Processing coffee after it has been removed from the tree, and made its way through a wet mill, and laid out to dry is crucial before the coffee is examined, graded, packed and exported to roasters or to be sold through the green coffee market. Processing methods include the natural (dry) process, the washed process, the pulped natural process, the honey (meil) process, the semi-washed/wet-hauled process, and Sumatra. Some of the names given above have identical procedures when it comes to processing coffee.
There are coffee producers who process their coffee, striving for specific flavors. This is a small percentage of coffee producers, and its not ideal when considering what actually determines raw coffees quality and value.
The sole purpose of processing coffee is to refrain the coffee from having possible "defects". Defects include, bean deformities, blemishes, water deficiencies, inadequate bean size, unwanted colors, weakness in volume, faults, cracks, and rotting.
Constant tending of coffee while in the processing phase is mandatory. It is "life or death" before the coffee losses all value. Nursing coffee during processing requires time, patience, strick observation, and management. Workers will constantly flip and rotate the coffee so equal air flow, and constant light will be available to all off the coffee that is laid out on a large concrete, brick patio, or raised drying beds. In some cases ripe whole cherries are laid out in the same manner, undergoing similar procedures. Drying whole cherries seems to be a more traditional methods due to the fact that both high and low quality coffees are processed this way. It is also labor expensive for the producer, and can be unpredictable at times. Time and Experience is crucial for a well graded and examined coffee.