❇️ NEW! Broadway Around Town featuring Hotel Kansas City
Herbal, Exotic, Coffee India Monsooned Malabar
This short explanation of Indian Coffees by Jon Cates
Autumn has arrived. It’s sweater weather. Morning hikes through the woods, or even just walking the sidewalks to the Cafe, you kick up a wet pile of colorful leaves and the smells of fall waft up. A musty, somehow sweet, deep aroma reminding you that this is the time of year for warm, rich flavors.
The coffee I choose this time of year has to be full of flavor. Our Indian Monsooned Malabar is always a go-to when it starts getting cold. The perfect coffee to add a little cream to, or dare I say a bit of Pumpkin Spice!
Let’s take a trip through time and flavor to see what makes this coffee so unique.
The proliferation of coffee around the equator, from the area of the Red Sea in Africa and Yemen, leads us to the often overlooked third location of coffee production, India. Traders from India were traveling by both land and sea, discovering and sharing goods. Green coffee moved North and East, being bought and sold throughout the Middle East. The climate here was not conducive to growing coffee trees. Roasting and Brewing coffee in the Middle East began in the 15th century and has remained a tradition. The next stop these magic beans could thrive would be in the Southern region of India.
The tale of the Muslim pilgrim, Baba Budan, smuggling seven seeds of coffee in his beard from Mecca back to the Mysore area in Karnataka state in the 15th century is almost as romantic as the story of the Goat herder Kaldi watching his goats eat the coffee cherries in the Ethiopian Highlands, and dancing around with glee. These seven coffee seeds were the beginning of coffee production in India. Coffee was planted in the 1670’s in Karnataka as a crop, and spread to other states in the South.
Coffee farming is concentrated in three regions of the country with Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, forming the traditional coffee growing areas. The South of India is a very wet, tropical climate with forested mountains, very different from the North where the Himalayan mountains and cold weather is not conducive to tropical plants.
In the 18th Century, wooden sailing ships carrying spices from the East and now Coffee from India, traveled south around the tip of Africa to ports in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Genoa, Trieste, and Hamburg. These voyages would take months, and coffees that arrived at port were then graded and sold. Coffee beans that had faded from green to a light yellow, almost white in color were found to have very different tastes.
Germans in Hamburg, and roasters in Italy came to appreciate these mellow coffees, and were sold at a premium. Indian coffees were especially sought after, as the Monsoon conditions during the processing before the long journey embedded in them a musty, slightly earthy, flavor. These “mellowed” coffees were known as Monsooned Malabars. As shipping routes and freighters became faster, with transit becoming shorter, the mellowing time in the ship's holds were not allowing the coffees to age.
Coffee processors in India experimented with sorting out the best washed coffees, and built wooden warehouses to age the coffee before shipping, to recreate the flavors from those long journeys.
This Monsooning Process is what we taste today.
Our Monsooned Malabar exhibits herbal, forest floor, earthy aromas. A full body, with a coating mouthfeel. We use it in our Espresso blend as an ingredient to add complexity. As a single origin brew, Indian Monsooned coffees flavors can be polarizing. This is not a clean, sparkling Costa Rican, nor is it the deep fruit flavor of Sidama.
If you love Brazils and Indonesians you will enjoy the rich taste of Monsooned Malabar. These are coffees that are prized for sweetness and body.
High acidity is sought after in coffees from Kenya, Costa Rica, and washed Ethiopians. This is not the case from India. If your family doctor recommends cutting down on coffee due to acid reflux, start drinking Monsooned Malabar & get a second opinion! In our experience, more Doctors drink Monsooned Coffee.
Indian Monsooned Malabar is the perfect complex coffee as we switch from iced drinks to cool off, to hot drinks to warm up. Discover the flavor in our Espresso, by the cup in the Cafe, or buy a bag or two to brew at home.
The full story discussing the complexity of Indian coffees might just take us returning to the topic of this Newsletter for a minimum of three to four reincarnations. I’ve tried to sum it up this month.
For a primer on Modern Coffeehouse traditions in India check out my friend Dhaval Mehta’s recent article for Sprudge online:
He has promised to accompany me from New Delhi to the coffee growing areas in the South one of these lifetimes!
Broadway Around Town
Introducing our new monthly highlight on current wholesale partners and the brilliant ways they serve our coffee
HOTEL KANSAS CITY Downtown Kansas City, MO
No reservation needed. Longtime KC coffee professional Laura Clark (pictured below) heads the Lobby Market, the small but mighty corner cafe inside Hyatt’s Hotel Kansas City serving up specialty drinks well worth the effort to find parking downtown.
All drinks are dreamt up by Clark and crafted in-house by her team, giving Broadway’s Signature Espresso the 5-star treatment. Pastries are made in-house by James Beard-nominated Helen Jo Leach, head pastry chef for the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant, The Town Company. Stop by and help celebrate the hotel's 3rd anniversary this month!
Must try: The Sweater Weather (pictured above, served as either latte or iced tonic.) The brown sugar, fig, orange, ginger, and vanilla bean syrup was developed for Clark's 2nd national barista competition and is as complex as it is balanced.
Indian Monsoon Malabar
If we have sparked your interest in the flavors of India, click below to order a fresh-roasted bag right to your doorstep.