Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge

Me and my husband, we’re like Jack Sprat and his wife … he only drinks coffee and I only drink tea.  One of our favourite pit stops in the city is Bould Brothers Coffee and now that they’ve just opened their second cafe, I think it’s high time I told their story.  So I went to meet Max, drink tea and find out how these brothers got into the coffee business.

Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge
Alex and Max Bould  Image credit: Bould Brothers Coffee

Just 13 months apart in age, Alex and Max grew up in Chester and both went to Leeds University.  In fact, it was at the uni Open Day that they came across a pop up stall serving stunning coffee with different flavour profiles.  The brothers were hooked and determined to recreate this amazing coffee.  That summer, they had the opportunity to do exactly that as they completely turned around the coffee offering and fortunes of a sandwich shop in Chester.  The duo continued to hone their barista skills during uni holidays and Max went on to work at a high end coffee shop in Leeds, all the while building up contacts within the world of coffee.

Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge
My favourite Darjeeling tea, perfectly brewed

Once they’d both graduated, Alex and Max headed to London and corporate jobs, eventually deciding to merge their business experience with their coffee know how to start up a really special coffee shop, a social, buzzy place where they could create a high quality experience that’s valuable beyond just the drink.  “Even if they can only pop in briefly, we want people to feel that they’ve had a five minute luxury mini-break” Max tells me.

Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge
The Regent Street cafe

That ambition and ethos means the Bould Brothers don’t cut corners.  Their bespoke, single origin house coffee is roasted by Colonna Coffee.  The coffee menu changes every four months as the seasons change, with guest coffees sourced from the UK and Europe.  A range of six teas includes black, green and white tea as well as fruit infusions.  Milk is organic and textured to 60 degrees to break down sugars and fats, making it sweet and creamy.  And our hard Cambridge water is filtered and purified through their eco friendly system then optimally remineralised to extract the best flavour from tea and coffee.

Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge

The simple but delicious food selection includes croissants, sandwiches, cakes and stunning glossy tartlets made by a pastry chef who honed her skills at a Michelin starred restaurant in France.

Alex and Max opened their first tiny coffee shop opposite The Round Church.  They worked hard to refit the space and opened on New Year’s Eve 2016 with just the two of them working seven days a week.  From the start, the business surpassed their expectations and it wasn’t long before they were able to start building a team around them.  This small but perfectly formed cafe soon attracted press interest too … they’ve been featured in Vogue and Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, have won many plaudits and have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Small-Mid Enterprise Business Awards.

Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge
The Regent Street Cafe  Image credit: Bould Brothers Coffee

In December 2019, Alex and Max opened their second cafe at the other end of town, on Regent Street.  It’s a larger space which they have renovated stylishly … you’ll find comfortable seating upholstered in gorgeous fabrics, statement lighting, modern art on the walls and serving bars designed by them and custom made from an unusual grained granite.  The space at the front of the cafe is light and bright with tables and window seating so you can watch the world go by while the garden room at the back has a more classic look and feel with marble flooring and a circular communal table.

Bould Brothers Coffee Cambridge
The garden room  Image credit: Bould Brothers Coffee

The Bould Brothers have come a long way in just three years and have created two really special havens for the city’s tea and coffee lovers.  I can’t wait to see what they do next!

http://www.bouldbrotherscoffee.co.uk

16 Round Church Street, CB5 and 88 Regent Street, CB2

 

 

Cafe Abantu

A pot of really good Darjeeling tea and a slice of the most delicious rose and pistachio cake in this recently opened Hobson Street cafe perked me up on a gloomy February afternoon.  So I popped back (yes … more tea and cake!) to meet owner, Wendy Slade, and to chat about her new venture.

Abantu frontage

Firstly, I’m curious about the cafe’s name.  Wendy explained that the word “abantu” (or derivations of it) means “people” in many African dialects.  Wendy was born and raised in South Africa, where she trained as an accountant.  She came to England with her family twenty years ago.  “But I still miss the drumming heartbeat of Africa,” Wendy tells me.

Abantu pistachio and roseIt wasn’t long before she set up a gift shop, selling Fairtrade goods, at Manor Farm in Bourn, while a friend ran the coffee shop next door.  When the friend left, Wendy took over the coffee shop and taught herself to bake.  Gradually, that side of the business took over and ten years later, Wendy moved the cafe to Wysing Arts Centre, where it won a “Best Cafe in East Anglia” award.

“Then Stickybeaks came up for sale,” explained Wendy, “and our lease at Wysing was coming to an end so I decided to go for it and move into the city centre.”  Wendy and her team of twelve people, including the ex Stickybeaks staff who all joined her, took over the building on 19th January and were open for business at the end of the month.  They had hungry customers queuing down the street on Day 1!

Abantu team

Abantu saladThe Abantu team enjoys working in the open kitchen which Wendy says is run more as a “home” kitchen than an industrial cooking space.  They make all their own cakes and like to keep up with the latest baking trends.  Abantu’s menu changes every day, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients used in a variety of dishes for breakfast and lunch.  There are always three or four salads on offer and Boboti, a South African meatloaf, is a menu staple.

Abantu signVegetarians, vegans and those who eat gluten free are well catered for here and there’s a Bambino menu for kids too, so this really is a destination for the whole family.  Staff are welcoming and the cafe has an airy yet cosy vibe with art from Naomi Davies, a Cambridge artist who works in pen and watercolour, on the walls and a couple of outside tables, ideal for watching the world go by on sunnier days.

 

http://www.cafe-abantu.co.uk

http://www.naomidaviesart.co.uk

42 Hobson Street, Cambridge CB1 1NL