The biggest challenge in decaffeinating coffee is removing the caffeine without a loss in resulting flavor. It’s very easy to accidentally take out the oils, sugars, and proteins found in a coffee bean along with the caffeine, if one is only using water. The solvents target the caffeine, while leaving behind the flavor molecules which lead to a bold and distinct decaffeinated cup of coffee.
Some decaffeinating processes use a “decaffeinating agent” or “solvent” such as ethyl acetate, or methylene chloride at one stage in the decaffeinating process. (Don’t worry-- these agents are completely removed from the green coffee beans, and in some cases, they never even touch the beans themselves...
Some say that a honey-process coffee tastes like caramel, or ( you guessed it… honey). The flavors of a honey-process coffee include the sweetness of a natural process coffee, but also the brightness of a washed coffee.
Coffee from Indonesia and the South Seas Region is almost always processed using the Wet Hull methods, or giling basah. Giling basah provides the resulting coffee beans with a unique herbal and earthy flavor unlike anything else.
The Natural process is used typically in regions where water is scarce. This dry process leads to coffee with “fruitier” flavors. Some natural processed coffees are described as having hints of strawberry, blueberry or even blackberry tones. This process adds a hint of sweetness and intrigue to your coffee.
Washed coffees taste clean and vibrant. The most common method of processing coffee, the washed process provides the most opportunity for consistency and control. If you are looking for a pure coffee taste without added flavor notes from external “impurities”, the best coffee to drink is a wet-processed coffee.
Coffees tend to have some similarities depending on the region where they are grown. African coffees, for example, tend to evoke hints of wine, fruit, and earthiness. Differences in coffee variety, processing, roasting, and even brewing method will affect the final flavor, but generally speaking, if there's a trait you like about one coffee from a particular region, it's a good bet you might enjoy something else grown in a similar location (or processed in a similar way).