Natural or sun-dried processing is a method of coffee processing in which the beans are left to dry with the pulp intact. This process is often used in regions with hot, dry climates and involves placing the coffee beans on a flat surface so that they are exposed to the sun and wind to dry.
In this process, the coffee beans are allowed to slowly dry while the pulp begins to ferment. This fermentation process can influence the taste of the coffee and add sour, sweet and umami fruit notes to the finish of the coffee.
Coffee processed by the sun-dried method is often characterized by an intense and robust taste, with fruit accents and hints of caramel or chocolate. Despite these attractive taste characteristics, natural processing can be difficult to control and may be exposed to microbial or insect contamination. Therefore, it is often considered a less reliable method than other processing methods, such as washed processing.