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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
After literally decades of searching, we are super excited to introduce our new 100% compostable retail bags.
These bags have a soft organic feel and they offer a fully hermetic seal for the freshest coffee possible. The block bottom allows the bags to stand up proudly on a counter or shelf. This innovative material is constructed out of Biotre® Film, created by Pacific Bag and is certified to OK Compost’s Home Composting Standard and to ASTM International standards for commercial compostability.
When we founded Barrington Coffee in 1993, we have always sought to identify the most exciting coffees on the planet, grown by farmers who use environmentally sustainable methods for cultivation. At long last we are able to bring our coffee sourcing philosophy in line with our packaging.
-No Synthetic Fertilizers
Each of our Barrington Coffee Origin CertifiedTM coffees arrives at our Roastery after having been certified at origin by a formally recognized third party certifier as having been produced without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. In addition to having been certified at origin by a recognized organic certifier, some coffees may bear additional third party certifications from organizations such as Rainforest Alliance, Demeter, TransFair USA, Smithsonian Institution, Utz Kapeh and others. Please consult the description for each coffee on our menu to learn more about its distinct identity.
Barrington Coffee’s Pioneering Role in Organic Coffee Processing
Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Inc. was among the very first specialty coffee roasting companies in the US to be certified for organic coffee processing. Our certification as a processor began in 1996 and predates our certification through the National Organic Program by seven years.
We have been ardent supporters of organic and biodynamic coffee cultivation since we started our roasting company in 1993. During our earliest days roasting, we began sourcing coffees from certified organic coffee growing cooperatives in the Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and Sumatra. As Timor established its independence in 1999, we have had the good fortune to work with there as well. Our deep roots in organic agriculture qualify us as one of the longest term certified organic specialty coffee roasters in the United States.
In the mid 90’s we became involved with a biodynamic coffee farming project in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. This was a project inspired by Christoph Meier, one of the founders of the Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent, NY. Christoph Meier is a pioneer of biodynamic tropical agriculture and currently operates his biodynamic banana and mango farm, Horizontes Organicos in Azua, Dominican Republic.
Our path to organic certification began in 1996 with Quality Assurance International (QAI). At that time we undertook a pro bono consulting project to assist the largest organics company in Europe, Rapunzel Pure Organics, to build a roasted coffee program here in the United States. This project involved work with a coffee cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico. This farm was both organic certified as well as biodynamic certified through Demeter International.
Our work with the very same coffee cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico laid the foundation for the coffee program at the Arbor Day Foundation. This was another pro bono project which we initially consulted with the Arbor Day Foundation and helped to get off the ground with Matthew Quinlan at Conservation International (CI).
When the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) came into existence in 2002, we became certified as an NOP Organic Processor through the federal program working with Baystate Organic Certifiers, Winchendon, MA.
In 2015 we came to the realization that through the efforts we undertake with such a broad diversity of farms and cooperatives of all shapes and sizes, we are able to do an even more effective job at categorically describing our coffees through our own certification program. Thus was born the Barrington Coffee Origin CertifiedTM Program.
The processing methods we utilize at our coffee Roastery have always been found in utmost compliance with the guidelines set forth by the USDA and the FDA. Our methods remain unchanged and are driven by the pursuit of sourcing and preparing the finest roasted-to-order coffees on the planet and delivering them to you — FRESH. To make that happen, we fire up our roasters Monday through Thursday of each week. Any order received before 9am will be roasted and shipped out that very same day.
We strongly support farming without the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and fungicides. We believe that coffee grown under the shade of a tree canopy and polyculture farming practices foster biodiversity, more resilient farm systems, a healthier planet and the highest quality coffee.
The Barrington Coffee Team
Barth Anderson, green coffee buyer for BCRC at the Doka Estate, a fourth generation family farm in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.
How do we source the coffees that we roast? With great care.
Each year, Barth procures green coffee samples from the best coffee producers from around the globe. The coffees he identifies hail from small family farms, cutting edge private farms and coffee growing cooperatives. Barth’s sensitivity to cross cultural integration and his ability to communicate in other languages are an enormous asset to our search for great coffee. A relationship that spans over two decades with the Vargas family’s coffee farm in Costa Rica is testament to the depth of such relationships.
It is the biologically complex farms that yield complex cups of coffee. These coffees are grown by individuals who put their energy into the stewardship of their farms and the quality of their produce. We view the farms, families, and cooperatives that we work with as strategic partners. Our relationships grow with each year’s harvest, and in many cases our relationships span generations. Extensive information about each of the farms we work with is available from us in the form of BCRC Coffee Cards, as well as online at barringtoncoffee.com.
Gregg and Barth have been actively exploring different coffee flavor profiles since they became involved with specialty coffee in the 1980’s. At the Roastery in the Berkshires, the BCRC staff pool their collective senses to evaluate each coffee in the controlled environment of their tasting room. Our tasting room is one of the finest coffee analysis environments in the industry. Water quality, air quality, and equipment calibration are carefully maintained for consistency. Our critique of a coffee involves moisture analysis, sample roasting, the cupping process, serving temperature profiling, and numerous methods of brewing and extraction.
