Cambridge-based writer, thinker, psychologist and wandering minstrel
Published December 9th 2013
If you love coffee, your number has been called
Situated on Gwydir Street just off Mill Road, Hot Numbers is both a small art gallery and a café with a relaxed, bohemian atmosphere. It holds regular music and art events and the clientele consist of a range of people from various backgrounds, including students, pensioners, and parents with children. During the week the tables in the right hand part are often filled with young people working on laptops while sipping americanos and chai lattes, while the left (art gallery) side is occupied by family groups. It is a very popular café – last time I visited, on a Monday, it was largely full from midday to 6pm, though you will normally find a seat.
Art gallery side of Hot Numbers
Drinks include various teas and hot chocolate, but as this is a place that describes itself as 'for the discerning coffee enthusiast' you know where the real focus lies. You can select the beans that your coffee is made from, and the beans on offer change with the season (as of November 2013 the options are Bosque Lya and La Joya from el Salvador, and Villa Esperanza from Colombia). Even more impressive, however, is the fact that they roast the beans on-site in their own micro-roastery. I had the Bosque Lya, which I was told they tend to use for black coffee, and enjoyed its strong, rich taste and slightly malty flavours. And if you are really into your coffee you may want to go a step further and take advantage of a special service offered by Hot Numbers that I haven't seen advertised by any other cafe: barista training. The sessions on offer range from a beginner's session in 'Coffee appreciation and cupping' to methods of brewing and 'Latte art'. Complete their six-step training programme and astound your friends with your professional coffee-making skills – more details available on the website.
A delicious chai tea with honey on top
The food selection is limited to soup, sandwiches, cakes and a variety of breakfast items, such as porridge, granola, and smoky bacon sandwich. The toasted feta, pesto and sundried tomato Panini I had was very nice and quite filling. On certain occasions they do more substantial food options, for example I once saw a steak night advertised. These additions to the menu are often done to accompany a gig or similar event being held in the evening. On these occasions they also serve craft beers and local wines.
A lovely lady with latte and laptop
The arch seperating the two halves of the café - plus piano
Hot Numbers is a very nice place to pop in for a drink or snack – and especially a coffee – or to admire the art work on display which changes every few weeks and showcases both established and emerging artists. It is probably one of the more expensive cafes in the Mill Road area, but worth it for the quality and ambience.