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I usually buy my coffee from dark arts, ozone, climpson & sons and workshop.

I usually buy natural as I feel it has more flavour than washed and is better with Moccamaster.

Why am I struggling to find natural lately? Is it out of favour? I can’t find natural at any of this places anymore.

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Coffee producers tailor their production to worldwide demand for coffee. Wet processing of coffee produces large quantities of green coffee bean for the lowest production cost. The process is more automated and satisfies the world's demand for low cost coffee. Dry processed (what you are calling "natural") coffee is the oldest processing method since it doesn't require large volumes of water, and compared to wet processing, is time consuming and labor intensive. The resulting beans therefore tend to be more expensive. Unfortunately it seems that people value low cost over quality coffee, at least on a mass consumer scale.

I drink exclusively dry processed Ethiopian coffees, mostly Yirgacheffe or something from nearby. They are indeed slightly more expensive but since I roast my own beans, the cost is still quite low compared to buying roasted beans at full retail price. You are correct in noticing the relatively scarce offerings of DP coffees, but I source my beans from several different online sellers, and am usually able to find at least one with a current Ethiopian DP coffee.

I would encourage you to also search for "dry process" or "DP" coffee, in addition to "natural" since there really isn't very good standardization of terms across the industry. I should say that I began roasting my own beans only after I found how much I liked dry processed coffee and how hard it was to find, so I completely understand your frustration. The upside to roasting my own was that it's guaranteed to be fresh, a critical part of really good coffee. Good luck!

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    Thanks PJ. Makes perfect sense. Strange that those leading London based roasters don’t at least have the option of DP as they are already expensive in comparison with store bought. I guess they just can’t source enough DP. – user32613 Sep 5 '18 at 7:04
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Consumers (and marketers) are expanding their vocabulary for describing coffee. And at the same time coffee producers are improving and refining their methods. Both of these I think contribute to what you're seeing.

The term "natural" process can be ambiguous. You might try to search on a more specific, technical term "Dry Process," usually a synonym for natural process. Here's some dry process green offerings from Sweet Maria for example.

As for processing, dry process is going out of style in favor of the (technologically speaking) superior wet processing techniques. Wet process allows better removal of defects (bad seeds) and other benefits for making higher quality and more consistent product. As you note processing has impact on flavor. Wikipedia has a good overview of different aspects of coffee production, and roaster web sites like Blue Bottle have overviews with their philosophy.

Ethiopia and Northern Africa tend to use dry process more often than other regions, due to the dry environment conditions well suited for the dry process. You might focus your search on beans sourced from that region.

  • "dry process is going out of style in favor of the (technologically speaking) superior wet processing techniques". The opposite is true. While it has been the case that dry processing got replaced, this is now reversing again. Especially in specialty coffee. – avocado1 Sep 3 '18 at 13:05
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It's as easy as always to find natural coffee. By chance your coffee shops apparently don't have any at the moment, so I suggest you try other shops or buy online. Due to the high storage capacity of green coffee beans (up to several years) all coffee is basically available all year round.

In fact there is increasingly more naturally processed coffee available on the market. While it used to be the standard way to process coffee, the introduction of washing coffee after harvest has replaced dry processing methods. This has reversed though in recent years again. There is a steady increase in the share of naturally processed coffee due to the rise of specialty coffee.

  • If you’re based in the U.K. can recommend online retailers. All the ones I mentioned are based in the U.K. online. – user32613 Sep 2 '18 at 13:51
  • Yes sure, actually all the ones you mentioned have natural coffees. Ozone currently has at least a Brazilian natural (if you see Brazilian coffee it's almost always a natural). Dark Arts has a Costa Rica natural Geisha (expensive but Geishas are usually very nice). Climpson has an Ethiopean natural as well. Workshop has no natural, but a honey processed. You could check Square Mile coffee as well and google for other specialty coffee roasters. I'm not from the UK, so don't know too many. Of course you can also order easily from anywhere in the EU. – avocado1 Sep 3 '18 at 13:02

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