Monsooned Malabar is my current favorite coffee. You can buy the green beans from Sweet Marias (then roast your own, which is both much cheaper and better quality than store-bought.)
Monsooned coffees are stored in special warehouses until the Monsoon season comes around. The sides of the structure are opened and moist monsoon winds circulate around the coffee making it swell in size and take on a mellowed but aggressive, musty flavor. The monsooning process takes around 12 to 16 months of duration, where in the beans swell to twice their original size and turn into pale golden color.
While a good Monsooned coffee should be pungent, aggressive and almost musty, these should be clean flavors: nobody wants coffee to taste like mold! The Elephant is exactly that, which means it is great for espresso blending.
Sweet Maria’s carries dozens of coffees, all meticulously reviewed and graded. We use the Fresh Roast 8 to roast the beans, it’s $75 and works fine for two people. Given that green beans are $5-6 a pound, it quickly pays for itself. Plus, fresh-roasted beans are way better than anything you can buy in a store. Another of my favorites is the Ethiopia Kochere District Yirgacheffe.
The photo shows the Fresh Roast 8, with the Ethiopian on the left and the Monsooned on the right. Both are 5 lb. bags. Note how much larger and lighter the Monsooned beans are. This is due to its unique processing which makes the beans swell.