Malongo Nouvelle Calédonie Coffee
Beautifully complex coffee
Introduced in New Caledonia around 1875, pointed bourbon is floral, round, sweet, complex and without bitterness. Its leaves are small, its caffeine level is very low, as is its yield; what makes the rarity and the particularity of this vintage. The cultivation of these coffee trees, which are more susceptible to disease and endowed with very dense foliage making it difficult to pick, is proving to be very complex. But its taste quality rewards the efforts made to produce it.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
A type of Arabica coffee, the Malongo Nouvelle Calédonie (or New Caledonia) has a relatively low caffeine level. That doesn’t mean it’s not good coffee, though, because it certainly is. It’s smooth and silky, balanced and structured; complex, with persistent aromas when brewed. On the nose, it has woody, floral notes. And on the palate, it is round, sweet, floral, and zingy.
PREPARATION AND PAIRINGS
This is a great coffee to sip slowly during a relaxed breakfast. It’s not too strong that it will get you wired up, but just enough that it will wake you. The Malongo Nouvelle Calédonie is also great with chocolate mousse and chocolate cake; the zingy, floral notes of the coffee cut the richness of chocolate so well. And of course, donuts and croissants go with any type of coffee.
AN EXCEPTIONAL VINTAGE
Jean-Paul Belhomme’s epic began in 1997. While a pharmacist in Nouméa, he decided to take over the exploitation of his wife’s family estate, focusing on coffee, from the seeds of the one and only Bourbon Pointu plant. survivor. Three years later, his farm will have around 30,000 trees! Wet processing unit, creation of drying infrastructure on rack and under tarpaulin, batch labeling, traceability, roasting workshop… Mr. Belhomme works hard to make his coffee a grand cru.
But life on the island is not always rosy. The cost of labor, the low profitability of the variety, climatic hazards, invasions of cicadas but above all the rust of the coffee tree are the main obstacles it has to face. Today he is the last producer of pointed bourbon in New Caledonia, hoping to be able to pass on his domain and his knowledge to a producer as passionate and courageous as him.
In 2003, Jean-Pierre Blanc, visiting New Caledonia, showed an interest in this field, working very differently from other Caledonian productions more focused on robusta and massive production. Malongo quickly became the biggest export customer ahead of Japan and England.
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF COFFEE
Cafés Malongo was founded in 1934 in Nice, France. A small roasting house, it gained relative notoriety and success steadily through the years. But in 1962, Malongo attempted something that was considered daring at the time: vacuum-packed metal cans. The consumer market was not prepared for it, and was not ready to take a risk at its purchase. And so, sales steadily declined. It was in 1968, when Hugo Rombouts bought it out did it regain its footing, entering the hotel and restaurant market.
The 80s weren’t easy for Malongo, with the transfer of the factory to the Carros industrial zone. Coffee prices skyrocketed, but they did not want to follow suit with an increase. The launch of Pures Origines, Grande Réserve, and Suprêmo helped turn things around, and they opened their first tasting shops in Cannes and Nice. In 1992, a meeting between general manager, Jean-Pierre Blanc and the founder of fair trade, Padre van der Hoff, changed things yet again. Malongo has since invested in small producers and fair trade.
Store your coffee in an opaque, odor-free, airtight container in a dry, dark place at a cool room temperature. It’s best to consume coffee grounds within two weeks. Freshly roasted whole beans retain their freshness for up to one month.