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Coffee Origin Gallery

Coffee Origin Gallery2016-10-25T13:04:44+00:00

Monsooned Malabar

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Monsooned Malabar coffee is a Geographical Identification Certified Product (GI Certified) that is unique to the South-West shore of India called the Malabar Coast. Monsooning is a processing method in which green coffee is exposed to the high humidity conditions present during the monsoon season. Throughout this process, the coffee undergoes complex changes and new aromas and flavors are unveiled. The highest grade is Monsooned Malabar – AA Super Grade produced at Aspinwall Coffee in Mangalore. This refined degree of processing is the brainchild of once nuclear physicist, now green coffee importer Dr. Joseph John of Josuma Coffee.  Aspinwall has been processing green coffee since 1867. The AA Super Grade was first realized through Dr. John’s direction in 2000 and was given its formal name in 2001. The resultant cup is supremely smooth with qualities of sandalwood, dark chocolate and nut. Monsooned Malabar boasts the lowest acidity of any coffee.

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Inside the gates of Aspinwall Coffee, the monsooning process begins by sorting and selecting AA grade coffee cherry which is spread out on concrete patios and sun dried. The coffee is then hulled, sorted and stored until the onset of the monsoon season. When the monsoon hits from June through September, the beans are spread out beneath tile roofed, open walled structures where they are raked at regular intervals. When exposed to the high atmospheric humidity, the beans absorb the moisture and expand. In this vintage photograph of the drying yard at Aspinwall, you can see coffee being raked out to sun dry prior to monsooning.

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The monsooning process was first developed in the mid 20th century as a way to emulate the organoleptic effects of transporting coffee in the hold of a wooden ship. This “natural” monsooning process which was once commonplace, was effectively eradicated when steel hulled cargo ships became ubiquitous in the early 1900’s.

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After hulling, the beans are mechanically sorted by a high tech Spectrum Color Analyzer. Once the monsooning process is complete, they are subjected yet again to mechanical sorting. During this second stage of sorting forty to fifty percent of the monsooned beans are rejected. After the mechanical sorting is complete the beans are hand sorted numerous times, or “garbeled” as it is called, to achieve the AA Super Grade.

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The beans are vigilantly raked and turned over many days. During this phase the beans are absorbing monsoon moisture. They are then bagged and stacked in windrows at which point the beans swell. The spreading, sorting and re-bagging is repeated up to three times until the coffee beans acquire a golden hue and a moisture content of 14.5%.

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Here the final product is being bagged for export. The entire process comprises many months of careful attention. Monsooning is the most time and labor intensive coffee processing method in the world.

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K.D. Thimmaiah, Aspinwall General Manager, simultaneously looks to the past and the future. On the garbeling board for this day, December 17, 2015, is our lot of Josuma Monsooned Malabar AA Super.

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Melind (left) and Urmila John, represent Josuma Coffee Company (Menlo Park, CA). Urmila’s husband, Dr. Joseph John, introduced us to Indian coffee in the mid 90’s. Tushara U. (center) is Aspinwall’s Assistant Manager of Quality Assurance.

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Tushara is responsible for evaluating coffee quality before, during and after the monsooning process. She keeps the Aspinwall coffee lab in perfect order, representative of her refined sense of good taste.

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The result? Perfectly monsooned coffee from the Malabar Coast of India. Its flavor is as unique as is its elaborate process to creation. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Puerto Rico 2012

For the past several years we have been working on a coffee and citrus tree polyculture farm revitalization project with a couple of organic farming friends of ours in Maricao, Puerto Rico. Here are some images from the farm. We look forward to getting this coffee back into our roasters for the holidays in 2013!

Guatemala 2012

In 2012 our family explored the coffee, life and culture in and around Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. Pictured is the coffee beneficio at San Pedro La Laguna with green coffee being prepared in three different ways simultaneously; washed, pulped natural and natural process. In the streets of Santiago it is not uncommon to see green coffee being dried out in the open. Coffee achievers Lee Beal and Hans Schaefer are pictured at Hans’ coffee mill and roastery know as Posada Jabilito. Look them up before your next visit to Atitlán. (Photos courtesy of Jer and Shar Anderson.)

Daterra Farms 2011

The folks at Daterra Farms are steadfast practitioners of an appellation approach to growing coffee. Their attention has been directed toward the interrelationship of varietal and territory. Moreover, they have been stalwart pioneers of employing various methodologies for green coffee processing to attain an array of tasteful results. The farms are located in the sub-tropical region of Cerrado in the state of Minas Gerais and the Franca region in the state of Sao Paulo with farm elevations ranging from 3,250 to 3,900 feet above sea level. All coffees from Daterra are Rainforest Alliance certified. Ave a peek inside the world of Daterra Farms…

Brazil Cafe Conquista Harvest 2010

We have worked with the Sinay-Neves Family for many years and have been fortunate to offer their beautiful coffee in our Barrington Gold Espresso as well as a Limited Offering Single Origin Espresso. These pictures are of the Spring 2010 harvest at their Conquista Farm, located at 2,700 feet in altitude in Bahia. The Sinay-Neves family is continually making improvements to the farm infrastructure and contributions to the the community members that help to support the cultivation and processing of their coffee. Their Socially Conscious Coffee Project is one enormous such contribution. Through this program, the Centro Rural Educaf © was erected on the Farm in 2004. At the Centro Rural, educational and social programs are made available to the farm workers and their families.

MauiGrown Coffee Gallery 2010

This January, Barrington Coffee General Manager Christina Stanton visited the Hawaiian island of Maui and got to spend some quality time with the good people of Maui Grown Coffee. Maui Grown is a farm revitalization project driven by Kimo Falconer on what was formerly the Kaanapali Coffee Estate. We’d like to thank Kimo and crew for the spectacular Yellow Caturra varietal we have as a Limited Offering this February.

Dominican Republic Origin Visit, March 2010

This March, Barth had the opportunity to visit the San Raphael farming cooperative in the mountains of the southern Dominican Republic. We first worked with coffee from San Raphael Cooperative back in the 1994 harvest year. We have wanted to visit there for a very long time and we finally made it!

Haiti 2008

In 2005 we began our coffee project in the Haitian Highlands. Through the vision and direction of our colleague Ben Dobson, we were able to prepare and import three harvests. These pictures are from Ferrace. This is the central area where the crew brought coffee from the highlands for processing and drying.

Images from the Haitian Highlands (Photos courtesy of Ben Dobson)

Ethiopia 2008

In 2008 we began our partnership with Ninety Plus Coffee in Ethiopia. Here are a few photographs from the cooperative washing and processing station in Beloya. These coffees processed at Beloya were among the very first coffees in what has become an extraordinary lineage of Ninety Plus offerings.

Kenya Visit 2009

Our friend Gordon Clark spent several weeks in 2009 performing relief work in the Kenyan countryside. While there, we connected him with the highly respected coffee trader Mohsin Panju. Mohsin very kindly gave Gordon an inside view of coffee growing, processing, and trading in Kenya. Gordon took these pictures to share with us.

Kalledevarapura Estate, Chickmagalur, India 2009

We began our journey with Indian coffees in 1997. These pictures display the care with which coffee cultivation is regarded at Kalledevarapura.

Doka Estate Visit

Here are some images from Barth’s visit to The Doka Estate in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.

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Please enter your email below to receive FREE SHIPPING on your first order with us!* Be the first to hear about the amazing limited-edition coffees, new gear and special offers. *Offer valid for new email subscribers on first purchases only.