Why is Monsooned Malabar odd but loved it so much?
Monsooned Malabar, so loved but yet so odd!
Since I've been involved in coffee, I have noticed only a few coffees that have broken the mould and disregarded the conventions of what good coffee 'is meant to be'. Monsooned Malabar is a prime example of one of these coffees. It doesn’t fit the conventional paradigm of what a good coffee is supposed to be and it actually challenges what we define as good.
Coffee roasters, and I might go out on a limb and say all coffee roasters, do not consider Monsooned Malabar to be good. The attributes that it possesses of strong earthiness, spicy tones, its lack of acidity and its particular penchant for tipping during the roasting process to not chime well with 'specialty' roasters. I have heard this coffee grouped together under the term 'evil aged coffees' with other coffees like Old Brown Java.
So why do people like it?
I've heard Monsooned Malabar described as a marmite coffee. "You either love it or you hate it" as the popular advertising campaign from the early 2000s successfully proclaimed. And there may be some truth in that exact taste profile example too. I have heard people describe it as marmite on the cupping table.
Could this be a coincidence? Who knows? What we do know are there are some very passionate coffee drinkers who proclaim that this is their favourite coffee of all time. Some of these coffee drinkers are educated on coffee flavour. They know and understand the flavour profiles that should be prized and yet they still find themselves almost apologetically drawn to Monsoon Malabar.
Is it its predictability?
It is certainly predictable, that’s for sure. You know what you are going to get with Monsoon Malabar, and it is rare that it fails to deliver what it promises. It almost doesn’t matter who roasts it, what country you are in or what type of roaster it is roasted in. It still provides those earthy, spicy flavours with the thick texture and full body. Just what the proponents of this coffee are striving for and have fallen in love with.
Is it a counterculture thing?
There is a certain amount of this, I think. It is certainly not perceived as socially acceptable in the coffee world to like Monsooned Malabar. People will look down their nose at you in certain spheres.
Does that mean that more people will like it or feel more strongly about it? Undoubtable. If you perceive something to be good and someone insults you by saying that you are wrong, it does have the effect of making you think 'screw you' and to double down and protect your position.
Is it the Streisand effect?
The 'Streisand effect' is a fairly new term which relates to the inverse reaction to the intended one occurring. It is used normally in reference to the banning or silencing of ideas on the internet. The consequence of which is that then receive much more viewing purely because of the fact that they have been banned.
I think this does play a role too. I know many coffee roasters reluctantly sell Monsoon Malabar and don't actively promote that they do for fear they will be tarred as 'not a specialty roaster'. They will actively denigrate it while continuing to sell it to people who want it.
If you want to have a giggle and see the Streisand effect in full force, I would recommend the Father Ted episode 'The Passion of Saint Tibulus'. Ted and Dougal are sent to protest against a particularly blasphemous film called 'The Passion of Saint Tibulus' and inadvertently make it the most successful film in craggy island history ‘Even overtaking Jurassic Park'.
Is it that people just like that flavour?
I think of all my argument this is the most plausible. Quite a lot of people just like earthy, spicy and full bodied flavours in their coffee. They may not fit the convention but that really doesn’t matter, they just like it.
So there you have it. Some people just like Monsooned Malabar. You will not change their minds. Get over it and sell it to them with as much love and care as you do with any other coffee.
If you would like to know more about our Monsooned Malabar then you can find more information about how the processing effects flavour, more bout its history etc.
Pick up a bag! You might hate it..... or you might find that it is your favourite coffee of all time. Either way you'll be caffeinated. If you hate it then remember the old adage, enough milk and sugar will eventually make your coffee taste nice.
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