Banbury area café serves up unique camel cappuccinos

The Monkey Bean café near Banbury has brought a touch of exotica to its menu by adding camel milk as an alternative to cow’s milk.

By Helen Dubber
Friday, 7th January 2022, 1:21 pm
Monkey Bean Cafe owner Anna Pearce on the camel with Joseph and Rebecca Fossett stood either side of her. (photo by Helen Dubber)
Monkey Bean Cafe owner Anna Pearce on the camel with Joseph and Rebecca Fossett stood either side of her. (photo by Helen Dubber)

The product has been used to make several hot drinks including cappuccinos, lattes and hot chocolates and has been a great success with customers.

The Monkey Bean café is located at Sugarswell Business Park off Sugarswell Lane in Shenington. For more informaiton about the cafe see its website here: https://www.monkeybeancoffee.com/Anna Pearce and Tom Coleman, the owners of the Monkey Bean café based in Shenington, came upon the idea after discussions with two of her regular customers.

Idlicote couple, Joseph and Rebecca Fossett set up the UK’s first camel milk dairy in April this year.

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The Monkey Bean café near Banbury has brought a touch of exotica to its menu by adding camel milk as an alternative to cow’s milk. (photo by Helen Dubber)

After 20 years of making a living from camel-racing, camel trekking, TV and film work, the couple turned their attention to farming the animals due to high demand from members of the public.

Joseph said: “People would contact us on a weekly basis asking if we sold camel milk.

“They would tell us about all of these incredible health benefits they believe the milk to have, which led to us considering the idea of producing it.

“We discussed the idea for a while but never got round to it, so when lockdown hit, and our camels weren’t able to race or trek, we thought it would be the ideal opportunity to begin.”

The Monkey Bean café near Banbury has brought a touch of exotica to its menu by adding camel milk as an alternative to cow’s milk. (photo by Helen Dubber)

Having grown up working in a circus, training lions, elephants and tigers, Joseph turned his attention to keeping camels in Warwickshire.

The couple sell their milk for £20 per litre, which is over 60 times the average farm gate price for cow’s milk in the UK at 32.5p.

This is partly due to the fact that camels only produce 2-3 litres of milk a day, compared to dairy cows which generate up to 60.

Rebecca said: “You can import camel milk from other countries, but you’re buying a product that is already frozen or broken down into a powder form.

“Our camel milk is the only produce in the country which is completely raw and straight from the camel, which enables it to maintain all of its vitamins and goodness.”

Just eight months into their camel farming journey, Joseph and Rebecca have also started selling camel urine for £30 per litre, which is believed to have similar health benefits to those of camel milk.

When Anna heard about their produce, she was keen to offer camel milk as an option for her customers.

She said: “Joseph and Rebecca are regulars at the café, and over the past year or so they have brought the camels up here as a way of promoting their trekking business.

“When they told me they were going to start producing camel milk, I thought it could be a good addition to the menu, so we gave it a go as a one-off.

“The camel milk proved popular with customers and we had quite a lot of people come in specifically asking for it, so we decided to start serving it on a more regular basis.”

The cow’s milk alternative is often described as having a sweet, slightly salty and creamy taste.

Anna added: “You get this definite split between people that are adamant they are not going to try it, and those who are up for tasting something a little different.

“I was initially quite reluctant to try it, but it's actually really nice.”