With the UK going into lockdown, going out to cafés is no longer a viable option, so we’re bringing the coffee to you. ‘Caffeine Culture in Quarantine’ is a four-part series focusing on various aspects of common coffee culture, from explaining the different drinks available in a café, to how you can recreate your favourite drinks at home.
Today, the first part will introduce you to five roasters you can order good-quality coffee from online, satisfying your caffeine cravings whilst supporting the coffee industry during this trying time. After all, one cannot talk about coffee without having some available in the first place!
Whether you’re after nutty-tasting Brazilian, or a light and floral Ethiopia, there’s something to suit every palate from Union’s range of coffee. You can get a hold of their delicious beans either online or in certain supermarkets (although do try to minimise the trips you make, and don’t forget to keep a distance of two meters from others) without having to fork out the premium price that most speciality coffee demands.
Their name ‘Union’ reflects the company’s ethos of collaboration and, in particular, their dedication to working directly with the farmers sourcing the beans. The company’s transparency about their co-operation with producers provides you, the consumer, with the ease of mind that you will not be inadvertently funding exploitation of labourers. For those interested in furthering your coffee knowledge, their website has a ‘Learn’ section for you to dive into.
With Origin, you will always have a guarantee of quality and a reassurance that you will be experiencing some mind-blowing coffee. The company is formed of some of the most qualified individuals in the UK coffee industry; their Head of Coffee, Freda Yuan, is a three-time UK Cup Tasters Champion, and a judge and qualified trainer for the Specialty Coffee Association. So these are a group of people who seriously know their stuff, and are willing to impart their expertise by offering you products that they have personally cherry-picked and carefully roasted. Having gone through such a stringent filtering process, the coffee that is available is truly creme de la creme. The fact that Society Café in Oxford uses Origin’s roasts is a testament to the high calibre of the company’s product. And even if we are no longer able to enjoy the tranquillity of Society Café, at least we can still enjoy the coffee that was being brewed there – perhaps if you close your eyes and put on some café background noise, you can fool yourself into thinking that you are back in that environment.
A coffee roaster that is slightly closer to the place we all call home, New Ground Coffee is a roaster based near Headington offering good coffee with a dose of social good. The company supports ex-offenders by providing them with training and employment opportunities, so if you like your coffee served with a side of justice, then they are the roaster to seek out. New Ground Coffee also extends this aim of social benefit to the hard-working farmers, by ensuring fair pay and positive impact upon their communities. By ordering from New Ground Coffee, you too can play a part within their social enterprise by sustaining the admirable work that the company is doing. In a time of isolation-induced by COVID-19, it’s one easy way to continue connecting with the community and play a part in supporting those who are particularly vulnerable.
Jericho Coffee Traders need no introduction – their café on High Street is a second home to many of us, especially given the proximity to the Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian Libraries. If any of you are like me and miss the constant fragrance of their cosy shop, then you can now bring a slice of it home by brewing their full-bodied coffee yourself. Although it won’t be the same as getting it served by a smiling barista with a gummy bear on the side, you can drink your coffee with the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping the beloved institution so that it will continue standing, ready to keep welcoming the waves of sleep-deprived students.
Another well-loved caffeine institution in Oxford, The Missing Bean has a special place in many of our hearts and does not need my description of their wonderful coffee. In the company’s own words, now is the time to “Stay caffeinated. Stay safe. Stay at home”, all of which you can do by placing an order through their website. If anyone is feeling particularly nostalgic, The Missing Bean also offers creative postcards of classic Oxford landmarks with a coffee-focused twist, allowing you to feel connected to the city at heart, even if not physically.
Across the five roasters featured here, you can rest easy with the knowledge that no matter which company you choose to order from, you will receive exquisite coffee and simultaneously help out independent roasters and the farmers they work with. So what are you waiting for – keeping caffeinated is only a few clicks away!
Image Credit: Josh Boddington