A Windy Cup

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A Windy Cup

Postby bruceb » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:09 pm

I had an exciting time roasting my first batch of Monsooned Malabar (Arabica). For anyone who hasn't tried them, the beans look like the first beachgoers after a long, long, sunless winter. They're almost white and look a bit "puffy."

I put 300 g of them in the Maggio at 155°C and they acted just like any other bean...for the first 9 minutes, or until the temperature was back up to about 165°C and then all of a sudden they took off. First crack sounded like a civil war and the amount of chaff was astonishing.

The temperature curve rose almost vertically and I never heard the end of first or beginning of second crack, but as they approached the flash point, I could see oil on them and the temperature was rising so fast that I was sure they would catch fire so I dumped them. They were very oily, but not all that dark and after cooling the oil was mostly reabsorbed into the beans and I would rate them Full City.

It was the strangest roast I've ever experienced. It's like the process became exothermic very early on, at about the time of first crack. I glanced at the fire extinguisher a couple of times.

I had my first cups yesterday and I am blown away (pun sort of unintentional). A kind of earthy chocolate in milk drinks, sweet and very full bodied. As espresso they make a very dark cup, reddish brown crema and an aroma like a spice drawer! As the cup cools down it goes from nutmeg and cinnamon to walnuts, coriander and mace, but with a full-coffee base, if that makes any sense. It's not like some spicy coffees that don't taste like coffee anymore, this is unmistakably coffee, but with all kinds of subtle spices added and what's more sweet and potent.

I don't think I will roast another batch right away as I think it best to keep this as a shocker, perhaps once a month or so. I would hate to get used to drinking it. I might grow tired of it, too. I served Karin a cappuccino this afternoon and after the first taste she looked into the cup and asked me if I had sweetened it. She liked it so much she asked for a second.

With the taste of spices and nuts this is really an interesting coffee. I suppose one has to have an open mind about it as it isn't like any of the clean tasting, fruity Arabicas we drink most of the time.
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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RE: A Windy Cup

Postby Gouezeri » Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:07 pm

Nice little write-up Bruce. I've always found Malabar a bit too earthy for me. I don't mind that quite so much in milk drinks (which I rarely drink), but it was a bit too intense in straight shots. I've not tried any for a while though, so I really should give them another chance.
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RE: A Windy Cup

Postby CakeBoy » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:00 pm

Very nice. The spice tones sound amazing :)
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RE: A Windy Cup

Postby lukas » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:09 am

Interesting writeup Bruce! Monsooned beans are quite dry and have low density (if it's possible to generalize that - I only had a small batch of greens a few years ago) and behave quite strange during the roast and always look lighter roasted then they really are. Tastewise, they're a real shocker and I still can't decide wether I like or simply hate them. Sooo different, and if unexpected can make you feel someone hit your face with his fist or something like it ;)
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RE: A Windy Cup

Postby icke » Wed May 04, 2011 7:32 am

i believe that the monsooned malabar is highly popular amongst german espresso drinkers. i have tried twice so far but the 1st time round i might actually have ended up with robusta (burned tire rubber best describes the result in the cup). the 2nd time round i got some from steve but found it rather uninspiring and a bit harsh too. so i'd be curious to get my hands on the same one that you have tried there. bruce, do you mind sharing your source or is it highly secret? ;)
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Re: RE: A Windy Cup

Postby bruceb » Wed May 04, 2011 8:03 am

icke wrote:i believe that the monsooned malabar is highly popular amongst german espresso drinkers. i have tried twice so far but the 1st time round i might actually have ended up with robusta (burned tire rubber best describes the result in the cup). the 2nd time round i got some from steve but found it rather uninspiring and a bit harsh too. so i'd be curious to get my hands on the same one that you have tried there. bruce, do you mind sharing your source or is it highly secret? ;)


No secrets when it comes to coffee sources. Mine was from Docklands.

