Our Hand-Roasted Coffee from Monsoon Estate Warwickshire
We love working with suppliers who make fantastic products and ingredients for our pub. It goes a long way when you use quality ingredients and that goes for both our food and drink that make up our menus.
We like to take this a little further though and we take time to research local suppliers that we can work with in and around Warwickshire. It’s really important to us to support the local economy and minimise food and drink miles where possible.
It’s also really important to us that we work with suppliers who share similar values to us and that they are equally passionate and knowledgeable about their products so that we can serve the very best at the Virgins & Castle.
Making sure we have a great cup of coffee
One of the suppliers that we’re really proud to work with is Monsoon Estate Coffee. If there’s one thing we wanted to make sure we got right to start our mornings it was to have a great cup of coffee!
We caught up with Chris Howard at Monsoon Estate Coffee who gave us a behind the scenes on their business and some great insight into the world of coffee.
Chris and his wife Anne run their family business from Alscot Estate about 3 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon. For Chris it’s all about the product and focus on their customers and the experience of drinking a quality coffee.
Our coffee is a craft
I’d describe Monsoon Estate Coffee as a craft product, much like a craft ale or bakery. Our customers are those who really enjoy great bread, cheeses, well made food and drink that has provenance and a story to tell.
We have an online business and our roastery is in the grounds of a beautiful country estate that people can come and visit, enjoy a cup of coffee and buy our products to take home. We also sell coffee machines and we run training and experience days so people can really immerse themselves in the world of coffee. I love it, there’s so much to making a great blend and it’s something I find fascinating.
The smell of the roastery…
Andy said that when the team from the Virgins & Castle visited for the barista training you could smell the roastery as soon as you made your way up the drive!
As well as supplying coffee to the Virgins & Castle, we sell to around 200 other businesses around the country including pubs, restaurants and hotels. We deliver to places like London, Cornwall, Leeds, Derby and of course to many businesses around Warwickshire.
Drinking coffee is an experience
We started 10 years ago and I really wanted a business that was authentic and captures the essence of what coffee is about. I want our customers to have an emotional attachment to drinking their favourite blend and something that is a little more than just having a coffee.
As an 18 year old I remember having my own coffee machine at home and my parents probably thought I was nuts! It was just something I really enjoyed and without me realising was the start of what would become my passion and my career.
It was probably a some years later when I hitch-hiked around Europe that I really fell in love with coffee. Making my way around the different countries with their different cultures and street-side cafes made me appreciate the variety that was out there.
Making a coffee we really liked
We spent 19 years in Australia and Will, our son was born out there as I worked in property and my wife Anne was a nurse. We then moved back to the UK and we just struggled to find a nice coffee from the shops that we liked, so just for fun we thought we’d try and make some ourselves.
I remember we went out to Turkey and bought first machine and totally ruined the kitchen at home, it wasn’t a good start! But we persevered and started looking into coffee from a consumer perspective. We started making great coffee that we enjoyed ourselves and thought others might like it too.
So one day a friend of ours asked us to make some for a charity event they were organising and we got such amazing feedback that it kick-started us to start taking it a bit more seriously and see if we could make a go of making coffee as a business.
We really enjoyed the process and went and did coffee roasting courses in Turkey, Germany and U.S. We then found that we had sussed it and things came together. We stuck to the principle of roasting to a roast we like and not to follow trends. Its the same in micro brewers - trends are interesting, but great quality products can’t be beaten.
Now we find ourselves here today after arriving on the estate in 2012 and we love what we do. I think coffee is a very personal taste. I think it’s always good to try different flavours though as sometimes you can stumble on a blend that becomes your new love.
Travelling the world with great coffee growers
Coffee is an agricultural product and we’re always open to try new regions and taste it. For coffee to grow well there needs to be high rain fall, sunshine and the right temperature. The plants need a temperate climate and so we can’t successfully grow coffee beans in the UK. The closest country to us would probably be Ethiopia. We also source from South America and a new region that produces a nice coffee is Myanmar.
Thankfully you don’t have to go that far to enjoy a cup a great coffee, especially now that we have some great blends available at the Virgins & Castle in Kenilworth!
We have a great selection of coffee available at the Virgins & Castle including classic Americano, Cappuccino, Flat White, Latte, Espresso as well as Liquor Coffees. Our team have been trained by Monsoon Estate to make the perfect cup and we also have oat milk available as a dairy free alternative which we don't charge extra for. Check out menus for more details