A Theory of Coffee Processing


Theory into Practice

Over the years we have spent thousands of hours with our feet on the soil of coffee farms and washing stations in Ethiopia and around the world. Our hands have known the shape of coffee cherries of many kinds and we have followed the process of cherry to cup over and over and over.

As you could expect, we’ve formed some pretty intense opinions about coffee processing during this time. You might agree with them, or you might not. (Coffee processing is remarkably divisive.) But you cannot deny that these opinions are earned the hard way, day by day and lot by lot, in the hot sun and the cold rain, by our Catalyst Trade sourcing team led by Michael McIntyre and Zelalem Girma Bayou.

As we prepare to share a remarkable lineup of Innovation Lot coffee nano- and micro-lots with you through our August 1 auction, we want you to understand exactly what you’re supporting and sharing with your own customers.

In a sentence, we believe that coffee is enough on its own. Beautiful enough, interesting enough, complex enough, and it does not need to be altered to be expressive of itself.

What does that translate to in action (in processing of the coffees)? 

3 Unique Coffee Processing Types

Welcome to Catalyst Trade’s Three Process Categories, which we chose to represent the glorious stories captured in each bean you taste when you purchase our coffees.

Remember that every single lot is produced by us in Ethiopia. This means the cherries are selected by them, they personally oversee and participate in pulping, fermentation, any movement, bagging and tagging and transport, and every other aspect.

This labor-intensive approach is worthy of your attention, of the price you pay at Auction to access the coffees, and of the hopes and dreams of each person to touch these lots.

Our three processes are… 
  • Intrinsic
  • Interval
  • Symbiotic

These three key processes represent the culmination of more than a decade of incredibly focused work by our cofounders and their team of specialists. We hope you enjoy them. 

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