This process is most commonly associated with producing countries in Indonesia where it is known locally as ‘Giling Basah’ which, when translated, means ‘wet grinding’. In this process the coffee is picked, depulped (usually on the individual small holding) and then partly sun dried until the moisture content of the beans reaches 30-35 per cent. Unusually, the parchment beans are then hulled at this stage to tear off the outer layer protecting the inner bean revealing a whitish coloured, swollen green bean. The drying is then completed on the patio until the moisture content reduces to a level where mould formation is not a risk. After this is complete, the beans turn to a dark green/blueish colour which is very distinctive and makes Indonesian beans processed in this way instantly recognisable.
This process does not come without its problems – due to the fact that the protective layer is removed at an earlier state, the beans are left exposed to the elements (and insects) during a really important stage in the process. Indonesian beans (and particularly Sumatran beans) are often associated with woody, earthy or spicy flavours which are thought to be a result of this unique process. Some buyers prize these characteristics whereas others will view them as defects in the cup. When we look for a great Sumatran, we want plenty of body with heavy chocolate flavour and a touch of tangerine funk. They can make excellent blend components adding real depth and weight to your coffee.