How to Successfully Roast Natural Processed Coffee

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Coffee beans on wooden table.
Table of Contents
Coffee beans on wooden table.


If you’re finding it challenging to get that perfect roast on your natural processed coffee, you’re not alone. Natural or dry process coffee tends to be sweeter and fuller-bodied than its counterparts.

This article offers handy tips and techniques that will guide you through the roasting process perfectly tailored for this type of bean. Stick around, because we just might unlock the secret to your new favorite cup of joe!

Key Takeaways

  • Natural processed coffee is dried with the fruit intact, resulting in a sweeter and fuller – bodied flavor profile.
  • Controlling the rate of rise during roasting is crucial for successfully roasting natural processed coffee.
  • Factors to consider when roasting natural coffee include temperature, timing, airflow, energy input, roast profile, drying phase, and moisture content.
  • Roasting enhances the fruity and sweet characteristics of natural coffee while creating notes of caramel and chocolate.

Understanding Natural Processed Coffee

Natural or dry process coffee is a method where the coffee cherries are dried with the fruit intact before they are removed, resulting in a unique flavor profile.

What is natural or dry process coffee?

Natural or dry-processed coffee is a method of processing coffee beans that involves drying the freshly harvested cherries in the sun. This traditional and environmentally-friendly process allows the fruit to naturally ferment, leading to a distinctively fruity flavor profile.

Unlike washed coffees, where the pulp is removed before drying, natural processed coffees retain their pulp during drying which contributes significantly to their intense sweetness and full body.

It’s essential to remember this key difference when roasting these beans as it can majorly impact your roasting strategy and final flavor profile.

The differences between natural, honey, and washed coffees

Coffee processing methods can significantly influence the flavor of the final drink. The three most common methods are natural, honey, and washed processing. Each one has a distinct process and results in different flavor profiles.

Processing MethodProcessFlavor Profile
Natural/DryThis is the traditional method where coffee cherries are dried in the sun. The beans are left in the fruit during drying, absorbing more fruity and sweet flavors.Natural processed coffees often have a sweet, fruity taste and a heavier body compared to washed coffees.
HoneyIn honey processing, some of the pulp (mucilage) is left on the beans during drying, which imparts a sweeter taste. The name ‘honey’ refers to the sticky, honey-like residue left on the beans, not the flavor.Honey processed coffees lean towards a sweeter taste and fuller body, similar to natural processed coffee.
WashedDuring washed processing, the pulp is removed from the beans before they’re dried. This method allows the true character of the bean to shine through, without any interference from the fruit.Washed coffees tend to have a cleaner taste, brighter acidity, and lighter body compared to natural and honey processed coffees.

Ahead, we’ll delve deeper into the specific considerations and techniques for roasting natural processed coffee, due to its unique characteristics.

How natural coffee is processed

Natural coffee is processed in a unique way that brings out its distinct flavors and characteristics. Here’s how it’s done:

  • The ripe coffee cherries are carefully handpicked, ensuring only the best quality cherries are selected.
  • The cherry skin is left intact, and the cherries are spread out on raised drying beds or patios to dry naturally in the sun.
  • During the drying process, the cherries are turned regularly to ensure even drying and prevent mold or fermentation.
  • As the cherries dry, they shrink and develop a protective layer called parchment.
  • Once fully dried, the parchment layer is removed by milling or hulling, revealing the green coffee beans inside.
  • The green beans are then sorted to remove any defects or impurities before being shipped to roasters.

The taste profile of natural coffee

Natural coffee, also known as dry process coffee, offers a unique and distinct taste profile that sets it apart from other processing methods. Natural coffees tend to have a sweeter and fruitier flavor compared to washed or honey processed coffees.

This is because during the natural process, the coffee cherries are dried with their skins intact, allowing for fermentation and enzymatic reactions to take place within the cherry itself.

As a result, these flavors are imparted into the beans, creating a delightful complexity in taste. The natural process also lends itself to a fuller body in the cup, giving the coffee a rich and syrupy mouthfeel.

Roasting Techniques for Natural Processed Coffee

Controlling the rate of rise during roasting

Controlling the rate of rise during roasting is crucial for successfully roasting natural processed coffee. Roasting too quickly can result in uneven flavors and underdeveloped beans, while roasting too slowly can lead to bitter and over-roasted coffee.

To control the rate of rise, you need to consider factors such as the roast temperatureairflowenergy input, and roast profile. By carefully monitoring these variables, you can ensure that your natural processed coffee beans are roasted to perfection with balanced flavors and aromas.

Remember that each roaster model may require different adjustments to achieve the desired rate of rise, so experiment and learn how to manipulate these factors for optimal results.

Factors to consider when roasting natural coffee

  • Roasting temperature: Natural processed coffee tends to roast faster than washed coffees, so it is important to carefully control the temperature during the roasting process.
  • Time and timing: The duration of the roast and timing of certain stages, such as first crack, must be closely monitored to achieve the desired flavor profile.
  • Roaster modelDifferent roasters have varying heat distribution and airflow capabilities, so choosing the right roaster for natural coffee can greatly impact the end result.
  • Air flow: Proper air circulation is crucial in ensuring an even roast, so adjusting the airflow settings based on the specific characteristics of natural coffee is important.
  • Energy input: Understanding how much heat energy needs to be applied during different stages of roasting can help achieve optimal results with natural processed coffee.
  • Roast profile: Developing a specific roast profile tailored to natural coffee’s unique characteristics can enhance its flavors and aromas.
  • Drying phase: Since natural coffee has a higher moisture content compared to washed coffees, allowing sufficient time for drying before entering the actual roasting stage is vital.
  • Development time: Extending the development time after first crack can bring out more complex flavors in natural processed coffee.
  • Flavor profile considerations: Consider how certain flavors may develop or change during roasting and adjust accordingly to achieve a balanced and desirable taste.
  • Moisture content: Monitoring and managing moisture content throughout the roast is crucial for achieving consistent and quality results with natural processed coffee.

