Great Taste Awards 2020
We're delighted to receive Great Taste awards again for some of our coffees. We don't enter all of our coffees, we like to try a few different ones each year and only repeat coffees that we think are really special.
This year we had 2 Gold Stars for our PNG Sigri, Vernal Vibe, Ethiopian Deri Kocha, Shakisso and Kenyan Jungle Estate. 1 star for our Ethiopian Kochere. I hope you enjoy some of these as we add to our online list.
Kasia's video on using a Cafetiere/French Press
Watch this little video and learn how to use a Cafetiere/French Press
Nearly the end of april
Here we are in the middle of this pandemic with all of you. Really strange and surreal times! I do really hope everyone of you is keeping well and managing to keep some kind of normality in your life at the moment. Here at Monsoon I think we are pretty lucky! So far so good and we have some sunshine too!
Just before lockdown our biggest worry was how on earth do we keep roasting if one of us gets ill. How will we supply all the coffee shops/hotels etc? We knew there would be changes to come but we were slightly off piste! Within 2 weeks about 90% of our business had gone as all those businesses we were worried about supplying, had closed!
As I said, we feel very lucky, you see the other great thing for us is that we have always had a small webshop. We always intended trying to grow it but always seemed too busy with other stuff. Now we have time to try and grow it! All was going well until about a month ago. We were getting busier online, I was able to keep two full time staff members employed, happy days, then the postal service started to struggle!
Each day we have had more and more and more......non delivery enquiries. Those who know us know that normally when someone doesn't get their delivery it's a no questions asked new pack sent with our apologies. This is different though. Royal Mail have assured us that packs will get through, but with delays. They do update their site daily but there ar some serious back logs. Some customers tell me that their postal service is not affected, I don't think there are many places now that are unaffected. The link below is for updates. I speak to my account manager at Royal Mail on a regular basis but things are just not improving. Mainly not enough staff and too many people posting things!
I think if you get your coffee in a week you're doing well, most are about two weeks now.
Every few days we're changing how we do things here. We stopped anyone visiting the roastery and stopped markets before any government guidlines were issued. We decided we would send everything via Royal Mail, even local deliveries.
Now we're back to doing as many local deliveries as we can do ourselves and we have reinstated the collect from Monsoon button on our delivery options on the webshop. If you collect you won't be charged postage. However, you still cannot collect from the roastery but we have a collection point nearby for locals.
I have plastered all over the website that Royal Mail is not delivering on time. We still have 1st and 2nd class mailing options available but please be aware that you will have delays!
For those of you who want a quick, guaranteed delivery, take us up on our temporary offer for Special Next Day Delivery. If you buy 4 bags and pay 1st class post of £3.70 or 5 -8 bags at £5.57 we will upgrade you at our expense to Special Delivery. Remember you have to buy at least 4 bags though for Special otherwise we can't afford to upgrade you. Many of you are using this now and I thank you for that!
Thank you too from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have shown our little business.
Keep well, stay positive and hopefully some of you will be able to visit us again in the not too distant future.
Anne and the Monsoon Team
So excited that the boys have actually put something in writing that I'm copying here for you. The pics won't copy and Will is sending them to me tomorrow, so use your imagination when it refers to any pics!!!
Enjoy the read, I'm really impressed with Chris Howard and Will Howard
After 13-14 hours of travel (including plane change) we arrived at Bangalore airport, our wonderful hosts Akshay and Komal collected us, and about 7 hours later due to traffic, we arrived at the beautiful Mooleh Manay estate, we were absolutely wrecked, but the sight of where we were going to be staying for the next few days, and a cold beer, brought us back to life. The house, a classic colonial style, with a large, wrap around veranda, just exactly what you’d imagine in a tropical environment. The main house backs into the edge of deciduous/rainforest jungle, it’s hard to describe, but the sound is all encompassing, I’ve got no idea what the animals are that are making all these noises, but it’s hypnotic, and somehow soothing. A few beers and a chat around a bonfire on the edge of the jungle. Magic.
Day 1 – Late start, breakfast outside, incredible food, and the jungle chorus for company, what a start to our first day, had a tour of the coffee beds, where the coffee cherries are drying on the patios, the selective is dried on the lower patio, and the non-selective is dried on the higher patio. The beans in these beds are hand raked daily to ensure even drying and are covered with a breathable sheet at night to prevent dew on the beans. The photo of the coffee in the bags has been damaged by heavy, late rain, you can see the difference between the good coffee and the damaged coffee, in one hand, the good, even coffee, in the other, the ruined, uneven coffee. Sadly, this year, about 45% of the crop has been damaged so will be sold cheap, into the local market.
The part of the estate where the house is situated, is 850m above sea level, this part of the estate is mostly used to grow robusta, there are some wild liberica beans, and a small amount of wild arabica, and some wild robusta, I even got to try some wild chili, hot, hot, hot! This part of the estate backs onto the backwater of the Harangie river, which is a tributary of the Kaveri river, which is the life source of the state of Karnataka. The building overlooking the lake is a little temple.
We went to Kanbile estate which is run by the same family and on the way checked out the construction of the modern staff quarters. We went to the wet mill to start the process of an anaerobic fermentation, which is an experiment they are running, in the hopes of getting a coffee with the fruitiness of a natural, but the clean taste of a washed. They add the coffee cherries to a barrel of water, and add some yeast, and jaggery (unrefined sugar), to start the fermentation, it’s then kept airtight for around 7 days, before washing. Hopefully this works, and we can get access to some very special coffee in the future.
Got the bonfire going, had a few beers, sat around talking coffee, marvelling at the wonderful surroundings, and then time for dinner.