There are some classic styles of coffee which date from the days of Empire and Colonial trade – such as Old Brown Java, Jampit , and Monsooned Malabar. When coffee from countries of origin was conveyed to Europe by sea, the long journey on board sailing ships had an effect on the flavour. The English developed a liking for the stronger, matured taste. When the time at sea was reduced by steam ships, the flavour changed- and people complained.
The producers in India devised a system to duplicate the sea ageing taste , by storing the raw coffee in jute sacks in open-sided warehouses, during the monsoon rains at the point of embarkation for the coffee trade – in the City of Mangalore, on the Malabar Coast, where it is still processed today. Both Arabica and Robusta is monsooned, but we mostly get to see the Arabica in UK.
The coffee itself is grown in the heights of the Western Ghat range of hills, 2,000 masl, in the state of Karnataka. Few single estates are named as producers, but very high standards are kept during the processing, including hand sorting (called Garbling). The beans swell and change colour to a pale yellow/green.
The flavour? A slightly sour, deep leathery, tobacco and cacao taste – perhaps reminiscent of a Gentleman’s Club in Victorian England.
Suitable for all brewing styles, roasted on the Dark Side it makes a cracking espresso. Best taken without milk.