As I said, roasting it is a bit of a trial-and-error thing as it doesn't really react like most other beans. You have to be on your toes the whole time as it suddenly takes off and can get way too dark quickly. Good luck. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

I must admit that I did get a bit tired of it after a week or so, but I drank an awful lot of it in that week. :shock: :D
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
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RE: Re: RE: A Windy Cup

Postby lukas » Thu May 05, 2011 6:26 am

I used to like Monsooned Malabar a lot. For a few weeks/months a few years ago - but every single time I smell it now (and it is distinctly smellable a kilometer against the wind!) I try to get as far away from it as possible. Something in me changed and I really can't stand the taste and smell of monsooned Malabar anymore ...
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Re: RE: Re: RE: A Windy Cup

Postby bruceb » Thu May 05, 2011 12:34 pm

lukas wrote:I used to like Monsooned Malabar a lot. For a few weeks/months a few years ago - but every single time I smell it now (and it is distinctly smellable a kilometer against the wind!) I try to get as far away from it as possible. Something in me changed and I really can't stand the taste and smell of monsooned Malabar anymore ...


Oooops! I'll have to make sure there isn't a north wind the next time I roast the next batch of MM! :oops: :lol:
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Re: RE: Re: RE: A Windy Cup

Postby GreenBean » Thu May 05, 2011 1:26 pm

bruceb wrote:
lukas wrote:I used to like Monsooned Malabar a lot. For a few weeks/months a few years ago - but every single time I smell it now (and it is distinctly smellable a kilometer against the wind!) I try to get as far away from it as possible. Something in me changed and I really can't stand the taste and smell of monsooned Malabar anymore ...


Oooops! I'll have to make sure there isn't a north wind the next time I roast the next batch of MM! :oops: :lol:

I, and I expect most people in the UK, would be grateful if you would also avoid roasting MM in southeasterly winds. :wink: :D
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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: A Windy Cup

Postby GeorgeW » Thu May 05, 2011 3:52 pm

This is my long-standing favourite bean and it's good to hear of it being more widely appreciated. It really is one of a kind and a bit of a "Marmite" re taste. Bruce is right when he says that it's important to catch it just at the right moment when roasting and again when grinding it grinds very fine and fluffy compared to other beans. I like to add it to more prosaic beans, Braz Deterra or Old Brown Java for example and find that around 30% adds an interesting lift to the brew.
I use it only in a Moka Pot just now and the combination works well.
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Postby daveyb » Sun May 08, 2011 1:21 pm

MM has always been one of my favourites, I tend to go for the lighter roast, on a GENE, thats 216 for about 14 m ins 30. I have taken it beyond that once and found the taste too strong for my palkate compared to the lighter roast.
I am going through my last 2 kilos at the moment and the second style I am roasting is the Indian Balamdi Dynamic. Very different but thats the beauty of roasting your own choice.
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Postby icke » Wed May 11, 2011 9:20 am

phew, what a surprise!!! that one tastes like none of the MMs that i had previously tried!!! indeed, the sweetness is a total surprise to me there.

i roasted it only two days ago but couldn't wait any longer so i tried it this morning. the first sip was mainly crema. usually that's quite ashy and a tad harsh but what hit the tongue here first was the sweetness... if i hadn't prepared it myself, i'd suspect a cheating barista - helping it along with a bit of sugar.
there's still some very light acidity in there but let's see how that develops while it keeps off-gasing for another few days.

so as an espresso i really quite like it for now.

joelle however hated it. she only drinks americanos. she pulled quite a face after the first sip. usually she is VERY forgiving, drinking pretty much everything i give her (she only drank instant when we met ;) ). but with the MM this morning she pulled that face and muttered something like 'yuk' (barely audible), trying not to insult my coffee. after trying a sip of her americano i indeed could see (taste rather) what she meant. gone is all the sweetness and it just tasted harsh, a tad bitter and rather watery...
not sure if something went wrong with how i pulled her shot but it was pulled right after i pulled mine in the very same way. i made her try my espresso. usually espresso is to dense for her but she could taste the imense sweetness in there too.

roasting was a bit different as expected. even though i had been warned, i almost missed 2nd crack. there's absolutely no pause between 1st and 2nd. and boy do these beans look ugly while being still 'green'...
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Postby Edward » Sat Jun 18, 2011 3:23 pm

I've never tried roasting Malabar, mainly because it's reputed to be so difficult. Never had a problem with Steve's stuff and found it to be a worthy contributor to several blends I enjoy, such as J Atkinsons Espresso Lusso.

There is a lot of body and depth to MM and to some that can be offputting. Sometimes I myself find it a bit much, but in such instances find pulling a lungo or perhaps a macchiato to be just the ticket.

My favourite Sunday morning pickmeup - two shot glasses - 17 gram malabar 30 second pour, 1 oz per glass. Topped up each with half an ounce of hot water.
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