This coffee has been processed using the Black Honey method, where immediately after being dry pulped it is put to dry in parijuelas (raised beds) and continually turned to ensure even drying and prevent over-fermentation. Parijuelas are wooden bed like structures that are raised above ground with mesh, much like African beds. After several days of pre-drying on the parijuelas, the coffee is then finished on clay patios. The drying time is about 22 days.
‘Honey’ processing is a method of low-water processing that is increasingly common across Central America. The name derives from the gooey nature of mucilage left on the beans, resembling honey. Different designations of white, yellow, red and black honey are often used among Central and South American farmers and commonly refer to differences in:
• The amount of mucilage left on the bean after pulping, with white being the least with 80-90% removed, black the most with virtually all the mucilage being left intact in order to develop a fuller flavour profile.
• How the beans are dried (i.e. direct sunlight or shaded conditions), with white being the most direct, black the most shaded.
• The length of time and conditions under which the beans are dried, again, with White being the quickest and Black the most extended drying period.
In the case of this Black Honey the mucilage is left as close to intact as possible. The beans are dried on raised bed in fully shaded conditions not being moved at all at first, then raked daily, drying for up to three weeks before being transported to Beneficio El Carmen where they are dried for a further 25 days in preparation for export.