Green coffee is coffee in its unroasted state. The coffee we drink is the roasted bean or seed that grows inside the coffee fruit or Cherry. As the cherries ripen at different rates, the farmer will visit each coffee tree many times to harvest only the bright red ripe cherries. The cherries are picked and sorted ready for "pulping" (the process of removing the seed from the fruit).
The pulping or milling process varies depending on where in the world the coffee farm is, but the fundamentals are the same.
There are two main milling processes: “Wet” (or Washed) & “Dry”.
The “Wet” or “Washed” process, removes the beans from the fruit by floating the cherries down a canal (traditional method, some countries have employed technology to reduce the volume of water used as they don’t have ready access to a lot of water), through a mill that crushes the fruit. The seed, being more dense, sinks to the bottom of the canal and the fruit floats on. This method does have an effect on the flavour of the coffee, which then tends to contain a brighter acidity in the final roasted product. Of course this process is mostly employed in areas where water is more readily accessible.
The “Dry” milling process is often employed to remove the bean from the cherry without the use of water. The dry method has interesting effects on the flavour of the final roasted product, including boosting Crema production in Espresso blends. The earthy tones this process highlights are often (but not always) a positive attribute of the final coffee in the cup.
After the milling process, the green coffee bean is dried. Again, different countries tend toward different methods, some dry the green beans on roof tops, others in nets, and still others on large concrete drying pads. Some farms will speed up the process with heat and fans, but usually this is the case with mass produced or monsooned coffees as this has a negative impact in the final cup. Each of these methods in turn creates it’s own taste profile.
It is important that coffee be dried to within 9 and 13% moisture content. Below 9% and the coffee will deform, shrink and not roast well. Above 13% and the beans will mold in the bag. An ideal 12% moisture should be maintained in green coffee in order for the coffee to handle the rigours of the chemical process initiated by roasting. All FIX! coffees are strictly tested for ideal moisture conditions prior to roasting.