The Bear & The Bean (Oxford, UK)

What’s the story behind your shop?

We are a collaboration between Jordan O'Shea (me!) of Bear on a Bicycle Records and Drew Brammer of The Keen Bean Coffee Club. We wanted to create a space in Oxford that supplies all the needs for those arty-farty types like ourselves and combine it with a genuinely welcoming atmosphere. We thought of all our favourite things and genuinely just built the shop around them. They just so happened to be speciality coffee, analogue cameras, independent fashion, local art, and offensive greetings cards. You know, the usual. The roasters we are very proud to use are Caravan Coffee Roasters and Jericho Coffee Traders, and we always have around four beans to choose from for our filter or espresso based coffees.


What’s special about your space?
It sounds cliche, but we really are part of a community here. Our space fills a void for people who want to actually relax and socialise over coffee without the pressures of work or hushed high-brow environments (two main reasons why we've banned wi-fi at weekends). We're lucky to be on the Cowley Road in East Oxford and in between the two universities, but also we love our neighbours! We are surrounded by true independent businesses that care about their crafts (such as The Ultimate Picture Palace, Big Society, and Atomic Burger) and we are constantly found in each other's establishments!
Tell us something about your customers.
Basically all of our customers have become our mates. We even ended up hiring some of them! We don't seem to have a particular genre or age of customer, I guess it's just people who like good coffee and appreciate being served by people who will actually talk to them. We strive to be educational without being patronising too; not everyone knows what a bloomin pourover is and it's our job to inform them, not laugh at them!

What’s the best coffee you’ve had in the last month?
I'm obviously biased towards our incredible roasteries, but aside from them I had a great flat white from Society Cafe using Origin. I also had a sensational coffee whilst I was in Coffs Harbour, Australia, from Supply Coffee which was a Columbian Andino from their own roastery. Blew me away!