Monsooned coffees are stored in special warehouses until the Monsoon season comes around. The sides of the structure are opened and moist monsoon winds circulate around the coffee making it swell in size and take on a mellowed but aggressive, musty flavor. This Monsooned Malabar is sourced from several medium to large size farms in the Chickmagalur area in the state of Karnataka, Southern India. The farms range in altitude from about 1000 meters to 1400, and varietals vary but are all Arabica beans. They naturally process the coffee, and then the coffee is spread on the floor of the special monsooning warehouse in Mangalore, raked and turned around by hand to enable them to soak in moisture of the humid winds. The monsooning process takes around 12 to 16 months of duration, where in the beans swell to twice their original size and turn a pale golden color. Then there are additional hand-sortings to remove any coffee that did not expand properly, and the coffee is prepared for export. This is an extremely earthy, musty, pungent cup with a unique combination of burnt-caramelly finish and potent flavors. It is not for those who like a 'clean' cup, or sweet coffees! By all standard definitions, this is a defective set of cup flavors. But Monsooned Malabar gets a free pass past the coffee censors because of cultural tradition, history, and the fact that (while it doesn't conform to the traditional ideas of good coffee) it is in it's own right a unique coffee flavor. It has some use in espresso blending with a preparation of longer drum roasting and resting (after roasting) of 3+ days. There are Italian espresso roasting companies that use this coffee in their 'exotic' blend offering, along with 2-3 other non-monsooned arabicas to even out the cup and provide aroma and some sweetness. Even as a drip/infusion brew, the coffee mellows after 2 days and the cup is more balanced so resting is key to best cup results.
Indian Monsooned Arabica has very low acidity. The cup has pungent spice, earthy notes, and pipe tobacco smoky flavors. It's a bit of a shock to the palate at first, but once adjusted, you can find a heavily caramelized sweet/bittersweet quality in it. It lends itself quite well to additives, cream and sugar, quite frankly. This coffee does not conform to standard cupping evaluation, hence the poor total score. It's an exotic flavor profile for sure, and perhaps an acquired taste. I recommend trying a very small amount at first to see if you like it, and also used sparingly for espresso blending - it will add quite a bit of crema and body to the shot.
|Arrival date||December 2013 Arrival|
|Appearance||.4/300g; 18+ Screen Extremely large bean|
|Intensity/Prime attribute||Bold Intensity / Low sweetness, earthy-musty flavors, caramelized sweet/bittersweet aspect|
|Roast||Full City+; the flavor profile will even out a bit in the heavier roast levels, anything lighter than Full City will accentuate the mustiness from processing method|
|Recommended for Espresso||Yes|