Natural processing (also known as dry processing) is a method of coffee production where the cherries are dried with the fruit still on the seed (bean) rather than removing the fruit first and then drying the seed. This method is typically used in countries with a dry climate and has been a traditional practice for centuries. The cherries are spread out in the sun on raised beds or patios to dry for several weeks, with regular turning and raking to ensure even drying. After the cherries are fully dry, the dried fruit and parchment (the outer layer of the cherry) are removed, in a process known as milling, to reveal the coffee bean. The beans are then sorted, graded, and packaged for export.
This results in a distinctive taste profile with fruitier, sweeter and more complex flavors. However, natural processing is also known for having a higher risk of producing inconsistent results, as it relies heavily on the weather conditions and proper drying techniques, and if not done correctly there is a much greater risk of fermentation and mold.