Monsooned coffee had an accidental beginning. In the time of British Raj, ships transporting coffee by sea from India to Europe would find vast changes in the characteristics of their packed coffees, due to moisture in the air within the wooden cargo hold.
Over a 4-6 month period of exposure to this humidity, raw coffee beans would loose their green colour and turn a pale, straw yellow. With this, taste would also change, with the beans attaining a distinct flavour profile with a practically neutral pH balance (making it one of the lowest acidic coffees in the World). The resultant cup would be a heavy-bodied brew which Europeans began to favour.
As transport and shipping conditions changed, so too did the beans en-route. Improved storage reduced the exposure to sea winds reduced this aging phenomenon and European customers longed for the distinctive flavour and depth of character for which this coffees had become known.
Coffee producers on the Malabar coast of India had to devise a new process to simulate the conditions that produced their much-loved coffee, called Monsooning, this involved spreading out sun dried beans in open-sided, cement-floored warehouses. The rain drenched tropical winds of the Monsoon season were able to flow though these warehouses simulating the effect of sea wind
on the ships of days gone by.
This moisture-laden wind results in a slight fermentation, swelling the beans to double their original size, becoming pale and brittle. The increased moisture content reduces acidity of the bean producing a bold flavoured, earthy coffee with a musty, chocolatey aroma and notes of spice and nuts. One thing to note is that this coffee gets better with age, in the sense we recommend consumption at least 4 weeks after the roast date (unlike all other roasted coffees).
Our monsooned, single origin coffee is currently roasting. Featuring hints of maple, nutmeg and tobacco, this is a must-try for coffee connoisseurs.
Image source: Plantation Trails