Ever since mankind discovered coffee, we have changed, adapted, and enhanced the crop to suit our every taste and whim. Beyond the human touch, however, hides the strongest and most important curator of coffee, or any crop for that matter. We’re talking of course about Mother Nature, the one true farmer and number one taste-maker of history. One such case that may pique the interest of coffee lovers, is the story of Monsooned Malabar coffee.
This specific type of coffee carries its history and specialty in its name. Before the man-grown coffee crops of the Malabar Coast in South-Eastern India, the Monsooned “treatment” of beans was Mother Nature’s invention.
As the name would suggest, the most important “ingredients” of Monsooned coffee are monsoon winds. The first exposure of coffee beans to these humid winds did, in fact, not happen on land, but out at sea.
Coffee was one of the main imports that European sailors brought home from India, and since it traveled by wooden ships, crossing the Indian Ocean would take months. Needless to say, the very profitable trade of coffee did not stop for the wet Monsoon season, and thus, the cargo of raw beans would be exposed to humid conditions for up to six months on end.
Once the Monsooned coffee reached its destination, the beans were completely different from when they were loaded in. The wet weather of the Indian Ocean during the Monsoon season fattened the beans, made them smoother, and even changed their color to a ripe shade of yellow. The change in taste, however, is the most relevant here. See, Mother Nature knew what it was doing. The prolonged and slow exposure to the Monsoon made the coffee beans lose their acidity. As a result, Monsooned Coffee tastes very rich, exhibiting a full body of aromas from chocolaty to nutty.
Of course, mankind has sadly moved on from wooden sailing ships, so the method of creating Monsoon Coffee has long been obsolete. Nowadays, the process is done on land, by experienced farmers who, for the most part, are wisely leaving most of the work down to Mother Nature.
Before the Monsoon season can do its thing, Malabar coffee beans must first be sun-dried, which may take up to 4 weeks depending on weather conditions. Then comes the farmer who replicates the conditions of a ship’s hall by storing the coffee in wooden warehouses for the duration of the Monsoon Season. It is crucial that the beans be well ventilated, since it is the monsoon winds that they must capture in the coffee.
Throughout the Monsoon season, which spans through all the months of summer and most of September, the farmers take great care in treating the beans properly, regularly turning, raking, and spreading them in order to allow for as much absorption of humidity as possible. This careful process yields similar results to the ship “method”, although the beans are even larger, the color is riper, and the aroma is even richer.
Despite our constant evolution in so many different directions, one constant remains in human life: the need to connect with nature. Perhaps this is why one of the most renowned coffee beans is the Monsoon Malabar Coffee. To each coffee bean its story; if you want to find out more about the magical beverage we adore come over on Goffee and let your mind wander.