How can Honey Processed Coffee be Vegan?
We have recently had a few customers telling us that they can no longer purchase our The Bolts coffee due to this not being vegan as it contains honey. However, let’s be clear, it does not contain honey. The honey mentioned on our coffee labels is not an ingredient but refers to the common method by which the coffee is processed. Nothing is added to our coffee, which means that all our varieties are suitable for vegans. After being asked this question, we thought it was the perfect chance for us to explain what ‘honey processed coffee’ is and how it is done.
What is ‘honey processed coffee’?
The honey process refers to how the coffee cherries are processed and dried. This method lies between the natural and washed processes. The coffee cherries are first depulped to remove the outer skin and some of the fruit. The name ‘honey process’ refers to the sticky and sweet flesh of the coffee cherry which is left to dry on the beans before they are washed and dried, this allows it to absorb the natural sugars from the mucilage which makes the coffee naturally sweeter when processed this way.
What does honey processing do to the taste?
The honey process creates a unique flavour profile in the coffee, with notes of fruit and sweetness that are not found in the washed or natural processes. The degree of sweetness and fruitiness can vary depending on the amount of mucilage left on the beans and how long it is left to dry.
So why is it called ‘honey processed coffee’ if it doesn’t contain honey?
It is important to note that despite the name, honey process coffee does not actually contain honey and it is therefore vegan. Nothing is added to any of our coffees, the tasting notes refer to the natural flavours of the bean which are brought out by the way we roast them, so they are all suitable for vegans.
Other coffee processing methods
Our other main coffee processing methods are; the natural process, the washed process and Swiss Water process. The natural process is the oldest and most straightforward processing method. The coffee cherry is harvested and is then dried with the fruit and skin intact and the entire cherry is left to dry on the beans, resulting in a fruity and sometimes fermented flavour profile. The washed process involves removing all of the fruit from the beans before drying, this results in clean and bright flavour profiles. Our Bay Bank coffee uses the washed process. The Swiss Water process, used on Ness Point, is a method of decaffeination that uses only water to remove caffeine from the beans, while maintaining their original flavour characteristics.