NewGround Coffee Roastery & Coffee Shop

A box the Worka Wuri, the surprise coffee I was served at NewGround Roastery and Coffee Shop in Oxford. From Ethiopia, it's a washed heirloom coffee with tasting notes of Earl grey, lemon and elderflower, roasted five days before my visit.Oxford’s NewGround Coffee began in 2018, although I only became aware of it earlier this year when visiting FLTR Coffee in Bicester. Then, a month later, I popped into The Hideaway, one of Guildford’s many new openings, to find NewGround’s seasonal Big House blend in the hopper. Turns out I should have paid more attention, though, since Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato wrote about NewGround in October last year!

NewGround’s roastery/coffee shop are in a small workshop tucked away off a side street in Headington, east of the centre of Oxford. The roaster will have its own Meet the Roaster feature in due course, with today’s post focussing on the coffee shop. This is best described as minimalist, somewhere between a full-blown roastery/café (like the Ue Coffee Roastery Cafe & Kitchen) and the Heartland Coffee Bar.

There’s a handful of seats, with the coffee being the real star. NewGround offers its seasonal Big House blend plus a single-origin on espresso, along with batch brew filter. You can also have any coffee in the roastery through V60, Kalita Wave or AeroPress. Naturally, it’s all available in retail boxes. If you’re hungry, there’s granola and porridge for breakfast (all day) and a choice of two cakes.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On Windmill Street, in Headington, Oxford, is an unpromising gap between buildings.
  • Unpromising, that is, apart from the sign, which promises a lot.
  • Heading between the buildings, you'll see, to your left, at the back of space...
  • ... the NewGround Roastery and Coffee Shop! Let's go in, shall we?
  • You'll find the counter immediately to your left, just inside the door.
  • The first of the seating, a long wooden bench, is opposite it on the right.
  • There's more seating at an extension at the end of the counter. It's worth looking up...
  • ... where NewGround is open to the rafters. Every third panel is a skylight, so it's bright!
  • The rest of the seating shares the back of the building with the roastery.
  • To the right, at the end of the bench, is a training counter, which doubles as seating...
  • ... sharing the space with a Victoria Arduino Eagle One espresso machine and its grinder.
  • The remaining seating is provided by two moveable stainless-steel catering tables.
  • Each one typically seats four, but the stools can (and are) moved around.
  • For example, the second, on the left, had borrowed two stools from the one on the right.
  • Finally, right at the back, is the roaster itself...
  • ... a rather glorious Loring.
  • NewGround is a very green space, despite its steel and breezeblock construction.
  • This is the main reason, a partnership with Burford Garden Co to supply plants.
  • They are everywhere, including this beauty at the end of the bench.
  • NewGround is also big on upcycling, reusing the Loring's crate to build the toilet!
  • To business. You order at the front of the counter, where you'll also find more plants...
  • ... and some NewGround merchandising.
  • The breakfast options (granola and porridge) are next to the till, along with the choice...
  • ... of cake, in this instance, chocolate brownies (all gone) and millionaire's shortbread.
  • Then comes the coffee, which occupies the rest of the counter.
  • The menu is simplicity itself.
  • This was the single-origin option on espresso while I was there...
  • ... while this was the batch brew option.
  • The pour-over station comes next...
  • ... with the various brew methods laid out on the counter top.
  • Meanwhile, there's coffee kit and the various coffee options (and retail boxes) behind.
  • Finally, at the end, is an EK43 grinder and Mokkamaster for the batch brew.
  • I asked the barista to surprise me with a pour-over. It arrived in a carafe, with a...
  • ... handleless ceramic cup on the side.
  • I paired it with a bowl of granola, served with  yoghurt and fruit compote.
  • My coffee, checking out the counter, while I tried to work out what it was.
  • The answer? It was the Worka Wuri, which I bought a box of to take home with me.
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NewGround’s roastery/coffee shop is in Headington, on the eastern outskirts of Oxford, easily accessible from the M40/A40, which is how I came to visit, driving to my Dad’s in North Wales. It’s somewhere you’re unlikely to stumble upon, tucked away in a small courtyard off Windmill Road, itself off London Road, the main throughfare between Oxford and the A40.

Walking down Windmill Road, the only clue is an A-board on the pavement on your right, a short way from London Road. This leads through a gap in the buildings to a small, crowded courtyard lined with an eclectic collection of small, industrial buildings, none of which match. NewGround is at the back on the left, the A-frame front punctured by a tall, four-paned window, with the fourth pane (on the right) acting as the door, while the others look as if they could fold back to the left, opening up the entire front in good weather.

Inside, it’s a simple, open space, with an A-frame roof which runs front to back, every third panel of which is a skylight, resulting in a bright interior. The décor is minimalist, with white, breezeblock walls, a white, concrete floor and blonde wood or metal furniture. The coffee shop, which opened in 2019, occupies the front of the building, with the roastery, which has been here a year longer, at the back.

An enclosed, wooden structure, which matches the height of the walls, occupies one third of the width on the right, and runs about halfway back. Opposite this, to your left as you enter, is the counter, while a bench runs along the right-hand wall of the structure. There’s a small extension with a couple of stools at the end of the counter, with the remaining seating at back, between the counter and the roastery.

After the wooden structure on the right, you’ll find a training bench with seating for five, shared with a Victoria Arduino Eagle One espresso machine and its grinder. Beyond that are two moveable stainless-steel catering tables to the left and right, each seating four. Finally, at the back, is the Loring roaster, all gleaming stainless steel, surrounded by tubs of coffee.

You order at the front of the counter, where you’ll find the granola, porridge and cakes of the day (millionaire’s shortbread and brownies during my visit). Next come two grinders, one for the Big House blend, the other for the single-origin espresso (the El Bombo from Colombia), followed by the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine. Then it’s over to filter coffee with the pour-over station, kettles and uber boiler. Finally, at the end is an EK43 grinder and Mokkamaster for batch brew.

Spoilt for choice, I asked the barista to surprise me with a pour-over. My coffee arrived in a glass carafe with a handleless, cylindrical cup on the side (NewGround uses HuskeeCups for some of its espresso-based drinks). The first sip tasted almost earthy and quite full-bodied, but as it cooled, I got a more rounded, well-balanced flavour profile, but still with plenty of body.

I paired this with a bowl of granola, even though it was mid-afternoon (I needed something savoury). This came with yoghurt and fruit compote, providing a really tasty ensemble.

My surprise, by the way, was the Worka Wuri, a washed heirloom varietal from Ethiopia, which I would never have guessed, made using the Kalita Wave. I was so impressed, I bought a box to take home.

SIMON HOUSE • WORKSHOP R/O • 2 WINDMILL ROAD • OXFORD • OX3 7BU
www.newgroundcoffee.com +44 (0) 7958 004105
Monday 09:00 – 15:00 Roaster NewGround (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 09:00 – 15:00 Seating Tables, Counter, Bench
Wednesday 09:00 – 15:00 Food Breakfast, Cakes
Thursday 09:00 – 15:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:00 – 15:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi TBC
Sunday 09:00 – 16:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 31st October 2021

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  1. Pingback: The Roastery at Cobham | Brian's Coffee Spot

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