At the Siberian Cat Café, we want to make your experience unique in every way, which is why we are so pleased to collaborate with Richard O’Neill, The Moussonneur.
If you go to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, three memories will be engraved in your mind forever: the incredible landscapes, the kindness of the locals, and the Moussonneur’s coffee. Like us, you won’t be able to drink anything else after! We are proud to announce that for your supreme pleasure, his coveted coffee is now served and available for purchase at our establishment in ½ pound and 1 pound bags.
The Café Moussonneur in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine is truly unique specialty coffee. It is known for its subtlety and exceptional flavours, its thick crema, its reduced acidity as well as its lightness. It is the only coffee in the world that is processed using seawater and saltwater winds and later dried in the sun. You can recognize it by its logo of an ocean wave leaping into a coffee cup.
Some history to highlight the incredible master bean roaster, barista and Moussonneur, Richard O’Neill, who processes green coffee beans using seawater!
In the 1700s, coffee exportation was done by sailing ships from Southwest India to England, Austria and Holland. The trip could last for 6 months. The coffee, in the ship’s hold, was inevitably affected by the moisture of the sea. Once it arrived in England, it was prized and was all the rage among the master roasters and coffee connoisseurs. This tradition was lost with the arrival of powerboats and the construction of the Suez Canal. Upon arriving in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Richard O’Neill was inspired by this forgotten tradition, by the salty air and the narrow islands in the heart of the Gulf. He recreated this technique in his own way in order to obtain the taste that was so coveted by the master roasters of the 1700s.
Since the summer of 2008, during his exploration phase, he took on the title Le Moussonneur. Taking advantage of the summer climate of the islands, of the seawater and the strong saltwater winds, he derives his own form of monsoon.
Le Moussonneur carefully selects and imports green coffee beans according to very precise criteria (harvest methods, harvest quality, bean uniformity, etc.), which he does several weeks before processing. The processing takes place in a location that is chosen based on precise criteria: natural location, between the sea and the dune, ideal levels of humidity and ocean spray, water quality and temperature. These are just some examples of elements that must be perfect.
The Moussonneur creates his own annual monsoon during the months of July and August by immerging the beans in the gulf seawater. The immersion can take several hours and is finished when the beans have swelled with the desired moisture content.
Once the beans have absorbed the desired level of seawater, they are laid out on lattice wooden tables, handmade by Le Moussonneur and his team. The beans are stirred regularly during their exposure to sun and strong winds. The process is finished once the beans have reached their desired dryness, which will allow them to be stored for a period of about a year. In case of rain, the tables are covered to protect the beans. Samples are taken regularly at each step throughout the process and analyzed in the lab to determine the evolution of the beans. Organoleptic evaluations are also done. The process requires constant supervision, day and night, as well as constant analysis.
Once the beans are dried, the final product is called Le Moussonné des Îles-de-la-Madeleine and is stored in the Moussonneur locations, waiting to be roasted. The beans have a flavour that is very distinctive from other beans because of the sodium it conserved from being dried in the sun. This sodium transforms its chemical properties during the roasting process as it blends with the natural coffee oils.
Le Moussonné des Îles-de-la-Madeleine is slightly less caffeinated and acidic. When made into an espresso, the crema is thick and creamy. You can distinguish floral notes, hazelnuts and a hint of chocolate.