I don’t know if it suggests a rapid decline in horse ownership, or simply an over-abundance of equine transport, but there seems to be a burgeoing industry in converting horseboxes into miniature businesses. Cocktail bars, gin shops, cafés and more are popping up all over the country. My most recent encounter with this phenomenon is the rather lovely Horsebox Coffee Co. This charming busienss has been parked up outside Oxford’s Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museums for the summer season.
They are a welcome addition to a part of town rather short on cafés; the closest are on Turl Street or Little Clarendon if you’re looking for a ‘good’ cup of coffee, which feel like rather a trek away. Horsebox is a small company with its own roastery, where they source beans from smallholdings and collectives where they can ensure ethical and sustainable practices. Despite paying a premium for this, their coffee is no more expensive than your average High Street cup, and is certainly a lot tastier. I’m a relatively recent convert to coffee, having managed to get through the whole of university without a drop passing my lips, but over the last year or so (since starting my current job – which is a lot less intence than that makes it sound!) I’ve finally acquired the taste. Strangely enough it was an espresseo from rival Oxford coffee shop The Missing Bean that got me in the end. So I can’t claim to be a long-time coffee connoisseur, but the rich, subtle taste of Horsebox Coffee Co’s capuccino certainly satisfied me (I’m not totally sold on the flat white life yet…).
In the spirit of being environmentally friendly, you can get two stamps on your loyalty card for bringing your own cup. The staff were super friendly, and after a not particularly productive meeting the cup of bright, delicious coffee they served me was just what I needed.
Sadly I’m not sure how long they’ll be at the MNH/Pitt Rivers lawn, so go visit them while you can! You can follow them on Instagram, and visit their website, including the delightful history of the horsebox itself, which lived a previous life transporting the company founder’s horses and ponies to shows across England. They’re a company that cares about its product all the way through the supply chain, so treat yourself to a stop here for your next cup of joe.