The impact of roasting on the flavor and aroma of natural coffee

Roasting plays a crucial role in determining the flavor and aroma of natural processed coffee. The heat applied during roasting triggers a series of chemical reactions that transform the raw flavors of green coffee beans into the rich, complex profiles we love.

Natural processed coffee already boasts vibrant fruitiness and sweetness due to its unique processing method, but roasting further enhances these characteristics. As the beans are heated, sugars in the coffee caramelize, creating notes of caramel and chocolate in the final cup.

Careful roasting can help balance acidity levels, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable brew. By understanding how to control temperature and timing during roasting, you can unlock the full potential of natural processed coffee’s flavor and aroma profile.

Tips for Successful Roasting

Preheating the roaster and maintaining higher temperatures

To successfully roast natural processed coffee, preheating your roaster and maintaining higher temperatures are crucial steps. Preheating the roaster ensures that the beans are evenly heated from the start, allowing for a consistent roast.

By maintaining higher temperatures throughout the process, you can achieve a more developed and flavorful roast. Higher temperatures help to caramelize sugars within the beans, creating rich flavors and aromas in the final cup of coffee.

Every roaster model is different, so understanding how your specific roaster operates and adjusting accordingly is essential for a successful roast.

Monitoring the drying stage of roasting

During the roasting process, it is crucial to closely monitor the drying stage of natural processed coffee. This stage occurs at the beginning of the roast and involves removing moisture from the green beans.

By carefully observing this stage, you can ensure that the beans are drying uniformly and reaching optimal moisture content for roasting. It’s important to note that insufficient drying may result in uneven roasting and an underdeveloped flavor profile, while excessive drying can lead to a loss of acidity and unpleasant flavors.

Therefore, paying attention to this critical phase will help you achieve a successful roast with balanced flavors and desirable characteristics in your natural processed coffee.

Experimenting with different roast profiles

Experimenting with different roast profiles is key to successfully roasting natural processed coffee. By varying the temperature and timing of the roast, you can bring out different flavors and characteristics in the beans.

For example, a lighter roast will highlight the fruity and floral notes of the coffee, while a darker roast will result in bolder, chocolatey flavors. It’s important to note that each batch of coffee may require slightly different parameters, so it’s worth experimenting with different profiles to find the perfect balance for your desired flavor profile.

Understanding the role of moisture content in roasting natural coffee

The moisture content of coffee beans plays a crucial role in the roasting process, especially when it comes to natural processed coffee. The moisture level affects how heat is transferred during roasting and ultimately impacts the flavor and aroma of the final cup.

Too much moisture can result in uneven roasting and a lack of development, while too little moisture can lead to excessive caramelization and a burnt taste. It’s important for roasters to carefully monitor and control the moisture content throughout the entire roasting process to achieve optimal results.

Understanding how moisture interacts with heat is key in successfully roast natural processed coffee.


Successfully roasting natural processed coffee requires precision and attention to detail. By understanding the unique characteristics of natural coffee and implementing the right techniques, you can unlock its full flavor potential.

Experimenting with different roast profiles and considering factors such as temperature, moisture content, and drying time will help you achieve a perfect roast every time. So go ahead, embrace the art of roasting and enjoy the rich and aromatic experience of natural processed coffee.


What is the difference between natural processed coffee and other processing methods?

Natural processed coffee refers to beans that are dried with the fruit still intact, allowing the sugars and flavors from the fruit to be absorbed by the beans during the drying process. This results in a unique flavor profile compared to other processing methods such as washed or honey processed.

What are some tips for successfully roasting natural processed coffee?

When roasting natural processed coffee, it is important to take into account its inherent sweetness and fruity flavors. Start with a lower temperature and longer roast time to preserve these flavors, and adjust according to your taste preferences. It is also recommended to closely monitor the roast as natural processed coffees can develop quickly.

How should I store roasted natural processed coffee?

To maintain freshness and preserve its flavors, roasted natural processed coffee should be stored in an airtight container away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture. Avoid storing it in the refrigerator or freezer as this can cause condensation which negatively affects the quality of the coffee.

Can I use natural processed coffee for espresso brewing?

Yes, you can definitely use natural processed coffee for espresso brewing! The fruity and sweet flavors of natural processed coffees can add complexity to your espresso shots. However, keep in mind that different origins and roast levels will produce varying results, so it’s always worth experimenting with different profiles until you find your preferred taste.

About the Author:
Sophia Lewis, a travel blogger with a focus on global coffee cultures, explores coffee traditions from Colombia to Turkey. Her expertise lies in understanding the cultivation, brewing, and enjoyment of coffee in different cultures. Through articles, travel vlogs, and tastings, Sophia brings a global perspective to coffee, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices, and invites readers to join her community of global coffee enthusiasts.