Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by John Moretti
Like wine, coffee beans get their distinct taste from the varietal of coffee beans, the environment where they’re grown, how they’re processed, and roasted, and even how they’re brewed and served. Monsoon Malabar coffee is a perfect example of how processing affects taste, and its history is fascinating.
Monsoon Malabar coffee is grown and processed in India. The raw beans are subjected to the annual monsoon rains and winds of the Malabar Coast in the southwest regions of India for up to four months. The result is a coffee bean with low acidity levels and a rich, bold, earthy flavor.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how to roast, brew and serve Monsoon Malabar coffee. But before that, let’s find out more about the origins of the beans that make this unique brew.
What Is Monsooned Malabar Coffee?
Monsoon Malabar coffee is also known as Monsooned coffee. It is grown and processed on the Malabar coast of Karnataka and Kerala in India.
Creating this coffee is a natural, organic, but time-consuming process. Cherry coffee beans are harvested and sun-dried for some time before being sorted according to quality. They are then stored safely until the annual monsoon season.
They’re kept in a warehouse with open ventilation for the three or four months of the monsoon. This allows them to be exposed to the monsoon season’s rain, wind, and humidity. They’re regularly raked, spread, and turned to be equally and adequately “monsooned” – in other words, ripened to the perfect state.
During this long conditioning process, the beans absorb moisture from the humid external environment. As a result, the beans swell, and this moisture results in a golden yellow bean with a neutral pH balance. It is the neutral pH balance and, therefore, low acidity levels give Monsoon Malabar coffee its unique flavor.
The beans are again sorted at the end of the monsoon season. Then, finally, the fully monsooned beans are sent for packaging and shipping to coffee lovers around the world.
What Is The Origin Of Monsoon Malabar Coffee
At this point, you might be wondering how it was discovered that subjecting coffee beans to monsoon conditions would result in such a uniquely flavorful coffee bean.
As with many great discoveries, Monsoon Malabar coffee was discovered entirely by chance. During the crown rule in India, large quantities of coffee beans were regularly shipped from India to Europe.
During the long ocean voyages, via the southern tip of Africa, these coffee beans were subjected to windy, wet conditions. These rough conditions resulted in the beans swelling and changing color – from green to a rather unappetizing pale yellowy-white.
Even though the beans had changed in appearance, the European customers decided to use them anyway. And with that came the discovery of the unique flavor that the rough sea conditions created.
With improved shipping processes over the years, the coffee beans no longer went through the intense ripening and conditioning that accompanies the long oceanic journeys of old. The improvement and shortening of travel time ironically affected the quality of the coffee.
This led to the development of a process that simulated the conditioning provided by the long shipping journeys of the early years. In other words, as we mentioned earlier, beans were stored in open-sided warehouses during the monsoon season – from June through to September each year.
How Does Monsoon Malabar Coffee Taste?
Now that we know more about the time-consuming process involved in ripening the beans, the next question is whether this time and effort are worth it in terms of the end result.
Monsoon Malabar Coffee may not be everyone’s favorite – it is possibly even an acquired taste, but many coffee connoisseurs agree that it is indeed worth the effort.
With the removal of acidity, the coffee has a thick, grainy quality. It is described as full, intense, boldly bodied, and earthy. Other descriptions include musky, nutty, chocolaty, and richly aromatic with a malty sweetness. Its boldness lingers on the tongue long after the coffee is enjoyed.
How Should Monsoon Malabar Coffee Be Roasted, Brewed, And Served?
The way the coffee is roasted, brewed, and served is essential to fully experience the full flavor profile of the coffee.
How To Roast Monsoon Malabar Coffee
The recommended roast level for Monsoon Malabar coffee is a medium-dark, full-city roast to bring out its nutty, spicy flavors and natural sweetness. But, with the absence of acidity, a light roast is also acceptable. It is best enjoyed between three days and two weeks after roasting.
How To Brew Monsoon Malabar Coffee
Monsoon Malabar coffee can be used for a cold brew, but the low acidity level means that it doesn’t work well for an iced coffee.
How To Enjoy Monsoon Malabar Coffee
Monsooned Malabar coffee should always be drunk hot. You can drink this coffee on its own, as a black espresso, but it is especially good with milk and sugar to balance its intensity.
You can also use it as a base with other coffee blends. It will work particularly well with coffees that have fruity or nutty notes.
What Can Monsoon Malabar Coffee Be Paired With?
Monsoon Malabar coffee, as a beverage, pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. As a companion for its maltiness, chocolate, biscotti, and shortbread are obvious pairings. For something entirely different – think mushrooms – to bring out the musky, earthy notes of the coffee.
Coffee comes in many exciting varieties, and Monsoon Malabar coffee is no different. If you are a fan of good coffee, then monsooned coffee is a must-try for your coffee bucket list. We love the romance in the story of how this variety of coffee came to be. So when you do have the opportunity to try a cup, close your eyes and imagine those wild monsoon winds, rains, and rough seas.