IndusFresh Details

By TPCI | November 22, 2019

If you’re a coffee addict and want to try out something premium, distinguished and proudly Indian with a whiff of history, then Monsooned Malabar ticks all boxes! This exquisite coffee, which was granted the prestigious Geographical Indication tag a few years ago, is known for its exceptional characteristics like good body, mild acidity, pleasant aroma and flavour. These features - color, shape, and size of these beans from India, as well as their aroma and taste - are the result of a distinctive post-harvest processing method.

What makes this brew magical is not only the geographical conditions in which it germinates – Monsoon rains along the Malabar Coast of Karnataka – but also the fact that it has a fascinating tale of accidental discovery. According to historical chronicles, in the colonial era, British ships sailing to Europe around the Cape of Good Hope would find vast changes in the characteristics of their packed coffee, thanks to the salty moisture in the wooden cargo hold. During this 4-6 month long voyage, the coffee beans would lose their original taste and green colour, turning pale and attaining a brown straw-like colour and a pungent, musty flavour. Europeans began to love this mellow taste borne out of natural intervention. However, with the improvement in shipping network and reduction in the time of commuting, the coffee beans began to retained their original traits. Clearly, the Europeans were not pleased.

In order to cater to the European palate of the mildewed coffee, the coffee processors in Mangalore devised a tactic now known as `Monsooning Coffee'. This technique entails exposing natural coffee beans, in 4- to 6-inch-thick piles, to moisture-laden monsoon winds in a well-ventilated brick or concrete-floored warehouse, making use of the winds from the Arabian Sea during the southwest Monsoon months of June through September.

Each batch undergoes this process thrice so that the moisture-laden breeze triggers slight fermentation, causing the beans to swell to double their original size, turn pale and brittle and acquiring an earthy flavour. Both Arabica and Robusta varieties are subjected to this technique.

Today, the specialty coffee cured by the unique monsoon rains of the Malabar Coast, commands a good market in Scandinavian countries.