Natural coffees frequently carry a flavor similar to that of the coffee cherry itself. While this flavor profile is a limiting factor in scoring washed coffee, it is characteristic of the dry process and as such is assessed for its relative quality and integration in the coffee beverage. At its most simple, Naturally processed coffee is coffee that is dried with the cherry remaining on the bean and parchment throughout the drying process and will often remain on until just before the time of export. Naturally processed coffee can be categorized as "special prep", meaning ripe cherries are picked and dried, or it can be coffee cherries that dried on the tree and finished on the patios or drying beds.
“Dry processing implies that the whole cherry is dried together (exocarp, mesocarp and endosperm, i.e.. pulp, parchment and bean). The whole hull (dried pulp and parchment) is then removed mechanically to obtain green coffee. The dry process is used for more than 80% of Brazilian, Ethiopian and Yemen Arabicas, and for almost all Robusta coffees in the world.” (Wintgens 610)