31 March 2017

The Oxford Caffeine Chronicles: Jericho Coffee Traders

Jericho Coffee Traders is a relative old guard of the Oxford speciality coffee scene. Owners James and Lizzie Armitage have a roastery off Walton Street in the titular Jericho neighbourhood just north of the city centre, and a distinctive turquoise Vespa Piaggio Ape, which serves coffee on the go. Their coffee also features at various Oxford cafes, including The Bear and the Bean, which I visited last year.

As regular readers know, I grew up in Oxford and return to visit my family there a few times a year, but don't always have much coffee-shop-hopping time when I'm in town. I've tried and enjoyed JCT coffee quite a few times but I've never made it to their coffee cart or any of their more permanent homes. I didn't quite make it to their King Edward Street cafe before it closed down and then when I was home at Christmas, I spotted that there was a new JCT cafe on the High Street but it was closed for the holidays.

During my brief return to The Shire last weekend, however, visiting the new High Street Jericho Coffee Roasters cafe was top of my list. I wasn't alone, and it was standing room only when I arrived on Saturday afternoon. There are a few spots for perching in the front window, a handful of stools opposite the coffee bar and then a small room at the back with a few more comfortable seats. The d├ęcor is cosy and rustic with Cambridge-blue (sorry!) walls, a colourful coffee bar and plenty of dark wood accents. Outside, you can spot JCT from its lilac walls — this stretch of the High Street, just opposite Radcliffe Square, is famed for its pastel-hued buildings.

There are filter coffees brewed through the Aeropress and V60 on the menu (£3), but I'd already worked my way through five coffees during the course of the day and so decided to stick to a piccolo (£2.20). It was also super-busy and I figured that a piccolo might be a less annoying order. The coffee was a blend called The Adventurer Blend, which combines coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. I really enjoyed this blend as a piccolo and the fruitier notes came through very nicely. I wish I'd also tried the V60 but I will have to save that experience for another trip.

If you're in the mood for something sweet to accompany your coffee, you are in luck because there are delicious cakes from Barefoot Oxford on offer; the salted caramel brownies looked particularly epic. There are a few breakfast options too — pastries, porridge and crumpets. There's no Oxford Blue Cheese, though; that's the sugar pot in disguise!

You can buy retail bags of JCT coffee in store and online (this Kenyan Kahawa sounds really nice), and they also have various weekly, fortnightly and monthly coffee subscriptions.

For more Oxford speciality coffee spots, check out my guide and map — since then, Quarter Horse Coffee has been replaced by Peloton Espresso, a cycling cafe serving Quarter Horse Coffee, which I visited briefly at the weekend. And in other Oxford coffee news, Joe Perks is closing its doors for the last time this weekend, sadly.

Jericho Coffee Traders. 105 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BW. Website. Twitter. Instagram.

For more Oxford speciality coffee suggestions, please check out my Oxford coffee guide and Oxford coffee map.

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