A recent trend in the coffee industry is something called honey coffee. Now, before you start adding honey to your morning cup of coffee, it’s not what you think. Just as coffee beans aren’t actually beans, they are cherries of the coffee plants, honey coffee isn’t coffee with honey added for a sweeter taste. Usually, before being roasted, the fleshy part of the coffee cherry must be removed and the seeds are dried until they reach 11% moisture content. With honey processing, some amount of the fleshy layer called mucilage isn’t removed. Mucilage is sticky and sweet, just like honey. Compared to regular coffee, honey coffee is known for its sweet flavors.
There Are Two Categories Of Honey Coffee In The Market:
White And Yellow Honey- white honey coffee has minimal mucilage left and it’s mechanically washed. Yellow honey coffee has a bit more mucilage and it’s usually semi-washed. There are different definitions of white and yellow beans, depending on the manufacturer.
Gold, Red And Black Honey- to make these honey coffee types, different moisture content is adjusted. Black honey coffee has higher moisture content, red honey coffee has slight less moisture and gold has the lowest moisture. To ensure low humidity, gold honey seeds are dried under direct sunlight, so they will dry quickly. Red honey is dried under light shade and black honey is dried under more shade to slow the drying process down. Red honey process removes just 50% of the mucilage and the black honey process retains much of the mucilage.
Black honey coffee is considered by many as the best honey coffee variant, because it’s flavourful and rich in body. However, the slow and laborious process makes black honey coffee the most expensive. It requires constant monitoring to prevent over-fermentation of black honey. The growth of mold will cause the coffee to lose its freshness and rich flavor.
In contrast, red and gold honey coffees are easier and quicker to produce, due to the faster drying process. Even so, compared to regular coffee – red and gold honey still has unique flavors. White and yellow honey coffees are known for their cleaner flavor and ideal when prepared as filtered coffee.
It takes experience to classify the quality and type honey coffee. Roasters need to have the skill to highlight the flavor and scent of honey coffee, regardless of the type. At the moment, honey process is all the rage in Central American countries and the trend is expanding to other parts of the world.
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