Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It's consumed by millions of people every day, and there are many different varieties available. Two of the most common types of coffee processing are sun-dried and water-processed. In this article, we'll explore the differences between sun-dried coffee and water-processed coffee.

Sun-Dried Coffee

Sun-dried coffee is also known as natural coffee. It's called natural because it's processed using the sun's heat and humidity to dry the coffee cherries. This process involves harvesting the coffee cherries, laying them out on a large flat surface, and letting them dry under the sun. As the coffee cherries dry, they're turned regularly to ensure that they dry evenly.

The sun-drying process can take several weeks to complete. During this time, the coffee cherries are exposed to sunlight and the surrounding air. This exposure can affect the coffee's flavor profile, giving it a unique taste that's often described as fruity and full-bodied. Sun-dried coffee also tends to have a higher acidity level than water-processed coffee.

Water-Processed Coffee

Water-processed coffee is also known as washed coffee. This method involves removing the outer layer of the coffee cherry using water. The cherries are first harvested and then run through a machine that removes the outer layer of the cherry. The coffee beans are then soaked in water to remove any remaining fruit, leaving only the beans.

The washed coffee beans are then dried in the sun or using a mechanical dryer. The drying process takes much less time than sun-dried coffee, typically only a few days. Water-processed coffee tends to have a more mellow flavor profile than sun-dried coffee, with less acidity and a smoother finish.

Differences Between Sun-Dried and Water-Processed Coffee

One of the biggest differences between sun-dried and water-processed coffee is the flavor profile. Sun-dried coffee tends to have a more complex flavor, with fruity and floral notes. Water-processed coffee, on the other hand, has a more mellow flavor with less acidity.

Another difference between the two methods is the time it takes to process the coffee. Sun-drying can take several weeks, while water processing only takes a few days. This means that sun-dried coffee tends to be more expensive because of the additional time and effort required to produce it.

Finally, sun-dried coffee tends to be more environmentally friendly than water-processed coffee. This is because the sun-drying method doesn't require any additional water or energy to produce, making it a more sustainable option.


In conclusion, both sun-dried and water-processed coffee have their own unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Sun-dried coffee tends to be more complex and fruity, while water-processed coffee is more mellow and has less acidity. The processing method used can also affect the environmental impact of producing coffee, with sun-drying being more sustainable. Ultimately, the choice between sun-dried and water-processed coffee comes down to personal preference and taste.