What’s brewing around Auroville? The aroma of roasted coffee is all around, even we can hear the crack of the beans as they leave the drum to fall into the cooling rack. We are sitting by the road, at Marc’s cafe – Roast & Taste in Kuilapalayam. as small village in South India, near the international township called Auroville. Is 10 o’ clock and the café is packed, lucky we are to find a table for just the two of us. The waitress comes and hands over the menu card, she is very pretty and looks like she comes from the local village. As we scan the menu, we are surprised to find such a variety of coffees and brewing methods. Did you know that…. Auroville was founded in1968, by a French lady called Mirra Alfasa. She was the companion of an Indian philosopher known as Sri Aurobindo. Auroville aims at becoming a city where a concrete human unity can be achieve, a society that is organised by a ” divine Anarchy ” , a sort of human lab for evolution. No, I did not have any idea, but sounds rather a place to explore. Isn’t it? What hall we order ? It is hard to decide, finally we settle for a single estate organic honey arabica brewed for 18 hours in a Hario cold drip and a Arabica cherry AA Moonsoned Malabar brewed in a Ascaso espresso machine, to pair the treat we ordered a carrot cake glazed with cream cheese and topped with walnut baked at the forest bakery named Tamarind and a raw cacao brownie, made a the cafe itself with Indian organic cacao beans. As we wait we sort of melt into the ambience, observing the clients drinking their coffees and enjoying the well assorted continental breakfast. The coffee has come and the aroma of the espresso is rather different, difficult to describe, certainly very pleasant and intriguing. The first sip, mostly crema infuses my palate with a creamy smooth coffee flavour with distinctive caramel and sweet cinnamon tones, the acidity is very mellow. The body is smooth and round. The cold drip is served in a wine glass with a lemon wedge and 2 ice cubes, it is really chilled and very refreshing, with no hash bitterness and great taste persistency. The paring with the carrot cake and the cacao brownie too have proven to be a winner The carrot cake was moist, wholesome, perfectly spiced with nutmeg. The cacao brownie was chilled, very rich cacao taste, I could feel some small nibs, which was a pleasant surprise. Next time we will try the Turkish coffee and the Aeropress, with the almond biscotti and the oat crunchies. We continue our discovery around Auroville and Pondicherry fully charged and with a great sense that we are in a uplifting zone. What our brewing experience will bring us next time?
Who discovered caffeine?
It was a mystery for many centuries, perhaps millennia; what coffee has that helps to combat sleepiness, be awake and alert and give us energy?
From the Sufi monasteries in Yemen to the busy European cafes , no one knew the magical element that made coffee the most popular drink amongst philosophers, artists, writers, traders and bohemians.
Would it not be a coincidence that a poet, great thinker, writer, statesman and coffee drinker was the man who out of curiosity ask a young chemist to find out the mystery.
In was on 1819, when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe invited Ferdinand Runge, a young a promising chemist to visit him at his office.
Ferdinand was alredy well known for his experiments with Belladona and its pupil dilatation effects on cats.
Goethe, impressed by Runge’s talent, opened his desk’s drawer and took a little box containing “arabian beans” send to him by a Greek friend, then asked categorically, Dear Ferdinand find out for me “the secret of coffee”.
After a month, Runge came to visit Goethe with the good news….. he managed to isolate the “Kaffebase” molecule, known today as caffeine.
Mankind was determined to crack the coffee code, Interestingly enough, through a Swedish chemist’s journal documented in 1921, the discovery of caffeine was by 3 French chemists, each of them separetly, none of them knew about Runge’s findings!
Dear Ferdinand, please find for me the “secret of coffee”. Sir, give a month and I will crack the “coffee code” .
Coffee Ideas went to Mangalore – Karnataka to visit Aspinwall, and witness the only company who proceses Indian Monsooned Malabar Coffee. They very kind with us and even allowed us to film.
You can taste this amazing vintage coffee, Marc’s coffee has 2 options: 100 % arabica AA or Malabar Blues Blend ( Arabica and Robusta) . online orders: http://www.auroville.com/ http://www.cuppalove.com
Monsooned Malabar is a variety of dry processed coffee beans. The harvested and processed beans are exposed to the monsoon winds for a period of about three to four months, causing the beans to swell and lose the original acidity, resulting in a sweet and syrupy brew. The coffee is unique to the Malabar Coast of Karnataka and Kerala and has protected status under the Geographic of Goods Act. The name Monsooned Malabar is derived from exposure to the monsoon winds of the Malabar coast.
The process goes as it follows
1-The whole crop cherry coffee are selected and sun-dried in expansive barbecues.
2-The dried beans are cured and sorted into ‘AA’ and ‘A’ grades, after which, they are stored in warehouses till the onset of monsoon.
3-From June through September, the selected beans are exposed to moisture-laden monsoon winds in well-ventilated warehouses (12 – 16 weeks time).
4-The monsooning process involves careful handling, repeated spreading, raking and turning around in regular intervals.
5-The beans absorb moisture and get significantly large, turning into pale golden in colour.
6-Further micro-sorting is done to separate fully monsooned beans, which are then quality tasted and approved by the internationally acclaimed Coffee Lab, Bangalore.
7-The world gets to taste the finest monsooned coffees. Absolutely pure and mellow to the core.
The arrival of the British in the seventeenth century and the influx of settlers saw the adjoining hilly forests of the Western mountain ranges turn into coffee plantations – the nearby port town becoming the logistics hub. Thus, while the forests of Coorg, Chikmaglur and Hassan became proud plantations of coffee, Mangalore became the two-way conduit, ensuring supplies to the plantations as well as export of the finished produce. Coffee curing became a major activity of the city.
during the months that the beans were transported by sea from India to Europe, the humidity and the sea winds combined to cause the coffee to ripen from the fresh green to a more aged pale yellow.
When transportation was modernised, the length of this journey was dramatically reduced and the beans were much better protected from the fierce elements. However, the Europeans noticed that the coffee beans now arriving in their ports lacked the depth and character of the coffee beans received in days gone by.[
It was determined that in the past the coffee beans had been transformed by exposure to the sea air and monsoon winds and rain. An alternative process was implemented to replicate these conditions, so that these incredible coffee beans could be enjoyed once again.