Coffee of the Month – April 2023
April 2023: India Monsooned Malabar
Located in Sakleshpur, Karnataka, Harley Estate sits at an elevation of 945 – 1040m. The estate grows coffee interspersed with areca, pepper, cocoa, and cardamom. Harley has grown coffee since the 1860s and currently grows a varietal of Selection 9 Arabica.
The coffees are grown under a rich canopy of trees while the rich soil and nearby spring waters provide a lush environment for the coffee plants to blossom and give them the unique characteristics they are known for. Natural spring water is used for washing the beans and for fermentation; and the beans are dried on raised beds and then on drying patios to ensure even drying and ideal moisture levels.
‘Monsooning’ is a process unique to India, with a lengthy history and producing a distinctive, potent cup. It dates back to coffee farming under British colonial rule when during the several months that it took to ship green coffee from India to Europe, the humidity and sea winds caused the beans to swell and age.
The coffee cherry is first dried via the natural process. The coffee cherry is placed on patios and slowly sun-dried for 6 hours a day, over 11 days. This slow drying method helps to allow for the retention of the coffee’s quality and flavour. Once dried, the coffee cherry is milled, ready to begin the monsoon process.
At the start of Monsoon Season the natural sun-dried green coffee is stored in open-sided warehouses on the coast and subjected to the moisture-laden monsoon winds of the region. Over a 2 to 3 month period, the beans absorb moisture, lose a degree of their natural acidity and swell to around double their original size, becoming brittle and pale.
The result is a very fine spicy, smoky, slightly earthy flavour with a slight acidity.
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