Oxford’s Coffee Culture

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Students spill the beans on where to find a first class brew…

The Natural Bread Company

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Providing a warm atmosphere with banterous staff, the Natural Bread Company is one of the best coffee spots in Oxford. It has the added bonus of being north of central town and a bit hidden so it is rarely inundated with tourists, unlike other Oxford cafés. As the name suggests, they also function primarily as an artisan bakery, and their sourdough cannot be praised enough; indeed, it forms the central element of their menu. Particular mention goes to the mushrooms on toast and the spinach and chickpea stew with sourdough. Good wifi coupled with a 10 per cent university student and staff discount rounds off the Natural Bread Company’s well-deserved reputation as one of the best study hotspots in Jericho. Charles Pidgeon

29, Little Clarendon Street; naturalbreadcompany.co.uk

The Missing Bean

Cameron oxfordUsually, you’re hard pressed to find good coffee in Oxford. But the Missing Bean continues to be one of the few places in town that manages to produce consistently deliciously roasted and aromatic coffee. For this reason alone it is exceptional, but it also attracts both students and locals for its relaxed atmosphere. When you go in, although only a thin pane of glass separates you from the bustle of Turl Street, deadlines disappear and you can sit, coffee in hand, completely relaxed. Cameron Finlay

14, Turl Street; themissingbean.co.uk

Gaf

Lael 2If  you long to frequent a café with a name that could be both a sound from an animal, some kind of hip abbreviation, or just a minimalist collection of letters, look no further than Gaf. Gaf is nestled in what locals call the ‘People’s Republic of East Oxford’, away from all those gothic buildings in the centre of town that stare down at you like disapproving tutors. Gaf is usually sprinkled with a diverse array of regulars: some quirky Oxford locals (with bright purple top-hats) and second year students who’ve chosen to swap college rooms for Cowley. Gaf is a dynamic place, functioning as a restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, as well as a chilled out coffee bar with an expansive pastry selection. Their design embraces that ironic use of old industrial materials, wood planks, metal chairs, which makes it feel like an appropriate place to tackle several slices of cake and an essay due the next day. I would highly recommend their cappuccinos and red velvet cupcakes. Lael Hines

39, Magdalen Road; gafoxford.co.uk

The Albion Beatnik

17580066_10208403240150289_1995803688_nThe Albion Beatnik, a small independent bookshop/café buried in Jericho, the heart of Morseland, only serves one sort of coffee. If the ‘smooth and mild-bodied’ cafetiere isn’t your cup of tea, however, there are over 60 other kinds of actual tea on offer (Honeybush, Russian Caravan, Panyong Gongu…) The owner, Dennis Harrison, can often be seen at the back of the shop sipping his favourite infusion, the Green Chai. Points for you if you drink it too. The Beatnik, Oxford’s last independent bookshop, is the city’s only real café society, brimming with academics, students and townsfolk, all game for some mid-afternoon badinage. Sit back with a good book and let the day dissolve into your cup of Egyptian Mint.  Jack Bradfield

34 Walton Street; albionbeatnik.co.uk

Photo credit: duncan via VisualHunt /  CC BY-NC