Malabar Coffee: Monsoon Gives This GI-Tagged Coffee Its Flavour
Image Credit: The mild flavour of the coffee is appreciated | Unsplash

In the lush Western Ghats of India, amidst the misty monsoon season, a unique coffee variety is born. Monsooned Malabar Coffee, with its distinct flavour and historical significance, has earned a very special place in the hearts and cups of coffee lovers not just in the country but worldwide. With a GI tag that recognises the coffee's unique attribute, let us explore the fascinating journey of Monsooned Malabar Coffee, from its cultivation to its distinct flavour and the significance of its GI tag.

The Origin Story

The history of Monsoon Malabar Coffee dates back to the colonial era, when India was a major exporter of coffee to Europe. During the 18th century, when coffee was transported from India to Europe via wooden ships, the beans were exposed to the moist sea air during the monsoon voyage. This exposure to high humidity and monsoon winds caused the beans to swell and undergo significant changes in colour and flavour. This accidental process resulted in the unique nutty and chocolatey flavour profile that we associate with Monsooned Malabar Coffee today. It instantly became popular in Britain, with the demand for this variety increasing multifold.

Credit - caffé baîr

The Monsooning Process

To replicate the natural monsooning process that gave rise to the coffee's distinctive taste, modern-day coffee producers follow a controlled method. Arabica or Robusta coffee beans are spread in open-sided warehouses in jute bags during the monsoon season, which usually lasts from June to September. The beans are exposed to the moist and humid coastal winds of the Malabar region in Kerala. During this period, the beans absorb moisture, swell in size, and undergo changes in colour from green to pale yellow. This process is carefully monitored to ensure the beans reach the desired moisture content.

The Unique Flavour Profile

Monsooned Malabar Coffee is renowned for its low acidity, mellow flavour, and smooth, chocolaty taste. The prolonged exposure to the monsoon winds imparts a distinct earthy and woody aroma to the beans. The monsooning process reduces the acidity of the coffee, making it less bitter and gentler on the stomach. The resulting cup of coffee is rich and full-bodied and lingers on the palate with subtle hints of spices, chocolate, and nuts. Coffee connoisseurs around the world appreciate Monsooned Malabar Coffee for its unique and unparalleled flavour. It is particularly popular in Europe and the USA.

The Geographical Indication (GI) Tag

In 2007, Monsooned Malabar Coffee was granted the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Government of India. The GI tag is a certification that links a product's unique characteristics to its geographical origin. It not only protects the coffee's identity from imitation but also promotes the economic well-being of the region and its coffee growers. The GI tag recognises the traditional knowledge and expertise of the coffee producers in the Malabar region, ensuring that the coffee's unique flavour is preserved.

Brewing it Right

To fully savour the unique taste of Monsooned Malabar Coffee, a French press or pour-over method is often recommended. Grind the beans to a medium-coarse consistency, allowing for a well-balanced extraction. The brewing process brings out the coffee's full-bodied richness and subtle flavour notes. Enjoy a refreshing cup of Monsooned Malabar Coffee with or without milk, appreciating the smell and flavour that have made this variety one of the favourites in the country.

Monsooned Malabar Coffee is not just a coffee variety; it is a testament to the rich history, culture, and geography of the Malabar region. The GI tag adds a sense of pride and authenticity to this coffee, making it a treasured gem among coffee aficionados. From its accidental creation during the colonial era to its intentional and controlled monsooning process today, this variety continues to rule the coffee scene in India.