I was reading along on some other coffee blog and got totally stumped by something incomprehensible in Coffee Expert Language. Since I hate feeling stupid, I went to the Cafe na Teia Coffee Glossary and spent some time eddicating myself on coffee terminology. But there in the list with earthy, and bright, peaberry and doppio, was Monsooned Coffee. Coffee that is deliberately exposed to monsoon winds in open warehouse to increase body and reduce acidity. Stormy coffee.
Huh. I guess my experience of types of coffee has been pretty narrow. Time to expand my horizons. But ... isn't there some danger of losing your beans? I mean, literally speaking, if you leave the doors open in a storm of high winds, wouldn't that be a problem? I had to look up "monsoon" - I mean, we get a weather pattern here that we call our "monsoon season", but compared to monsoons in India and hurricanes in Florida, we're truly whining about teacup-sized tempests - and it seems to be pretty synonymous with "hurricane". That's some pretty big stormage.
I assume the first "monsooning" was an accident, as with most of our culinary discoveries. According to the Coffee Board of India:
The "Monsooning" of coffee first happened quite by accident in the deep of sailing ships - a shipload of coffee bound for Europe acquired a mellow yet unique taste en route, with the coffee beans 'swelling' due to the moisture in the air. A new kind of coffee was born - Monsooned Coffee.
I don't know about mellow and swelling and body and all that, but I found two studies that seem to indicate that monsooned coffee may not be too healthy. I think. Cripes, maybe somebody else can read these two articles and translate for me.
* Microfloral contamination and hydrolytic enzyme differences between monsooned and non-monsooned coffees
CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that speciality monsooned coffee has markedly different microbial and physiological characteristics from normally produced green coffees. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Monsooned coffee may have a higher contamination with spoilage moulds, especially mycotoxigenic species.
So, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Just tell me that. I don't speak scient-ese, and I can only eddicate this old brain so far. I don't mean to be overly squeamish here. I know we eat lots of things that are basically mold, or in various states of decay. Stuff that if we stopped to think about we probably wouldn't ever eat again. So maybe a little mould in the coffee isn't a bad thing?