-Controlling relative humidity during green coffee storage to enhance body and soften acidity for espresso preparation.
There are a multitude of compounds that exist in a coffee bean. They can either make, or break a coffee’s cup quality.
We know that we can protect these compounds in green coffees through barrier protection and careful storage as we do with our Green Seal Program™. Deciding how to hold on to these qualities and how long each coffee’s season will sustain are some of the critical roles we perform as coffee roasters.
However, humankind has also known for millennia that aging and conditioning different kinds of food and drink can reveal amazing aromas and flavors. Over the years, we have found that we can actually improve the character of some of the coffees we prepare for espresso by tempering, or otherwise controlling, the storage environment and time period that these coffees inhabit before roasting. We use a variety of aging methods to open up an espresso profile, soften its acidity, and bring to light captivating and otherwise inaccessible flavors that can exist within particular coffee varieties. We call this process our Landed Aging Program™ for espresso coffees.
These coffees also have a season, it is just a different one than would be described by a traditional notion of seasonality. Typically seasonality is considered in the context of holding on to something that is fleeting. Landed aging is about developing and transforming something that is hidden within a coffee bean.
We have been actively exploring this potential in espresso coffee since the mid 1990’s when we created our Barrington Gold Espresso Blend™. You will also find it noted among some of the Single Origin Espresso coffees that we periodically have available as Limited Offerings.
Just as we transform green coffee to roasted coffee, we employ landed aging to impart our style to some of the very special espresso coffees that we offer. You won’t find them anywhere but here. We certainly hope that you enjoy our results.
-Hermetically sealing green coffee to preserve freshness and vibrancy in the cup.
Is there an ideal way to handle the best green coffees in the world? Yes, very carefully.
Coffee beans are seeds from the fruit of the coffee tree. At Barrington Coffee, we care for and roast coffee seeds. We explore and identify the ones we enjoy the most, we preserve them, and we prepare them to order in our artisanal drum coffee roasters five days a week, each week of the year.
The coffee farms we work with typically have but one harvest per year. This can present particular challenges regarding seasonal supply and storage. After years of careful testing we have devised methods to preserve these amazing coffees so that we may offer them to you at their peak throughout the harvest season.
A washed coffee with a particularly lively acidity or a very delicate flavor profile will typically fare best by being sealed against the elements shortly after repose. In some cases we hermetically seal these coffees at the farm even before the coffee ships to our Roastery. In other instances, we may feel that once it has landed, the coffee will benefit by settling down further before being sealed. Pulped natural and natural processed coffees, for example, often benefit from further repose before sealing.
We make each of these decisions based upon our critical periodic analysis of how each coffee tastes. We decide when a coffee is at its best, and then we hold the coffee at that spot by protecting the green beans inside environmentally minded, reusable packaging. This is our Barrington Coffee Green Seal Program™.
Seasonality regarding coffee beans is not as simple as it may seem at first glance. The idiosyncrasies of provenance and process specific green coffee preservation are a major part of the equation.
We know that our conscientious efforts absolutely preserve moisture content, freshness, and peak character profile for even the most critical of brewing methods throughout a harvest year. We see this as the proper way to respect the carefully produced coffees that we are so fortunate to represent. Deciding how we will apply the Green Seal Program™ to a particular coffee is a challenge we really enjoy. We certainly hope you enjoy our results.
We believe that decaffeinated coffee drinkers drink coffee for one reason, taste; to experience the wonderful aromas and flavors of a coffee without experiencing the effects of caffeine. The decaffeination process we use with all of our coffees begins with exceptionally grown and prepared green coffees from the finest farms around the globe. This is an important distinction. At best, the decaffeination process will preserve the original character of the bean. We must start with an excellent coffee if we intend to achieve an excellent decaffeinated coffee.
Once we have selected a candidate for decaffeination, we ship the green coffee to the best water process decaffeination facility in the world. This facility is located in the mountains of Cordoba, Mexico. In Cordoba, the green coffee beans are immersed in filtered, heated water in order to extract the caffeine. The caffeine is separated from the water by being passed through charcoal filters. This water contains the soluble flavor compounds of the coffee that are then reintroduced to the beans in an immersing tank. In the immersing tank the beans reabsorb the filtered water containing the coffee’s original flavors. The result is 99.9% caffeine free and 100% chemical free coffee.
We are huge proponents of the Select Water Process not only because it removes caffeine from the coffee bean without the use of harmful chemicals or the creation of harmful byproducts, but because it leaves the coffees character intact.
Ceres was the Roman goddess of agricultural cultivation and preparation.
Our Ceres Project™ is devoted to breaking new ground in the realm of blending super premium coffees to create a signature experience. The coffees we employ are born of daring coffee farming projects and obsessive coffee preparation. With these ingredients we shape new tastes.
2013 is the twentieth year that we have roasted coffee together as Barrington Coffee. We really hope you will enjoy our offerings to come from the Ceres Project™ as we move into our twenties. This will most certainly be an adventure from sublime to decadent.