Travel the World Café at Elizabethtown Public Library
Elizabethtown Coffee Company is the heart of the World Café program at Elizabethtown Public Library and helps to advance our mission. The vision of the World Café is to increase awareness of authors, cultures and realities from around the globe. We want everyone to be able to discover new places and different ideas that expand our thinking and our minds.
Each month the Library selects a different location. Sometimes its a region within the United States. It might be a coffee or tea growing country and it may even be a body of water that houses sea creatures and mythical beings. You can sign up to participate in this year-long program and complete your World Café passport for a year of exploration and a chance to win fun prizes.
September Features Malabar!
Where is Malabar?
The Malabar Coast runs along the south-western coastline of India; starting at the state of Goa and running south until Kanyakumari (aka Cape Comorin), the town at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. The eastern edge of the coast is the Western Ghats mountain range. The states of Karnataka and Kerala make up parts of Malabar with the latter being largely encompassed by Malabar.
Being situated along the coast, Malabar was open to early travelers from the West. Trading has taken place for millennia in this region; the Greeks and Romans, for example, particularly sought out pepper. Not only did goods move from and to the region but so did people. Migrants to the Malabar Coast led to the diversity of people in this region, particularly the state of Kerala. Jewish immigrants migrated in the 1st century CE and there is a local tradition that St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles, visited Kerala. This tradition is strong among the local Christians, who are called Mar Thoma or Thomas Christians.
Monsooned Malabar Coffee Beans
Malabar is one of the dampest regions in the country (some spots receive over 200 inches annually), which makes it an ideal region to produce the unique coffee, Monsooned Malabar. This coffee was created by accident during the early years of the British Raj (the period of British rule in India, which lasted from 1858-1947). When shipping raw coffee beans in wooden crates by ship from India to Europe, the beans were exposed to humidity, especially during monsoon season. This caused the beans to appear paler in color and effected their flavor when roasted and brewed. The image to the right has Monsooned Malabar coffee before roasting (on the right) compared to non-roasted Sumatra beans (on the left). Monsooned beans have less acidity, are full bodied, and have a creamy and earthy flavor.
Overtime Europeans grew accustomed to these beans, but with the advancements made in transportation methods, the beans were no longer exposed to excess humidity. The continuing demand for the beans led to the creation of the modern Monsooning process which exposes the beans to extra humidity before they are packaged and shipped. Monsooning the beans makes them fragile and more difficult to roast evenly. We take care of that for you by roasting Monsooned Malabar coffee here at the Library. We roast it at a medium level. When you come to visit, stop in our Coffee Company to try a freshly brewed cup or buy a bag to take and brew at home!
If you prefer a Malabar drink aside from coffee, we have you covered! Stop in to try our Malabar Ginger Lime Soda. This thirst-quenching beverage is typically enjoyed during the hot summer months. We add seltzer for an extra bubbly kick!
Coffee Themed Craft
Returning to the coffee theme, the craft this month is a coffee picture frame! Make sure to stop by the Youth Services desk on the 2nd floor to pick up a kit to make a small frame and decorate it with coffee beans. Then, why not make a picture to go in it? You could draw coffee, either as a drink or the plant, in the examples here or one of the many exotic and endemic animals found in Malabar; such as the Malabar Pied-Hornbill, Malabar Large Spotted Civet, Malabar Pit Viper, or Malabar Tree Nymph.
While you’re at the Library getting coffee or another delicious beverage, take time to look at the featured books for Malabar. There are a variety of options from travel books and historical overviews to cookbooks and a variety of novels. Highlighted here are three books for you to explore! Ancient India is an archaeological expedition which brings history to life through images, illustrations, and maps. Diwali, a book for all ages, is packed with information on the holiday including food, decorations, and activities. Tea: Legend, Life, and Livelihood of Inida takes you on a journey through the picturesque tea gardens of India which will make you want to enjoy a cup.
Recipe of the Month
When you are checking out your featured book(s) at the main desk, grab a recipe card to take your taste buds on a culinary excursion. For those who like seafood and spices, you’ll love this Malabar Fish Fry. This spicy treat is famous throughout the region, particularly in Kerala. We suggest trying it with red snapper, salmon, or shrimp.