I should probably elaborate on my reasons for doing this, lest I seem like some confused mad man who feels that doing things by hand somehow results in a better cup.
In 2007 an Australian grown coffee from mountain-top estate won a WBC, and I think that's something that's been forgotten. Australian coffee, mountain-top aside, has a pretty bad reputation in the coffee industry.
I think their success lies in their willingness to experiment and try out different methods of processing. This particular coffee usually yields a fairly high, sweet acidity and some chocolate macadamia notes, but it's not an especially complex cup. Generally speaking, its sorted via a floatation method (which is the standard for coffees from the area) which eliminates defective beans, but there's no colour sorting that takes place. It's fully washed and then laid to sun-dry, sometimes briefly fermented, sometimes straight from the pulper/de-mucilage machine.
It's not a bad coffee, sometimes it can be great, but what I'm trying to do is see its potential. Sometimes it can seem hollow, and it feels like it could be further developed to accentuate the flavours that are already there, but just not as obvious as I'd like them to be.
I'm hoping that the honey-processing, by drying the mucilage on, will result in more sugars from the fruit making their way to the cup.
In the future I'm looking to try some naturals, and experiment with dry processing and fermentation combined with selective picking.
NB: I don't own the farm, I just asked some favours.
So, what's your experience with Australian coffee been like? Have you ever tried it? I'm adamant that there's some more world-class cups waiting around somewhere.