Syrupy, savory-sweet, roasty. Dark chocolate, scorched mesquite, orange zest, very ripe peach in aroma and small cup. Fat, syrupy mouthfeel; heavy, savory-sweet finish. Fruit-toned chocolate and mesquite dominate.
Altitude: 1200 - 1300 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: January to April
12 oz. Handcrafted Organic Coffee
India’s coffee industry is diverse and vibrant. Specialty purveyors normally prefer the mellow, sophisticated flavors of India’s Arabica coffees, although India grows some of the finest Robusta coffees in the world. Top-grade Indian Robusta exhibits a clean and smooth flavor with none of the rubbery aftertaste typically associated with other Robusta coffees. Arabica coffee in India is grown at elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, whereas Robusta is grown above 1,000 feet.
India is the sixth largest producer of coffee in the world, behind only Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, and Ethiopia. The International Coffee Organization categorizes India’s production as “Other Mild Arabica,” a category that includes coffees from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe.
Most of India’s coffee is grown in the three southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. Karnataka accounts for nearly 65 percent of total production, whereas Tamil Nadu contributes approximately 15 percent and Kerala makes up around 20 percent. India’s principal Arabica-growing districts are Anamalais, Baba Budan, Biligiris, Coorg, Mysore (Chikmagalur), Nilgiris, Palanis, and Shevaroys.
India refers to specially treated Arabica Cherry-AB and Robusta Cherry-AB as monsooned coffees. During the monsooning process, unwashed coffee beans are spread in layers 4 to 6 inches thick and exposed to monsoon winds that are saturated with moisture. Processors use open-walled, brick-floored warehouses in the coastal region of Western India but leave the roofs in place, so the beans don’t get wet. Processors rake the beans frequently, so they absorb moisture evenly, and then bulk and re-bag them at regular intervals. The whole process takes approximately 12 to 16 weeks.
During this treatment, the beans absorb moisture in stages, swell up to nearly double their original size, develop colors ranging from pale white to golden/light brown, shed their new-crop acidity, and develop a unique, pleasant, earthy flavor. They also become the lowest-acid coffee in the world.
Monsooning is unique to Indian coffees. It’s believed to simulate conditions that prevailed in the wooden sailing vessels of old that carried coffee from India, around Africa, and to Western Europe.
There are several grades of monsooned coffees. Of these grades, only the top grades of Arabica and Robusta (Malabar-AA and Robusta-AA) qualify as specialty grades.
In the 2012-13 season, India produced 5.3 million bags (60kg) of coffee. Arabica represented 1.6 million bags; Robusta the rest. Of this production, 3.75 million bags were available for export with Europe as the primary export destination. [Data source: US Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agricultural Service]
Historically, coffee was a tightly regulated commodity in India. In the 1990’s, however, the government deregulated the industry, and producers are now free to market their coffees anywhere in the world. Many growers now brand their coffees as estate-grown, a move that has also resulted in a significant improvement in coffee quality. The Coffee Board of India, which once served as the industry’s regulating arm, now focuses on agricultural research, grading coffees, and enforcing quality standards.