Distinct, strong, AA-grade coffee from the Karnataka state in south-western India.
Roast: Full City (6/7) (Dark)
Tasting Notes: Cedar, Cocoa, Leather, Tobacco
Altitude: 985 MASL
Variety: Kent, S19
Processing Method: Monsoon
Whilst India may not spring to mind when thinking about growing coffee it is considered to have some of the finest shade-grown coffee in the world. It is primarily grown in the countries southern states namely Karnataka (71% total production), Kerala (21% total production), and Tamil Nadu (5% total production). India consists of around 250,000 coffee growers, around 98% of which are small growers and as of 2009 Indian coffee accounted for 4.5% of global production.
It is believed coffee was introduced to India around the 17th century by an Indian Muslim saint, Baba Budan. Whilst returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, he smuggled 7 coffee beans (by hiding them in his beard) from Yemen to Mysore in Karnataka and planted them in the region. At the time it was considered illegal to take green coffee seed out of Arabia, but as the number 7 is a sacrosanct number in Islam, this was considered a religious act. Most production was from private native Indian farmers until British colonial presence in the mid 19th century, after which coffee plantations flourished for export.
Monsoon Malabar is possibly the most well-known Indian coffee due to its unusual processing method. This started as the British exported coffee by ship to Northern Europe in 3-masted East Indiamen. The journey took around 6 months and during the Monsoon season, this gave a long time for the beans to absorb the additional moisture and swell. This caused the beans to lose their original acidity and gain the distinct flavour we know today. The coffee is unique to the Malabar Coast of Karnataka and is protected under India's Geographical Indications of Goods Act. Nowadays, the coffee is left in open-sided warehouses and subject to the effects of humidity during the monsoon season. This occurs over a period of 3-6 months on the west coast of India between June/July and September.
This coffee is from the Manjarabad region within Karnataka, which spans from Chikmagalur to Coorg. The monsoon process results in a sweet, woody coffee with deep earthy flavours, full-body, mild acidity and intense aroma.