Solar-dried coffee is processed using clean, renewable energy from solar panels and stands as a technological improvement to the sun-drying method. The age-old tradition of “sun-drying” coffee on a cement patio has always been the most environmentally friendly option, but this more primitive method poses a number of risks and limitations for farmers.
Spreading the coffee beans out to dry on a large cement patio is the sun-drying tradition, but it requires a lot of the growers’ time, energy, and space.
Sun-dried coffee must be done in relatively small batches and takes 5-15 days for the beans to dry out properly, depending on cloud cover and rain.
Since sun-dried coffee is moist for so many days, it has a high risk of mold development.
If the beans are not carefully managed and turned they will not dry uniformly, which creates defects in the resulting coffee.
Solar-dried coffee, on the other hand, harvests the sun’s energy with solar panels and uses that clean energy to power an efficient, dryer (which works like a big convection oven). By doing so, it solves the risks associated with traditional sun-drying.
- Solar-dried coffee can be done in commercial-sized batches in 24 hours.
During cloudy periods and nighttime operation , solar energy is substituted with biomass fuel made from coffee husks.
- The dryer is calibrated to dry the beans with ideal times and temperatures, so there is never a risk of mold, or a loss of volatile oils.
- The heat is always consistent and the beans are always moving, so the drying process is perfectly uniform.
In it’s most basic sense, solar-dried coffee is defined as coffee that is processed using solar technology. But it’s also the cleanest, most sustainable, most efficient and most consistent way to dry commercial-sized batches of coffee. It enables farmers and coffee co-ops to produce large quantities of the highest quality, eco-friendly coffee; one which tastes great and protects our environment.