Indian Monsoon Malabar

Regular price £6.00 Sale

Cup Characteristics:  Spicy, earthy, smoky, tobacco notes, wood notes, medium body, medium acidity

Most people think of India as a leading producer of fine teas. Few associate India with top grade specialty coffees. India has been a producer and exporter of exceptional coffees for over 150 years. Today, India is the fifth largest producer of Arabica coffee in the world, behind Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Ethiopia.

India’s romance with coffee goes back nearly 400 years. Legend credits a Muslim pilgrim, Baba Budan, with bringing back seven coffee seeds from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He is said to have planted them near his mountain cave in Chikmahlur, Karnataka State, now considered the cradle of Indian coffee.

Commercial cultivation of coffee in India began in 1840 when the British established coffee plantations throughout the mountains of Southern India. They found the tropical climate, high altitude, sunny slopes, ample rainfall, soil rich in humus content, and well drained sub soil ideal for coffee cultivation.

The color, shape, and size of the beans as well as their aroma and taste are the results of special post-harvest processing.  Indian coffee was historically shipped to Europe in wooden sailing vessels, taking four to six months to sail around the Cape of Good Hope before reaching their destinations. Coffee, stored below the water line and kept in a humid atmosphere by moisture seeping through the wood, underwent a form of treatment on its long voyage to market.  When the coffee reached Europe, its colour had changed from bright green to pale gold and its new crop acidity had disappeared. This "Monsooning" process was later systematically replicated in India with the goal to consistently reproduce the familiar flavour from the historic voyages to the European ports.

The Monsooning process consists of exposing natural coffee beans in layers of 4-6 inch thickness to moisture-laden Monsoon winds in a well ventilated brick or concrete-floored warehouse. This process is carried out on the West Coast of India, making use of the winds from the Arabian Sea during the Southwest Monsoon months of June through September. 

The processing begins with top grade beans, Arabica Cherry-AB, that has already been processed by the dry method. To equalize moisture absorption, the beans are raked frequently, followed by bulking and re-bagging at regular intervals. At the end of the monsoon season, this coffee is re-bulked, graded again, bagged and moved to a drier region for longer-term storage. In this 12-16 week process the beans absorb moisture in stages, swelling to nearly twice their original size and developing colors ranging from pale gold to light brown.  The end result is a special, unique flavor.

   

Region

South India - Karnataka, Western Ghats

Growing Altitude

1,100 - 1,200 meters

Arabica Variety

Kents, S.795, Catimor, Selection 9

Harvest Period

October - February

Milling Process

Monsooned

Aroma

Spicy

Flavor

Earthy, Spicy, Smoky

Body

Medium

Acidity

Medium