Quarter Horse roasts its own coffee at its newly opened second location in Birmingham, and several varieties were on offer when I visited the original Oxford cafe on Saturday. It's cosy inside — even on a bright, sunny day — with long wooden tables and exposed-brick walls. I was impressed with the breadth of the coffee menu: as well as the usual espresso drinks, they serve an espresso flight, batch- and hand-brewed filter coffee and a selection of iced coffees, including cold brew.
I selected an Ethiopian Sidamo coffee brewed in an Aeropress (£3.50) and sat down to read and to people-watch. It was pleasing, although not too surprising, to see a constant stream of customers in such a nice cafe, from local DJs to European tourists and students. My coffee was really good with a smooth but refreshing fruity flavour. I hadn't quite reached my caffeine quota for the day, though, so I ordered a cold brew (£2) too. The cold brew had a sweet flavour, but could have been a little stronger.
I also bought a bag of coffee to take home to my parents. I picked a bag of Colombian La Joyeria beans, which my dad and I both tried at home and which we agreed was excellent (it has a rich, chocolatey taste). As I had been staring at the brownies on the counter for the past 20 minutes, I also bought a raspberry brownie (£2.20, but it was so big and rich that I had to share it with my parents. It was super-tasty and the other cakes looked delicious too.
Quarter Horse is well worth the short walk away from the Starbucks- and Nero-dominated city centre. You will be rewarded with a cafe that offers a great selection of really tasty coffee, a relaxed vibe and friendly staff.
Quarter Horse Coffee. 76 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JB. Website. Twitter.