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Topic: Monsooned St. Helena? (5 msgs / 149 lines)
1) From: JB Christy
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Mike,
So it was put on a ship on 3/23 and delivered to you on 5/29?
My understanding was that the whole concept of monsooned coffee came from the
fact that Europeans only ever tasted coffee from beans that had sat around in
the hold of a ship for months absorbing moisture, etc.  When they finally tasted
fresh coffee beans, the coffee was missing something they expected, so they
started leaving it out in the rain for a while to try to recapture they flavor
they'd grown accustomed to.
Obviously shipping methods have improved vastly in the intervening centuries.
Still, one wonders what happened to your St. Helena beans between 3/23 and 5/29.
How were/are the beans stored while on the ship?  How were they packaged when
you got them?  Is it even remotely possible that some of what you love in the
St. Helena beans is due to the handling after shipment?  I know you have alot of
experience with green beans fresh from the Kona farms, so you're in a much
better position to understand the effects of shipping practices than I.
Any thoughts?
--JB
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2) From: Timothy A Reed
On Fri, 31 May 2002 10:44:25 -0400 "JB Christy" 
writes:
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from the
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around in
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I believe the wooden hulls of the old schooners played a big part in
this.  The concept of the monsooned coffee came about at the same time as
metal ships.
-Tim  (happy, because he's graduating!)
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The road that leads to nowhere
The road that leads to you
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3) From: Brian Ray
^My understanding was that the whole concept of monsooned coffee came from 
the
fact that Europeans only ever tasted coffee from beans that had sat around 
in
the hold of a ship for months absorbing moisture, etc.  When they finally 
tasted
fresh coffee beans, the coffee was missing something they expected, so they
started leaving it out in the rain for a while to try to recapture they 
flavor
they'd grown accustomed to.^
JB - i've heard that story before, and it sounds suspiciously like a the 
story i've often heard about the supposed origins of india pale ale (the 
beer gained a distinctive flavor in shipping which the brits learned to 
love).  given the difficulties with ageing coffee properly even under 
controlled conditions (and the relative lack of general knowledge about 
monsooned malabar), i wonder if this is not simply one of those romantic but 
ultimately untrue legends.  anyone on the list have knowledge about this 
coffee's history?
brian
sadly finished with the vac pot of tawar (now if only i had the funds to buy 
a sylvia for work)
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4) From: Tom & Maria
<Snip>
This is true for Aged coffees from java and Sumatra - essentially 
everything arrived aged in the era of wind powered transport. I have 
never heard this was the case for Monsooned coffees but I can see how 
travel through humid seaswould have this effect. The problem is that 
monsooning of coffees has to occur with unbagged coffee -coffee that 
takes on moisture rapidly expands and would burst the jute bags 
fairly easily.
BTW: our supply of Saint Helena is being airfrieghted from S. Africa 
this week ... probably take 3 weeks to arrive here all told. 
Fortunately, I have the option of approving an arrival sample once 
the coffee comes into the US, and if it matches the pre-shipment 
sample I received a month ago, all will be well. But its very nice to 
have the option of rejecting a sample... I have had to do it a lot 
this year, actually.
Tom
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
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5) From: Dan Hall
Brian Ray wrote:
<Snip>
I can't speak to the monsooned coffee origin, but India pale ale is
something I do know about!
IPA, originally brewed by Hogdson in London in the late 1700s, did indeed
pick up some oak flavor due to being in casks in a ship's hold for the long
journey from England around the African horn to the English troops living in
India.  It's IPA for a couple of other reasons too.  One, it's more
alcoholic than regular pale ale, and two, it's more hoppy.  Both are for
very good reasons: they have preservative effects, and a pale ale recipe was
intentionally modified in such a way by Hogdson to help the beer survive the
long voyage.  The resulting beer was different than pale ale but the results
were thought to be an improvement.
IPA is more alcoholic than pale ale not only because it's made stronger, but
also because it's more "attentuated", the brewing term meaning it's more
fermented.  That's due to the rolling motion of the ship and the temperature
extremes both of which lent to more fermentation.  And it's more hoppy not
only because of the addition of more bittering hops, but also because it was
"dry hopped", a process where hop flowers are added to the fermented beer.
Dry hopping adds tons of hop aroma and flavor, but again, that long time
spent sloshing about in the casks added more bitterness too.
OBCoffee:  stout made with espresso in it is wonderful!
-Dan, BJCP Grand Master beer judge
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