When The Missing Bean arrived in Oxford's Turl Street almost seven years ago, I was delighted that speciality coffee had finally found its way to my hometown. Although I no longer live in Oxford, I go back regularly to visit my parents and The Missing Bean is usually my first port of call after a Saturday morning run in Christchurch Meadow. They told me a couple of years ago that they were going to be opening a roastery, but in my efforts to visit some of the other new speciality coffee spots that have sprung up around the city, I hadn't found time to visit.
Last weekend, though, I had a whole Saturday in Oxford and, after a run, a morning piccolo from the Turl Street café, breakfast and a shower, I was back in town. The roastery is located about a mile-and-a-half southeast of the city centre on Magdalen Road, a characterful street where you can also find a wonderful gastropub, a great brunch spot and a fab produce store, among other places. Magdalen Road connects the vibrant, bustling Cowley Road (home to Quarter Horse and Mostro Coffee (formerly Keen Bean)) to the more residential Iffley Road, both of which run through to the city centre.
The Missing Bean Roastery is closer to the Iffley Road end, but you can walk to the Cowley Road in just over five minutes. I knew I was getting close when the smell of freshly roasted coffee reached my nostrils. They opened the roastery in 2014 and the cafe is now open Tuesday to Friday from 7 am until 2 pm, and from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturdays. It was fairly quiet when I visited, which just gave me the chance to chat with the lovely Vicky, one of the owners.
The coffee menu is extensive, so much so that it took even me a few minutes to decide what to order. As well as the usual espresso-based drinks, there are V60- and Aeropress-brewed filter coffees, bottled cold brew and iced coffee tonic. In a twist that will shock no one, I decided on a V60 (£2.50) and a piccolo (£2) but then came the challenge of choosing among the ten single-origin coffees.
I left the decision in the capable hands of Vicky and the other barista. The V60 was brewed with a fruity Rwandan Rwashocco variety that I liked so much I bought a small bag of beans to take home. The piccolo, made with the Unbirthday Blend (well, it wasn't my birthday, after all), was also very good: smooth and just about the right intensity for brunch time.
The set-up at The Missing Bean Roastery reminded me a lot of my local — the Monmouth roastery in Dockley Road — with the coffee varieties sitting prominently behind the bar. There is a large wooden table for drinking-in and a few more benches next to the roaster and in the window. There was also a cake and some pastries when I visited, but I was already late for brunch.
Magdalen Road is a bit of a jaunt from the city centre but there are frequent buses that run down both the Cowley and Iffley Roads. Better still, you could just stroll down the High Street, over lovely Magdalen Bridge and amble along the Cowley Road, taking in some of Oxford's other speciality coffee bars and independent/alternative restaurants and shops. Either way, The Missing Bean is a worthwhile diversion and a cosy place for a great coffee.
The Missing Bean Roastery. 1 Newtec Place, Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RE. Website. Twitter. Instagram.