Continuing the Coffee Spot’s recent theme of finding great coffee in unusual places (Cambridge, Norwich and St Albans for example), I was recently persuaded to pay a visit to Milton Keynes. This, by the way, is quite an achievement, given that I have something of a hate-hate relationship with Milton Keynes, going back to my basketball days, when my team, the late, lamented Guildford Heat, used to slug it out with local rivals, the Milton Keynes Lions (who themselves are now the London Lions).
However, I was in the area and was determined to call in. Thus, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I found myself approaching the rather artificial and somewhat unpromising environment of “The Hub”. Despite this, I persevered and in due course I found myself in the oasis of loveliness that is Bogotá Coffee. If there is a coffee shop more out of keeping with its immediate surroundings, I have yet to visit it. Amidst the soaring glass, steel and concrete of central Milton Keynes, Bogotá Coffee is a homely spot of wood, brick and natural warmth, topped off by some cracking coffee from Cirencester’s Rave Coffee Roasters.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Bogotá Coffee immediately stands out, the warm glow of its brick and wood interior springing out from the surrounding glass, steel and concrete. It’s a beautiful physical space, with wooden floorboards and wooden-clad walls, occasionally giving way to bare bricks behind, although in reality this has all been carefully constructed over the original concrete and breezeblock shell.
All that belies its industrial origins are the steel-framed floor-to-ceiling windows and the red, steel ceiling beams. However, the windows flood it with light, showing off the interior to good effect, while the high ceiling gives an immense feeling of space. The interior décor is complimented by the furnishings: a glorious wooden counter, wooden tables, and a three-piece of two red comfy chairs and an orange sofa around two packing-crates, masquerading as coffee tables.
There’s a small table outside, along with a long, low wooden bench. While the view’s not that appealing, the pedestrianised Rillaton Way is a pleasant environment. Stepping through the big double doors on the left, you’re immediately struck by the sense of space. Bogotá Coffee’s twice as wide as it is deep, with the counter opposite you against the back wall. Against the left-hand wall is a two-person table, then a wooden bench, while a communal high table occupies the middle of the room. A window-bar runs the length of the windows, with the sofa and armchairs occupying the right-hand end.
A lot more could have been squeezed in, but as it is, there’s an uncluttered feel which complimented the laid-back atmosphere while I was there, helped by quiet background jazz, perfectly suiting my mood.
Bogotá Coffee’s main claim to fame, other than bringing speciality coffee to Milton Keynes, is a focus on Colombian coffee. Starting as an importer, with beans roasted in Colombia, the coffee’s now roasted by Rave, although it’s still all Colombian, Rave selecting various single-origins.
While I was there, the coffee was Suarez Cauca (a Colombian town). Unusually, Bogotá Coffee uses the same bean/roast for espresso and filter (there’s also Rave’s decaf blend), so I was keen to see how well it fared as both. I was recommended to try it as a cafetiere (Aeropress and V60 were the other options, along with bulk-brew filter), which arrived with a timer set for four minutes, at which point I was entrusted with pressing the plunger…
My coffee was okay, but I didn’t think the cafetiere showed it off to its best effect (I’d have been tempted to try an Aeropress). However, it improved markedly as it cooled, the initial brightness fading and the underlying complexity coming through. I followed this with a split shot of an espresso, plus a macchiato to see how it went with milk. As an espresso it was very bright and fruity, not really to my taste. I also found that the coffee’s brightness clashed with the milk in my macchiato, leaving me wondering if I’d have been better off trying it as a cortado or a flat white.
To soak up all the caffeine, I also had a couple of slices of toasted fruit bread. This was a rich fruit and nut bread that went very well with the big pot of strawberry jam that accompanied it: just what I needed!
|THE HUB • 4 RILLATON WALK • MILTON KEYNES • MK9 2EB|
|www.bogotacoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 1908 969420|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Benches, Comfy Chairs, Table and bench (outside)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake, Sandwiches|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Sunday||10:00 – 18:00||Mobile||3G, Voice|
|Chain||No||Visits||27th September 2014|
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