In anticipation of a class on fermentation and processing styles in coffee, I asked my colleague Evan to help me create a unique visualization tool to convey accurately and quickly what people mean when they say “pulped natural” or “triple washed,” for example.
You’ll note the color-coded language: green indicating almost always and red almost never, with a good amount of ambiguity highlighted in yellow and a few exceptions noted in other shades and with some additional text.
This is because not everyone means the same thing when they use certain terms to indicate their processing methods. Ambiguity springs up all over the place. You can find out more about fermentation and Anaerobic & Carbonic styles of processing here.
You can also access the full size PDF here: Processing Steps Infographic
This is a good summary of what I have observed as well. However, we have a nice Honey process coffee that I have difficulty naming because it doesn’t fit any of these conventions. We do a fermentation of the cherry for a few days in water with a yeast inoculation, so it’s close to CM, but CM is supposed to be sealed tanks flushed with CO2. We started calling it Anaerobic 3 years ago since the water bath is a low oxygen environment, and at that time there was less industry clarity about which terms to use, so now it feels out of place since the term is usually used for a process different than ours.
Cost of production and results in the cup are ultimately all that matter, but it sure is nice if we can add some fancy marketing speak to help indicate we have taken an intentional approach to fermentation.