9 June 2012

The (Oxford) Caffeine Chronicles: The Missing Bean Review

Having been summoned back to the Shire--by Maman, not bells--I spent a few hours in Oxford this afternoon before catching the bus out to the sticks. I rediscovered a few old favourites, which I'll be rounding up in a forthcoming blog post. For now, though, I thought I'd review The Missing Bean, where I paused for a macchiato this afternoon.

Oxford finally gets an espresso bar!

Oxford isn't exactly famed for its independent espresso bars--sandwich shops, cafés and tea shops are much more common--and The Missing Bean claims to be the only independent specialist coffee shop in the city. I've been there with Papa a few times for a post-early-morning-run coffee, but I've never drunk in before. The Missing Bean is always busy on Saturdays, especially on warmish Saturdays in June when students are seeking post-exam caffeination and there are plenty of parents in town. The place was rammed when I first got into town, just after lunch, so I came back a couple of hours later when the queue had subsided and I managed to score a stool in the corner.

Double mac

Located on Turl Street, just off the High, and surrounded by several Oxford University colleges, The Missing Bean is a cool place to hang out--the clientèle is almost entirely young and hip and there is a nice selection of cakes, pastries and sandwiches on offer. The window seats are also great spots for people-watching. I ordered my usual double macchiato and it was good for Oxford, although by my snooty NYLon standards, I felt it tasted slightly bitter and very slightly burnt. I am being a bit pedantic and, as I say, it was a much better double mac than you would get in any of the chain coffee shops or any of the cafés in town. Oxford clearly has some way to go on the espresso front, but The Missing Bean is an excellent start.

On a related note, if you are in Oxford and want to buy coffee beans or ground coffee, I would recommend Cardews, hidden within the warren-like Covered Market. The staff are knowledgeable and they always have an excellent selection of coffees.

The Missing Bean. 14 Turl Street, Oxford, OX1 3DQ. Website.

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