In my on-going search for alternatives to the motorway services, my eyes alighted on FLTR Coffee during my drive to North Wales last Saturday. Located in Langford Village, on the southeastern outskirts of Bicester, it’s conveniently less than 10 minutes’ drive from J9 of the M40 to the south, under 15 minutes from J10 to the north and, if you’re coming by public transport, a short (15 minutes) walk from Bicester Village Station. Part of a small parade of shops in an outdoor shopping centre, there’s ample free parking.
FLTR Coffee, which is owned by a church called Journey Communities, was made possible by donations from various charitable organisations, churches, neighbours and friends. When it comes to coffee, the house roaster is Dark Woods Coffee, so you know that you’re in excellent hands. During my visit, Dark Woods was on the concise espresso menu, while both options on pour-over (V60) were from Dark Woods too. Meanwhile, local roaster, Oxford’s NewGround Coffee, is on decaf, with FLTR Coffee offering a selection of tea and hot chocolate as well. If you are hungry, there are toast and toasted teacakes for breakfast, plus a range of toasties and cakes to tempt you.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
FLTR Coffee occupies the end unit of a modern parade of shops in the Langford Village Shopping Centre. The simple façade has two large windows, one either side of a central glass door, while there’s an outdoor seating area around to the side. Four two/three-person tables are arranged in a line down the right-hand side of FLTR Coffee, separated from the pavement by a long, low planter.
Inside, FLTR Coffee occupies a simple rectangular space with a surprisingly high ceiling (about twice the height of the windows), which gives it a great sense of space. In look and feel, the building reminds me of a typical American coffee shop rather than a British one. The counter is at the back on the right-hand side, with a kitchen/storeroom area behind it. In normal times, the seating is arranged in the remaining L-shaped area, but having only reopened the interior at the start of last week, FLTR Coffee is operating with reduced seating for now.
This means that, other than a three-person window-bar to your left as you enter, all the seating is on the right, between the window and counter. This leaves the left-hand side clear for customers to get from door to the counter and back. Head along the left-hand side to the back of FLTR Coffee, where you’ll find a single retail shelf above a fridge with soft drinks. From here, you come around to the , where you’ll find the till at the end of the counter.
You order here, then move past the cakes and espresso machine to the front of the counter and the V60s at the pour-over station. If you’ve ordered takeaway, you collect your coffee here before heading down the middle of FLTR Coffee to the door. Alternatively, if you’re sitting in, take a seat and your coffee will be brought to you.
Along with the three-person window-bar, a four-person table sits in the window on the right. A pair of two-person tables line the right-hand wall, the second one by the counter, with a final two-person table in the middle of the right-hand side. However, this is all due to change, with FLTR Coffee planning a major refurbishment for the second week in June, ahead of what will hopefully be a full reopening following the removal of the last of the COVID-19 restrictions.
For now, FLTR Coffee is only serving in disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own. Dark Woods Coffee’s Under Milk Wood blend was on espresso during my visit, but I felt I couldn’t come to a coffee shop called FLTR Coffee and not have a pour-over. FLTR Coffee has two options on V60, one washed, one natural. The washed coffee was a barrel-aged coffee from Ethiopia, which, had I been paying more attention, I might have selected.
Instead, I went for the natural, a micro-lot of the Arañas varietal from the Fazenda Passeio farm in Brazil. I was rewarded with a lovely, rich, full-bodied coffee, which I had in my Frank Green Ceramic cup. Full of complex, fruity flavours, it set me up nicely for the rest of my drive. I also bought a box of the decaf from NewGround Coffee, an heirloom Ethiopian, decaffeinated using the CO2 process, which I should be enjoying at home later this week.
December 2021: FLTR Coffee was a runner-up for the 2021 Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.
|6A NIGHTINGALE PLACE • BICESTER • OX26 6XX|
|www.fltrcoffee.co.uk||+44 (0) 1869 329933|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Darkwoods (espresso + filter) + NewGround (decaf)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Cakes, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||09:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 15:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||22nd May 2021|
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