Honey Process

What Is Honey Processed Coffee?

Honey processed coffee is a method of coffee processing that involves removing the outer skin of the coffee cherry but leaving some or all of the sticky, sweet mucilage intact during drying. The coffee beans are then dried with this mucilage layer, which gives them a distinct sweetness and flavour profile. 


The name "honey processed" comes from the sticky appearance of the mucilage, which resembles honey. This method allows for various flavour profiles, depending on how much mucilage is left on the beans during drying. This results in coffees with varying levels of sweetness, acidity, and body. Honey processed coffees are prized for their complexity and unique flavour characteristics.


How Do Coffee Beans Go From Farm to Cup? 

The honey process, or processing in general, is just one step in a long 

journey your coffee bean takes from farm to cup. Here's a breakdown of 

that journey.  


  • Cultivation and Harvesting: Coffee plants are grown in areas with prolonged direct sunlight and a hot and humid climate, typically within the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The coffee cherries, which contain the beans, ripen on the trees. They are harvested either by hand, selecting only the ripe cherries or by machine.
  • Processing: Once the coffee cherries are harvested, they must be processed to extract the beans. The two main processes used in this step are natural and washed. However, there are other variations in processes, such as honey, which we're talking about here (sometimes called semi-washed and pulped natural). To learn more about these coffee processes, you can read about them here.
  • Drying: The beans, whether encased in the parchment or dried with the fruit, are spread out to dry in the sun.
  • Milling and Hulling: Once dried, the beans go through milling and hulling to remove any remaining layers of parchment or husk.
  • Sorting and Grading: The beans are sorted based on size, weight, and quality for uniformity.
  • Exporting: The sorted and graded beans are packaged and exported to coffee roasters worldwide.
  • Roasting: Coffee roasters receive green coffee beans and roast them to develop flavours, significantly influencing the final product's taste.
  • Enjoying: The coffee is ready to be ground, brewed and enjoyed.


The unique taste of a cup of coffee is determined by various factors such as its origin, altitude, processing method, and roasting profile. The journey of coffee beans from the farm to your cup requires a lot of hard work and expertise from everyone involved at each stage. This results in the distinct and unique flavour of the final cup.


Where Did Honey Processing Originate?

The term Honey processing first originated in Costa Rica in the mid-2000s. The farmers there would refer to the sweet, sticky layer of mucilage surrounding the bean as "miel," the Spanish word for honey. As coffees processed this way tend to be very sweet, it made sense. And so the term held. 


But, even though Costa Ricans are credited with discovering and naming this process, the reality is that it bears many similarities to the traditional way of processing coffee in Brazil. Here, the terms semi-washed and pulped-natural are widespread. And each mainly describes how much mucilage is left on during the drying process. So pulped-natural could be called Red honey, while semi-washed could be called Yellow honey. In fact, it's the semi-washed process we use on the Brazillian beans in our FiXX Classic blend and is the source of its sweetness. 


What Flavours Can Be Found in Honey Processed Coffee?

Honey process coffee, also known as pulped natural or semi-washed coffee, can exhibit a diverse range of flavours that combine elements of both natural and washed processing methods. Some typical flavours found in honey processed coffee include:


  1. Sweetness: Honey process coffees often have a pronounced sweetness, similar to natural process coffees. This sweetness can range from honey-like to caramel-like, depending on the degree of mucilage left on the beans during drying.
  2. Fruitiness: Like natural process coffees, honey process coffees may also feature fruity notes, although typically less intense. These fruity flavours can include hints of berries, stone fruits, or citrus, adding complexity to the cup.
  3. Nuttiness: Some honey process coffees exhibit nutty flavours such as almond, hazelnut, or walnut. These nutty notes can complement the sweetness and acidity of the coffee, providing a balanced and satisfying taste experience.
  4. Chocolatey or cocoa-like notes: Honey process coffees may also feature chocolatey or cocoa-like flavours, especially in darker roasts. 


Honey process coffees offer various flavours depending on the coffee variety, origin, and roasting technique. Their unique combination of sweetness, fruitiness, and complexity makes them popular among coffee enthusiasts seeking distinct and memorable tasting experiences. The best place to discover a FiXX honey processed coffee is in our range of FiXX Single Origin coffees, where the process often appears. 

Honey Process