A roaster’s guide to Indian Mysore coffee

Pavel Corena
January 11, 2023
An image of an Indian coffee roaster loading green Indian coffee into a coffee roaster in an article on how to roast Indian Mysore coffee

It is believed coffee made its journey to India in the late 17th century, when a Sufi monk smuggled seven seeds out of Yemen and into Mysore (or Mysuru), India.

After planting them on the slopes of the Chandragiri Hills, the systematic cultivation of these seeds supposedly helped spread coffee to other regions, such as Wayanad, Shevaroys, and Nilgiris. 

Incredibly, less than a century ago, India had very little indigenous knowledge about how to cultivate coffee or roast it. 

Today, the country is known for producing some of the world’s most sought-after coffees and has established itself as a major player on the global stage. Notably, Indian Mysore coffees are the best-known and the most popular, often prized by many within the specialty sector.

Read on to find out how best to roast Indian Mysore coffee in order to unlock their sought-after flavours. 

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What are India’s best-known coffees?

During the 18th century, coffee cultivation in the country was taken over by British entrepreneurs. 

The British transformed forests in Southern India into large commercial coffee plantations. By the 19th century, coffee was an established commercial crop that was often exported to Europe via London. 

Raw coffee beans were often packed into the holds of wooden ships and undertook a  six-month journey across the sea. 

The beans were exposed to constant humidity and salty air during shipping, which ultimately turned them white, reduced the acidity and seemingly increased the body of the coffee. 

Europeans found the more mellow flavour highly appealing. However, the modernisation of international transport shortened shipping times for coffee and the beans were shipped in more robust steel containers. 

This deprived the beans of prolonged exposure to high humidity and ultimately robbed them of their unique flavour. 

To cater to European demand, Indian coffee farmers duplicated the moist conditions by exposing the beans to the Indian monsoons – resulting in India’s famous Monsoon Malabar coffee

Indian Mysore coffee is grown in the state of Karnakata, which currently accounts for around 71% of the country’s coffee production

Mysore coffees, also known as Mysore Nuggets or Mystore Straight, also get their unique flavours from being exposed to monsoon winds and rain. 

However, as in the case of Malabar coffees, this exposure is not purposely carried out to such an extreme. 

An Indian man pours coffee in India in an article on how to roast Indian Mysore coffees

Indian Mysore coffee: A flavour profile

The flavour profiles of Indian coffees can be as varied as the climatic conditions and terroir of each growing region. 

A typical Indian profile tends to be one dominated by full-bodied and earthy tones with notes of tobacco and spice against a moderate sweetness. 

Important to note is coffee in India is grown under heavy shade and often alongside various fauna and spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. 

It is believed this diverse environment and the mix of vegetation help prevent soil erosion and aid the forest’s ecosystem.

Shade-grown coffee is considered the traditional method of growing coffee, as continuous direct sunlight can damage many varieties.

Tree canopies act as a natural filter by lowering the intensity of the sunlight. Additionally, it helps keep the soil at optimum moisture and nitrogen levels, as the leaves fall below and decompose into mulch.

Furthermore, canopies create a natural habitat for a variety of birds, which eat many of the insects that may damage the coffee plants. This biodiversity helps create a sustainable method of farming, as little to no chemicals are used.

The cultivation techniques in India, coupled with the weather, may contribute to the coffee’s unique flavour profile. 

Indian Mysore coffees often boast a medium acidity with nutty and spicy flavours that include cardamom, pepper, and a hint of cedar. These coffees are often full-bodied, rich, and slightly mellow, with an intense aroma. 

Roasting Indian Mysore coffees

It is often during the roasting process that the cup’s flavour profile is defined. 

Roasters are able to manipulate several variables to highlight certain tasting notes and give character to a coffee. 

Indian Mysore coffees have unique characteristics with which roasters can play with and develop in order to appeal to several consumers. 

When lightly roasted, Indian Mysore coffees tend to maintain their original flavours and boast slightly spicy notes. However, light roasts may be more acidic as the beans have very little caramelisation. 

As a result, many recommend Indian Mysore coffees are roasted a bit darker. Too light and the brightness will dominate, as the boldness in the cup will lack the time needed to develop.

As a roaster, having a deep understanding of the coffee that you work with, as well as investing in high-quality packaging, can help guarantee the best experience for your customers. 

When it comes to roasting Indian Mysore coffees, roasters will want to ensure the flavours are consistent and perfectly preserved through to the last cup.

An image of sustianable coffee packaging kraft paper coffee bags used to package Indian Mysore coffee in an article on how to roast Indian Mysore coffees

MTPak Coffee offers roasters and coffee shops a range of coffee packaging options made from renewable resources. 

Our line of coffee boxes is made using 100% recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made from kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining

More so, both our sustainable coffee bags and coffee mailer boxes can be fully customised to reflect your brand or provide customers with details about your Indian Mysore coffees. 

Customers can add custom-printed sleeves to our coffee mailer boxes and coffee bags, attach stickers, print QR codes, or insert labels and cards inside to enhance the experience for each and every customer.

Due to our investment in innovative and eco-friendly digital printing techniques, MTPak Coffee offers our clients a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time. 

Compared to conventional printing, eco-friendly digital printing methods consume less energy and resources thanks to reduced setup costs.

We also offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.

To learn more about customising sustainable coffee packaging, contact our team.

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