the cherries directly to dry under the sun after sorting them. This is the "most archaic" method of processing coffee cherries, not requiring much special attention ( no fermentation, no washing, no pulping ).
  • Very popular in Costa Rica, the honey process is very similar to the pulped natural process: the processing steps are the same. The difference is mainly in terms of pulping: the machine is programmed to remove the minimum amount of mucilage possible (ideally just the skin). This flesh that was spared from pulping “caramelizes” when it dries in the sun. In doing so, a lot of sugar seeps into the bean: the coffee is sweeter and acidified.

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