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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9 Comments

  1. stinkie said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Nice review, I have never been a coffee drinker until about 6-7 months ago and have found myself going in and out of coffee moods. I look forward to seeing more reviews since I’m still working on trying to pick out what flavors are what.

  2. Brian said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:10 am

    Hi stinkie,

    Thanks! I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing more of them as I drink my way through the stock of the farmer’s market. (And they have probably 2 dozen to choose from!)

    One thing I’d advise is going to IKEA (if there is one nearby) and picking up their french press. It’s just as good as the name brand, and is less than half the price. Once you have it, try all your coffees again using it. I think you’ll be surprised how much richer and more interesting they are! (Couldn’t find a listing for it on the IKEA website, but it’s on Coffee Geek here.)

  3. danariemer said,

    June 1, 2007 at 11:42 am

    My decency will NEVER be compromised. I’m a very decent person. Alliteration be damned!

  4. Brian said,

    June 1, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Not even for the blog equivalent of the triple word score? I’m prepared to pay you handsomely for your silence… In cigars! :)

  5. stuart said,

    June 5, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Haha, it’s so strange because i was looking through you’re blog posts and i see “indian monsoon”-the coffee i’ve recently started drinking! Great coffee, so smooth, i love it, and have been drinking it with my cigars lately (try rocky patel sun grown if you haven’t, ha). Oh, and about the part on the Eastern Oregon taste, don’t feel so left out, i’m from Eugene! and know exactly what you’re talking about from traveling out there sometimes…sadly enough, i no longer live in Oregon. Keep up the good posts.

  6. Brian said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Hi stuart,

    Thanks! Talk about a lot of coincidences. Both from Oregon, but neither of us live there anymore. Both drinking the same coffee and both a fan of the sun grown cigars! Must have been something in that Oregon water!

    You know, I’ve never tried the Rocky Patel Sun Grown. It’s on the list. *Sigh* Never enough time to smoke all the cigars or write all the posts you’d like to.

  7. Adam Luebke said,

    June 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Perhaps reviewing coffee in a cigar-reviewing template invokes a greater excitement due to its novelty–basically to say I’m quite interested in trying Indian Monsoon coffee after your review. Coffee is a medallion.

  8. john patton said,

    December 11, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Picked some up at DeKalb yesterday. I think I liked the price. Review is correct, smooth as hell with a slightly nutty taste. Watch the price go up.

  9. Terri said,

    June 15, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I bought the Indian Mala Monsoon coffee at the same market in Decatur about a month ago and googled it this morning and found your site(very interesting and looking forward to seeking thru it) I have been buying coffee there for many years now and bought this one because of the low acid level. I was surprised of the color of the beans when I brewed my first pot. I am a coffee junkie and really like a buzz! I was dissapointed that no buzz produced. I even put espresso in with the grounds(i should be spanked for that)and got the desired buzz. I am drinking a cup of the stuff right now and enjoying it for what is is naturally. I am even enjoying the smell of the market in it. I dont wash my hair for days after a visit there because I love it. Thanks for your random thoughts site!


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