The history of "monsooned coffee"
Before the use of modern metal containers, coffee that was transported in ships would get exposed to humid sea breezes. For destinations that were far off (particularly the North European countries), the long voyage time meant that the coffee beans absorbed a lot of the moisture from the sea breeze.
This made the beans swell up in size, get a unique appearance & flavor. Consumers loved the unique coffee!
Times were changing...
With the opening of the Suez Canal & with the introduction of modern shipping, the sea breeze stopped having the same effect on the coffee, and consumers noticed the difference – they actually preferred the ‘sea breeze effect’. The Monsooning Process is a way to simulate this sea breeze effect!
The monsooning process
It is a delicate process that is carried out in a small stretch of India’s West Coast (also called the Malabar Coast). The coffee beans are spread in warehouses that are located on the sea coast. These warehouses have open sides (that is, only a roof and no side walls).
During the peak monsoon months or rainy season, the region experiences very heavy rainfall. The warm humid air, coupled with the sea breeze, play a magical effect on the coffee. The coffees need to be raked & their positions rotated in order to evenly expose the coffee to the sea breeze. During this process, the coffee is carefully monitored and controlled. At the end of around 2 months, the monsooned coffees are ready.
They undergo seasoning after this to settle down in terms of flavor, and are then ready to be shipped around the world, for connoisseurs to enjoy!
Recently, the Monsooning Process has been awarded a Geographic indication, which defines the specific area of India’s West Coast where the process can be carried out.
In the cup, India’s Monsooned coffees are known for their mellow, well rounded profile.
This fascinating piece of history was written and delivered to us by Mr. Anil Ravindran. Thank you!
Anil Ravindran is Managing Partner at RV Commodity Services, India’s premier choice export brokerage firm. If you’re a coffee importer and would like to get in touch with Anil, please send him an email to: [email protected]