Meet the owners

Meet Matt and Judith

From their gloriously indulgent Big Brunch Boards to their divine hand-crafted artisan breads, Stir Cafés and Stir Bakery are spreading joy across Cambridge. Louise Cummings chats to owners Judith and Matt Harrison about their newest city centre bakery shop

The success of Stir Cambridge has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Chesterton Road café buzzes with the happy chatter of locals savouring Chai lattes and tucking into towers of halloumi ‘shrooms on sourdough. In Histon, the café has become a much-loved community hub, with villagers making a regular pilgrimage for award-winning Assembly coffee, delectable cakes and pastries. And behind the scenes at Stir Bakery, talented artisanal bakers, cake makers and pastry chefs are handcrafting the finest slow-fermented loaves to supply Stir’s residential customers and wholesale clients, which include outstanding Cambridge institutions such as The Fitzwilliam Museum.

Owners Judith and Matt Harrison, who are married with three children, decided to open a café back in 2015 out of frustration at the lack of top-quality coffee in CB4.

“We were Chesterton residents and found the absence of a decent local coffee shop quite surprising,” explains Matt.

“So, we had this idea – which many people do – that it would be quite nice to have a coffee shop!”

Stir quickly became a big hit with customers, owing to a combination of fresh, locally sourced food and exceptional customer service.

“We wanted to appeal to locals, families, dog walkers and the rowing crews,” says Matt. “So, we made space for buggies, added a long table to the back room for the rowers, provided clips for dog leads, and offered babycinos and kids’ toasties.”

Stir’s Bakery opened in 2017, in an adjoining unit, as the café was struggling to source top-notch bread, pastry and cake suppliers. When the pandemic hit, production was upscaled and wide-scale home delivery introduced.

Being Histon residents themselves, the lure of a village café was too much to resist for Judith and Matt, so Stir Histon was born in 2021. Bakery production was moved to a new, larger dedicated unit near Cambridge North Station in May 2022.

“We felt there was a gap in the Cambridge market for a bakery where amazing bread was being handmade by artisanal bakers, using the finest, quality natural ingredients, but on almost a factory scale, with the service and support we ourselves expect from our own suppliers,” explains Matt.

A bold but brilliant move, Stir Bakery, now staffed by a talented team of more than 20, has won a host of national awards, including Britain’s Best Gluten Free Loaf in the 2022 British Baking Awards.

The scale of production is remarkable, as Judith explains: “Our bakers made 2,500 hot cross buns over two weeks at Easter – and they were so popular, that long after they sold out, we still had customers popping in asking for them!”

With increased capacity to bake, Stir has expanded its wholesale business, and boasts an impressive client list.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be supplying Stir Bakery goods to the Café at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Parker’s Tavern at the University Arms, Trinity College, The Graduate Hotel, The Pint Shop, The Gog Magog Farm Shop, Burwash Larder, Stapleford Granary Arts Centre, The Café at the Botanical Gardens and Kettle’s Yard. These are all iconic venues which we are so proud to be supplying!” enthuses Matt.

The newest member of the family is Stir’s city centre bakery shop in Green Street, which opened its doors in March, stocking a wide range of freshly-baked bread (including their brioche buns which won Gold in the World Bread Awards), pastries, cakes and freshly prepared sandwiches using Stir’s Silver award-winning focaccia and individually rolled, seeded bagels.

You will also find their famous cinnamon knots, a selection of doughnuts (including Ferrero Rocher!), plus fresh coffee, juices and smoothies.

“Customer favourites so far are our pastrami, cream cheese and pickle seeded bagels and our signature spinach and feta savoury buns,” says Judith.

“Perfect for a delicious lunch time bite!”

Not ones to rest on their laurels, Judith and Matt are planning their next Stir launch, a Stir bakery shop on Fulbourn High Street, due to open this summer.

“We now have the capacity to open more outlets and make the whole Stir offering available to more people across Cambridge,” says Matt.

“We are excited about Fulbourn, which will have a similar feel to and look of Green Street and will be our first venture in the south of Cambridge.”

Stir’s ambitions continue to rise, but Judith and Matt are as passionate as ever about the customers who buy into their brand day in, day out.

“During lockdown, I did a lot of the bakery deliveries myself and really got to know customers, many of whom were isolating due to health conditions. That was a real privilege and we were so glad to be able
to offer that service to everyone,” explains Judith.

“Another wonderful consequence from opening Stir has been that in getting to know our customers, many have become good friends – that’s been the icing on the cake (excuse the pun!).”

Stir’s latest bakery is at 12 Green Street Cambridge. Find out more at


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