Let’s get 2022 underway with a new Meet the Roaster, featuring Oxford’s NewGround Coffee, which has been around since 2018. I belated became aware of it last year through FLTR Coffee in Bicester and The Hideaway, one of that year’s many new openings in my home town of Guildford. Suitably impressed, I made visiting NewGround’s roastery/coffee shop in Oxford a priority, managing to call in at the end of October last year.
I wrote up the minimalist coffee shop at the end of last year, while today’s post is all about the roasting side of the business. This is based around the state-of-the-art Loring S15 Falcon roaster, which you’ll find at the back of the coffee shop, surrounded by tubs of coffee. However, there’s more to NewGround than just roasting and serving excellent coffee, NewGround also working to create job opportunities and provide training for ex-offenders, helping them back into employment.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
NewGround Coffee’s roastery/coffee shop is in Headington, on the eastern outskirts of Oxford, tucked away in a small courtyard off Windmill Road. This is lined with an eclectic collection of small, mismatched industrial buildings, with NewGround occupying a long, simple space, open to the A-frame roof. Originally just a roastery when it opened in 2018, NewGround added its minimalist coffee shop the following year, which features in its own post, where you can find more details about the building and its location.
The roastery occupies the back third of the building, although there’s no formal separation between coffee shop and roaster/production area. The centrepiece is the Loring S15 Falcon, a 15 kg capacity roaster, all gleaming stainless steel, its twin chimneys rising to the apex of the roof. When I was there, this was surrounded by the familiar white tubs, beloved of coffee roasters the world over for holding their roasted coffee. The only thing missing from the scene were the equally familiar sacks of green beans, which I assume were of sight in the storage areas to the right.
Along with the roaster, NewGround has a production area off to the left, where the roasted coffee is weighed and bagged into retail and wholesale bags before being shipped off to NewGround’s customers. Naturally, all the retail bags are also for sale in the coffee shop, with the added bonus that the staff can (and do) pop back to make one up for you if there are no bags of your chosen coffee readily to hand. This also means that the staff can grind bags of coffee on demand, so there’s no stock of pre-ground coffee aging on the shelves.
NewGround’s output is based around its seasonal Big House blend, currently a mix of beans from Brazil, Colombia and Uganda (I picked up a bag from The Hideaway to have over Christmas and it was excellent, going very nicely through my cafetiere first thing in the morning and performing just as well each afternoon as an espresso). This is joined by a seasonal decaf and the Mug Shot, a seasonal single-origin Brazilian.
The specific coffees on offer (and the components of the blends) change as different coffees come in and out of season. During my visit in late October, NewGround also had four single-origins on offer, although at the time of writing, this is up to six, along with the seasonal Jingle Beans blend and the Luminary Blend, a collaboration with Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise bakery in London.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of NewGround is its commitment to social responsibility. NewGround works with ex-offenders, providing them with job opportunities and training to help them back into employment. A good example of this is James, who I met on my visit to NewGround.
James learnt his trade as a coffee roaster with Redemption Roasters, the coffee roastery inside a prison. James told me that during his time in prison, he worked in the roastery, going back to his cell each day to read everything he could get his hands on about coffee. After his release, he joined NewGround, where he’s now in charge of the Loring on a day-to-day basis, testament to the success of both Redemption Roasters and NewGround Coffee.
|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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