Look, we’ll admit, when it comes to our cup of joe, we can be picky. So when we find a brand that has been revolutionizing the coffee industry for 25 years, it’s hard not to be impressed by them. Which is exactly the case of the popular BC-based Salt Spring Coffee. The brand has been bringing us fair trade, sustainably produced and ethically sourced coffee from before these even became a thing.

In celebration of their 25th anniversary, they’ve just dropped their limited-edition ‘Coffee With Purpose’ collection. The brand is celebrating its continued commitment to sustainability and growth, while also bringing to light an open secret about coffee- the influence of processing on its flavour profile.

With three differently processed coffees- Legado (Washed), Momento (Natural) and Porvenir (Honey)- the brand is giving us coffee aficionados the rare opportunity to experience this influence by tasting the three coffees side by side. Of course, we tried all three in a virtual tasting session with their team. 

Here’s what we learnt!

coffee facts salt spring coffee
Photos by Salt Spring Coffee

A single-origin coffee bean can smell, taste and feel strikingly different based on its processing

It’s common knowledge that coffee from different origins, aka varietals, tastes very different. And so, different varietals are combined to create unique blends. News Flash: Processing the same varietal differently can also bring out some unique flavour profiles as it did with the Coffee With Purpose collection. Let’s review these differences one coffee at a time…


  • Processing: Washed – the cherry is completely removed from the fruit before drying. So, the fruity flavours and qualities are at their lowest.
    Flavour notes provided: Brown Sugar, Black Tea, Orange Blossom
    How it actually tasted: This one was a relatively mild coffee and lived up to the flavour notes. The dry beans gave off a whiff of brown sugar and a black tea aftertaste, with a light body and a clean mouthfeel. We’d call it our favourite among the three.


  • Processing: Natural – the whole cherry is dried allowing the fruity flavours to get infused in the bean. So, the fruity notes are at their highest.
  • Flavour notes provided: Cocoa, Black Cherry, Rose
  • How it actually tasted: While these dry beans smelled predominantly citrusy the coffee tasted more like a cocoa-berry dessert minus the sugar. The coffee had a pleasant juxtaposition of a natural sweetness with the iconic coffee dark chocolate bitterness which made it so damned delicious.


  • Processing: Honey – part of the fruit is left on which eventually turns black and sticky giving it a honey-like appearance (hence, the name). –
  • Flavour notes provided: Roasted Almond, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fig
  • How it actually tasted: The freshly ground beans have a strong roasted almond and cacao aroma. When brewed, the body was rich and delicious with a bitter-sweet aftertaste.

Whether a coffee should be had with milk or not depends on its processing

This one’s kind of obvious- the washed coffee goes best with milk (look at us, acting as if we knew this all along). Since, the washed coffee has the least amount of fruity, citrusy notes, logically, it would be the best to pair with cream and/or sugar. That’s precisely why the newly renovated and reopened Salt Spring Coffee Café & Kitchen only serves washed coffee.

Some honey-processed coffees with mild fruity notes would also taste good with milk. The natural processed coffee, however, should be enjoyed by itself with all its natural sweetness and bitterness.

The same coffee will taste different based on whether it’s hot, room temperature or cold

Tell us if this sounds familiar- sipping on to a coffee that’s been sitting for a couple of hours and then wondering if it was made this bitter. Yeah, that’s because as your brewed coffee cools down it starts to lose its flavours and aromas until all you taste is bitterness. As the coffee cools after a fresh brew, you will notice new flavour notes reveal themselves. A coffee that is initially cocoa heavy can transform into a more delicate, fruit-forward cup. As per industry standards, once brewed, coffee is only good for 30 minutes. Hmmm, we’ll have to remember this next time! 

We have to admit, learning about these facts not just gave us a deeper understanding of the bevvy but also of our personal preference. So, do yourself a favour and grab the Coffee With Purpose sampling pack RN from the Salt Spring website.