Readers are now being asked to vote to help us to find the best cafe in Oxford.

Cafes across the city are competing to win the title Oxford Mail Best Cafe 2022.

A shortlist of 10 cafes has been drawn up and readers are now being asked to nominate their favourite.

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The latest two cafes to be featured on the shortlist are run by the same company - Colombia Coffee Roasters.

There are two Colombia cafes in the city - one at the Covered Market, and a second in Banbury Road.

Oxford Mail:

Milly Barr 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 masters 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.

Oxford Mail:

“We opened our first shop in the Covered Market in 2014 and our second shop in Summertown in 2019, which became very popular during lockdown.”

Mrs Barr added: “Coffee has been part of my life since I can remember.

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“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.

Oxford Mail:

“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.”

Mrs Barr said the Colombian climate was ‘perfect for growing coffee beans at an elevation of between 1,000 and 2,000 feet above sea level’.

She added that the soil and rainfall complemented each other to produce the most flavoursome beans.

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“The beans we import come from not just my family’s farm but those of many other small coffee farms,” she said.

Oxford Mail:

“As soon as the beans arrive we roast them at our roastery, located at the Wheatley Business Centre."

People can nominate their favourite on a coupon in the paper and send it in.

The closing date for postal entries is Sunday, June 26, and the winner will be announced on Thursday, June 30.


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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF