Unveiling the art of Ethical and sustainable coffee.
Q+A with Missing Bean Coffee Roasters - a sustainable coffee brand based in Oxfordshire
Welcome to our Q&A session with Missing Bean Coffee Roasters, a renowned specialty coffee roaster dedicated to crafting exceptional coffee experiences while prioritising ethics and sustainability. As a coffee lover, we understand that you may have questions about sourcing, brewing, and the impact of your coffee choices. Today, we have gathered some common inquiries to shed light on the art behind Missing Bean's ethical and sustainable practices. Let's dive in!
"From day one we’ve sourced our coffee through direct-trade - we go out to the farms ourselves, stay and work with the families."
What sets Missing Bean Coffee Roasters apart from other coffee brands?
We were Oxford’s very first speciality coffee shop, and Oxford’s very first coffee roaster. From day one we’ve sourced our coffee through direct-trade - we go out to the farms ourselves, stay and work with the families, create a deal better than fair-trade which we then maintain over the years. We’ve done that routine with 6 farms so far with more in the pipeline.
We aim to create our Cafe spaces - 5 across the county - in a way that reflects who we are as people and how we love to run the business. Warm, welcoming spaces, while at the same time professional, efficient and thoughtful.
How do you ensure the ethical sourcing of your coffee beans?
We try to be in control of as much of the process as possible. With direct-trade sourcing, which accounts for roughly two thirds of our total coffee purchasing, we are involved in every step of the journey. From farm, to container, to boat, to lorry, to Roastery.
For coffees from more obscure origins that we aren’t able to access ourselves, we use trusted brokers who again we have met and built strong, trusted relationships with.
What steps do you take to promote sustainability within your coffee production?
Sourcing from farms with ethical & sustainable practices - environmentally, socially & economically. We then pack our coffee into fully compostable packaging for retail and reusable/refillable tubs for wholesale, and deliver in our electric van or local cycle couriers for our local deliveries.
Are your coffee beans suitable for different flavour profiles and preferences?
Absolutely! We always aim to keep our selection varied with tastes and profiles to suit a range of preferences. There are always a handful of coffees with smooth, chocolatey notes which are best enjoyed for espresso based drinks, and then also coffees that are more bright and fruity which are perfect for filter. There’s always one or two though that we like to experiment with and have as ‘funky’ options - if anyone is feeling brave!
What makes a great coffee? In my opinion there is NOTHING worse than having a cheap coffee that tastes bitter.
" We love nothing more than a repeat order from a customer quickly after their first!"
Very tricky! Everyone looks for different things from their perfect cup of coffee, but for us we always aim to create a coffee that you don’t want to end. We love nothing more than a repeat order from a customer quickly after their first!
It’s got to accompany the many forms of milk well (with beautiful latte art), while at the same time stand strong on its own. And it’s got to complement a lovely fresh pastry on the side - from our in-house Bakery of course ;)
Tell us how a skin care routine can transform into a self care routine.
I always like to set the scene when I sit down to do my skincare routine, I tend to do it when my little boy has gone to bed, I feel it helps me to decompress. I love lighting a few candles & maybe some incense along with some quiet relaxing music. I enjoy focusing on the aromas & the feeling of my fingertips massaging my skin. Its all about not rushing through & slowing down and really giving yourself the time and space.
Tell us about your coffee shops, you have a few now right?
We do! We opened our first on Turl St - in the heart of the Oxford colleges - back in 2009, and the Roastery with on-site Cafe in 2014.
During the Covid lockdown we only managed to survive thanks to the incredible support of our local customers who continued to order their coffee beans online. We turned into full-time delivery drivers for 6 months, buzzing around Oxford and the wider county. When restrictions were lifted we wanted to thank everyone in the different parts of the county so much and wanted to remain in touch as best as possible - so we opened a series of Cafe’s in those various spots! Abingdon, Banbury & Botley all opened in 2021 and so grew our MB family. We went from 10 or 12 at our staff Christmas parties to now nearly 60!
There’s more to come next year too so keep your eyes peeled!
What’s your top three favourite coffee recipes?
I love coffee ice cream! And coffee-related desserts - always my go-to on a menu rather than fruity options.
Espresso martinis are certainly on the list too - we actually provide the coffee for a great cocktail company (The Cocktail Society) who’s bottles you might have seen on the shelves of various retailers.
And then there’s something that many might not have heard of - Cascara. It’s a very special tea which is made from coffee cherries (the pulp & skin around coffee beans when they’re grown). We tend to get a sack or two sent our way each year to have as a special treat around Christmas time. It’s super delicate like a herbal tea, but with all the flavours and perks of coffee!
How many coffees do you drink a day?
I’m down to a strict 3 a day currently! It can get out of control when you’re surrounded by it all day, and we do a lot of quality control to ensure each week’s roasts are up to scratch, so you’ve got to be careful to not drink too much! My go-to tends to be an espresso or two in the morning, then a relaxed filter (or cold brew!) in the afternoons.
There is so much information about the potential health benefits/negative side effects of caffeine, what’s your thoughts on this?
Like with most food or drink items, anything in moderation is good. You don’t want to become reliant on coffee, but equally it’s a lovely part of your day to enjoy and to give you a boost which is very much needed sometimes. As well as the coffee itself and its physical health benefits, providing Cafe spaces that are relaxing and comforting which people feel they can meet friends in, or even work in, can be priceless for good mental health too.
Finally, where can we find you or buy your coffee?
We’ve got our website with an online shop - which has our full range of coffees, subscription options, home brewing equipment, merchandise, chocolate & more!
If you’re local to Oxford/Oxfordshire, then our Cafe’s are also fully stocked with everything; Turl St (central Oxford), Magdalen Road (east Oxford), Stert Street (Abingdon), West Way Square (Botley) & High Street (Banbury).