Meet the owners
A passion for coffee led Ben Griggs to begin roasting beans at his Waresley Park Estate home late last year. Fast forward to May and he launched Bean Theory café in Newnham
What inspired you to launch Bean Theory?
I’ve always had a fascination with coffee – and I was looking for a way to bring people to Waresley Park Estate, which is my family home. I was running our commercial and residential property business, and considered opening a café there. So, I bought a coffee roaster off eBay last November and started roasting coffee, which I really enjoyed. But I soon realised that opening a café in Waresley could be tricky with planning regulations, and we already had our current premises in Newnham as we run the Airbnb upstairs. I had intended to rent the space to another café, but when I started roasting coffee and learning more and more about it, I was hooked. So, I took on a roaster, we started the design and fit out at Bean Theory and built an amazing team!
What do you love about coffee?
It’s like wine really because there is so much to learn and the deeper you dive, the more there is to discover! There’s so much science to the process, so a second either side on the extraction can make the coffee taste bitter or sour. We have our own roastery at Waresley called Hone, and our roaster Andrea devises exact recipes so we can finetune our blends; it’s a constant strive for perfection and that’s where the roastery name, Hone, comes in because we’re constantly honing the blend to make it the best it can be.
Where do you source your beans?
We use distributors in the UK and are currently roasting beans from Rwanda, Columbia, and Costa Rica. We choose fair trade, sustainable, and small lots, wherever possible.
Which drinks do you specialise in?
We make all the classic espresso-based drinks, pour-overs, and cold brews, as well teas, hot chocolates, and iced beverages. We are currently experimenting with creating a ‘pour over’ with orange in it, which was recommended by a Ukrainian barista; I do like to try different things!
Tell us about your food offering. . .
We have delicious pastries from Stir Bakery, cakes, sandwiches, sausage rolls, and will be introducing toasties soon. We always try to source locally, so our bread is from Stir, our cheese is from Rennet & Rind and we work with Cambridge Mushroom Company, which is a really incredible business; we stock their Lion’s Mane Mushroom Coffee.
Bean Theory is in an incredible location, overlooking the River Cam, isn’t it?
It really is; I love the views and there’s so much potential in this area with the punting and The Granta Pub close by. It would be great to draw more people here so it becomes another vibrant quarter of Cambridge, as it’s only a short walk across the river to the city.
What sets your business apart?
I like to think that it’s the quality of the coffee and the fact we are in control of the full coffee journey from selecting the beans to roasting to serving. We never have to rely on anyone else’s quality. Customers say they like our great coffee and cakes, air con, the lovely location and the fact we are dog friendly.
You’ve only been open three months, but what are your hopes for the business?
I’d like to increase the spirit offering in the café and perhaps add jazz and comedy on Fridays and Saturdays to make Bean Theory a bit more of an aperitif bar in the evenings. I do have a mobile gin bar, based in Saffron Walden, called Ginporium, that travels to events all over the country. With Hone, we’d like to start selling our coffee wholesale.
We also produce gin and coffee liqueur which will be coming into the café soon in the form of espresso martinis. Finally, we’ve planted a vineyard in Waresley, so in three years’ time we’ll have our own wine. It’ll be really nice to add our own wine to the café offering!
Bean Theory is at 31 Newnham Road, Cambridge. Visit beantheory.co.uk
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