Bogota Coffee Co, a relatively young new comer, but pioneer to the almost non-existent independent Milton Keynes coffee-house landscape, is owned and operated by old friends – Ex-Police Officer Paul Ashby and Successful Colombian tour guide Carl Meek, who bring both the passion and dedication to good coffee, and the appreciation and affection for Colombia to their own unique take on a UK Coffee house.
The story of the Bogota Coffee Co. all began way back when owner Paul says his interest in coffee was ignited at the young age of 12 when he was given a moka pot by an old Italian school friend whose family introduced him to traditional (albeit sugar laden) Italian coffee, from here his interest and drive for good coffee grew, eventually leading him into business with best friend Carl, who after re-locating back to the UK in 2012 from Colombia realized they both shared a mutual love of Colombia’s finest.
One of the most interesting things that set aside Bogota Coffee Co. is how they began; Initially as a wholesale importer and farmers market trader, buying single origin beans directly from source, this came about after Carl who was working as a successful tour guide in Colombia discovered on one of his tour routes “Cafe De La Fonda” a small independent coffee roaster.
After a visit to a farm the guys soon realized that new government legislation for import and the introduction of commercial farming was slowly beginning to affect not only the quality of the beans, but also the lives and conditions of the farmers, it was because of this first hand encounter that they decided to go direct to source and cut out the middle men to import their own beans; allowing them to pay the farmers a better price and receive a better quality coffee of single origin.
Paul’s comments really stood out to me when he talked about sourcing beans “Better Care means Better Coffee” and “A paying customer should always receive the best”, this is an ethos that they live by and it shows!
Fast forward to 2015 and The Bogota Coffee Co. now established with 3 stores throughout Milton Keynes employing more than 10 local coffee lovers and receiving “Best Coffee Shop of 2014” in the MK Food Awards is striving to maintain its standards, not only for great coffee, but also ethically…Still importing single origin with a direct farm contact, from Cirencester based roaster “Rave Coffee“, They also now pride themselves on promoting/supporting the indie scene both within the local area, pioneering the start of an almost mini revolution with the only independent area of the town, and by only using independent suppliers.
The level of passion and commitment to not only coffee and the high standards of service, but the ethical aspects of sourcing and employment really set them aside within the local community, it is extremely noble and refreshing to see an independent company who are prepared to make such a lifestyle change whilst still focusing on what is important. This includes everyone involved within the coffee chain from harvesting/growing through to roasting and finally finishing with the cafe/preparation side.
Bogota Coffee Co. are also involved with charity work; raising money for an orphanage in Colombia for which Carl regularly visits to assist with projects, He also takes shop donations which are spent on special gifts, one of the last one being football shirts for the children who were excited for the world cup.
On my many visits to this favorite spot of mine I am always pleased to see that no matter which of their 2 public stores you visit you are nearly always lucky enough to bump into an owner, who will gladly spare the time to chat to you, whether about coffee or just to chat. Paul says “one of the biggest threats to speciality coffee is customer service.” and there are no complaints here.
There are 3 over-riding factors that The Bogota Coffee Co. live by; Coffee, Service and Standards, and they exceed at all!
On the technical front Bogota’s flagship store uses a La Marzocco 2 group Linea PB machine, whilst their “Jigsaw” store uses a 2 group Linea machine, both are paired with a Mazzer Electronic Super Jolly grinder, that is adjusted throughout the day ensuring a consistent tamp of 20g, this ensures the same great coffee each time…If the barista isn’t happy with the espresso, it isn’t served;maintaining the high standards that Bogota is known and loved for.
The level of detail that is taken to prepare a customers coffee is something that most people wouldn’t ever imagine, but behind the scenes Bogota Coffee are working hard to maintain their standards; monitoring everything from the grind consistency, to the shop humidity and temperature (which affects grinding), milk temperature, espresso pour time and everything in between. Each coffee served really is a labor of love.
I would thoroughly recommend a visit if your ever in Milton Keynes, or fancy traveling (its worth it) to either their flagship Colombian themed store, complete with wooden clad interior, leather chairs, reclaimed box tables and coffee sack cushions, or the newer modern contemporary store with clean lines and a high-end finish located within fashion store “Jigsaw” in the local shopping center.
Find them at:
Address: 4 Rillaton Walk (The Hub, off Avebury Boulevard), Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2FZ
or Jigsaw, Silbury Arcade, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3EP