Chris Robshaw

A new field of play

Last week Chris Robshaw, England’s rugby captain and Harlequins player, entered another competitive world – the hospitality industry. Now Chris will be catering to a different audience that will judge him by the quality of roasted beans and vintage of wine rather than how he performs on a rugby pitch with the opening of his new coffee shop and wine bar, Black White Red, in Winchester. Joining him as a partner in this venture is former Hampshire cricketer, Kevin Latouf. EP tackled the Harlequins player with some questions on his new project.

What kick-started the idea of a coffee shop and wine bar?

Kevin always thought there were many parallels between coffee and wine, such as the way they are grown, the care the producers take in crafting their product, the climates and terrain. We have also found that generally people who like nice wine enjoy quality coffee too. We are hoping to explore this link further with Black White Red, using innovative concepts, such as pairing wines and coffees that have similar flavour profiles. For example, we’ve found that New World Pinot Noirs contain flavours of strawberry and red cherries that are very similar to some of the red fruit flavours that we have found in Yirgacheffe coffees from Ethiopia. Likewise something a bit darker like a Sumatran Manheling has very similar flavour characteristics to the dark and robust reds from Madiran. We are keen to explore the idea that if you like these flavours in your wine then perhaps you’ll like the same flavours in your coffee. Not only will we match wine with food, but also coffee with food.

How did the partnership with Kevin Latouf arise?

Kevin and I have been best friends since we were 13 and both went to Millfield School. We also both share a passion for great wine and quality coffee. When Kevin opened Josie’s a few years back – his café restaurant and deli in Bishops Waltham – I fell in love with the place. It’s really relaxed and cool, yet the food and drinks are of a very high quality. Josie’s has been very successful and so I said to Kevin let’s see if we can do something together and take this concept to the next stage.

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Why open in Winchester?

We felt that Winchester had the perfect target market for what we were looking to do. It also helps that Kevin is from the area.

How much time will you be spending on the business?

I will be at Black White Red at least once a week, but I am constantly involved in moving the business forward and ensuring it is a successful venture.

Are Kevin or yourself coffee or wine connoisseurs?

Kevin worked for the Sunday Times Wine club and Laithwaites as a wine advisor and he has also owned a coffee shop in Bishops Waltham, Hampshire for a couple of years now, so his knowledge of wine and coffee is very commendable.

I have a keen interest in coffee and wine; I am just about to enrol in the Intermediate WSET course to learn more. I am always involved in the cupping of any new coffees that come into Black White Red.

Anything we should look out for in particular?

We have a beast that changes daily on the wall of the back bar that everyone needs to look out for in the shop! We also have a cold drip coffee, the only one of its kind outside London, which takes 24 hours to brew and is served over ice.

For more information on all of the initiatives run by EP or to get (more) involved with the community, please contact Nicole Thompson

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