Colombia Coffee Roasters cafes are celebrating winning the title Oxford Mail Best Cafe 2022. A shortlist of 10 cafes was drawn up and readers were asked to nominate their favourite using a coupon in the paper
The company’s cafe in the Covered Market, which attracts queues for its coffee and cakes, came top and its other cafe in Banbury Road, Summer- town, came second. Milly Barr, who runs Colombia Coffee Roasters, said staff were delighted to win the best cafe title. After being presented with a certificate, she said: “I am very happy indeed - staff are very happy and we would like to thank all the customers who voted for us.
“We get lots of different customers coming in - the student community, university professors, and local people. “The Covered Market is such a historic place and it’s right in the middle of the city. “My staff work so hard to make sure that customer service here is as good as the coffee.
“Winning the title is a tribute to our staff at the Covered Market cafe and our Summertown cafe.” Mrs Barr said she was delighted to win as there were other well-established businesses on the shortlist. She added: “Oxford is a great place for coffee – some of the first coffeehouses started here.”
Mrs Barr told earlier how she gave up a career as a lawyer to launch the cafes when she realised coffee was her passion. She said: “I grew up around a farm in Colombia, where coffee was not just a thriving business but a social hub of the community. “I arrived in Britain to study for a master’s degree in commercial law and fell in love with an Oxonian, so stayed - we have now been married for more than 15 years. I am very passionate about making a difference to the small coffee farmers in Colombia. We opened our first shop in the Covered Market in 2014 and our second shop in Summertown in 2019, which became very popular during lock- down.” Mrs Barr added: “Coffee has been part of my life since I can remember. Every morning I woke to the gentle waft of sweetly, freshly ground beans. My parents’ house was known as the ‘Embassy’ - a place where people would drop in to swap gossip”.
“The coffee was a social lubricant - and it helped, of course, that the coffee tasted wonderful! While we in Colombia clearly love coffee, I had a feeling the fresh, aromatic flavour of coffee was lacking from most British cups. That’s why I started importing beans from Colombia, to roast, grind and brew here in the UK.”