Indian Monsoon Coffee Review (Blame The Cigars)

Coffee Beans!Talk about an unintended consequence. Ever since I’ve been smoking and reviewing cigars on my blog, I’ve started noticing crazy things in the food I eat and the drinks I down. Things like flavor. And I’m talking about flavors beyond “good” and “nasty.” I think I must have broken something. God, I hope this isn’t life-threatening. I have two full humidors of cigars to smoke. Some of them extremely desirable and controversial. (No, I’m not gonna tell you what I mean by that.)

This is kind of new to me, I spent my formative years training for the food Olympics. Food came between me and running around outside or playing video games. And my parents knew this. If I dawdled, they’d tell me things like “the sooner you finish your dinner, the sooner you can go play!” So I earned my nicknames of “Hoover” and “The Vacuum” and easily got in an extra half a childhood more than my more finicky sisters. My folks couldn’t have been happier. They still refer to me as the “easy” kid.

In much the same way speed-eating makes tasting food difficult, speed smoking is a liability when it comes to evaluating cigars. In my early cigar smoking days (before and during the 90′s boom), I’d suck down a hour long cigar in half an hour. Smoking that way is rough on the tongue and throat, and results in a very consistent smoke across all cigars. Tarry, charred and bitter. A rough flavor I would have called “cigar” a decade ago.

But I started slowing my puff-per-minute down once I got out of college and started smoking decent cigars in decent places with decent guys. (Sorry Shorty, your decency has been compromised for the sake of clever repetition. ;) ) That made it a more pleasant experience. And recently, I’ve slowed it down even more and have started really savoring the flavors. More than savor, I hunt for them. Kind of like the way silly folks with binoculars wander through the brush seeking out the Black-Throated Huet-Huet, Red-Footed Booby and Scaly-Throated Leaftosser. (Want more? You know you do. Go here and indulge your need for comical bird-name innuendo.)

I guess this focus on flavor has awakened my existent, but dormant taste buds. Because I’m tasting stuff everywhere now. And I’m afraid this means I’ll never enjoy Velveeta Cheese ever again.

This brings me to my Indian Monsoon Coffee. (I bought it last week at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market in Atlanta, in case you’re interested in picking some up and live in Atlanta. Funny, you can also get it through Amazon!) I bought it because the neat little charts indicated it was a full bodied coffee, but with extremely low levels of acid. In short, the perfect coffee to over consume! :D And when I tasted it, I immediately noticed that this coffee has an unusual flavor. While discussing it with some other bean-heads in the office, I realized I was talking about it like it was a cigar. That gave me an idea. Why not review it like I’d review a cigar?

So here goes.

Coffee Stats
Body: Medium to Full
Strength: Seems to have slightly less caffeine than average…
Acid: Very Low
Grind: Coarse
Maker: French Press
Price Per Pound: $5.69 (Farmers Market), $12.99 (Amazon)

Pre-Drink
I’ve noticed that the ground beans appear to be of mixed color, with some lighter colors than I expected to see in coffee reported to be full-bodied. The grounds have a rich smell, with a noticeable element of sweet caramel. (Also, I could totally smell the store in the grounds, which is both cool, and a little scary.)

The coffee produced a great thick layer of crema when brewed and I noticed that the coffee has a distinctly more reddish brown color than most of the coffee I’ve had before.

Flavor
The most striking thing about this coffee is that it’s smooth. Smooth as a stout on nitro. Actually smoother. If you normally like to put creamer or half and half in your coffee, taste this first. You’ll probably decide not to.

It definitely has an earthy full flavor, but the most interesting part of the flavor was the aftertaste. I detected dry straw or grain. My first instinct was to say it tastes like dry open desert areas of Eastern Oregon around Pendleton, but there’s only a couple of thousand people out there that would know what I mean. (And I don’t think any of them read my blog.)

It just occurred to me that the flavor kind of reminds me of Mate (or Yerba Mate), the somewhat popular coffee alternative I’ve tried in the past. (<conspiratorial whisper> It’s tea! </conspiratorial whisper>)

The Burn
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it to light. Not even with my butane torch. So, not applicable. :)

The Verdict
This is a great coffee if you’ve got a sensitive stomach due to ulcer or just drinking way too much coffee. It’s also a fun alternative to the more popular lines of coffee out there. I don’t think this is going to become my regular brew, but I will probably buy it from time to time. (Besides, I’m a coffee slut, I can’t commit to just one bean.) And you can’t argue with that price (from the Farmer’s Market), it’s well below anything you can buy in the supermarket or coffee shop.

In Summary
Like It: YES
Buy It Again: YES
Recommend It: YES (And I have to the people stop by my office to “chat”, i.e. steal some coffee.)

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