Cafe Loco Cream Tea

We have a little obsession, the Philosopher and I. Well, I suppose we have several, if we were to really navel-gaze on the matter, but one passion does stand out above the others.

We dig cafes. We dig huge drinks menus; we dig frothed milk; we dig little round tables with cushioned chairs; we dig indie music. When we were dating, most of our outings involved meeting at a coffee shop and playing footsie under the table studying. It was pretty hip of us to do that, don’t you think? The cafes we frequented made these two dorks in particular feel like smooth operators. Hipsters, even. Cool.

But the Philosopher tells me that coffee shops are now so cool that they have become uncool. Ah, the way of all flesh! And yet, we stubbornly persist in our old age. Also the way of all flesh, come to think of it…

So, the Philosopher and I have decided to use this blog to find the best cafe for a cream tea in Oxford.

Struggling to understand, you Yanks? A cream tea is like manna here in the UK. Real food of the gods kind of stuff: plain or currant scones are served with clotted cream and jam, complete with a pot of tea – hardly ever a single filled mug, mind you, but a mini pot with matching teacup. Its deliciousness is hard to describe but ever so easy to eat.

We began our journey at Cafe Loco, a recognized food establishment right across from Christ Church Meadow, which is one of Oxford’s best-loved tourist spots especially for the adolescent French and aging Japanese populations.

It’s the closest cream tea servery to our house, so when things get desperate Loco is our first stop to fill up the cream tea tank. But how good is it, really?

We decided on an analytical 7 point scale, to be averaged from subset scores in 6 categories: Value, Tea, Scone, Spreads, Service and Ambience. We intend to take up this task with all seriousness.

Now, this modernworkinggirl prefers butter to clotted cream (a travesty, I know, I know), so one essential in a cream tea cafe is readily available butter – for a price, if necessary. They obliged, and charged us 2p, which seemed reasonable enough, if a bit silly.

We spread,

we poured,

we devoured.

One of us, who shall remain unnamed, even scraped the jam/cream bowls.

At £5.50, plus extra for the second teapot, the bang for buck – er, punch for pound – was fairly low. We found the scone flaky with a more than summarily pleasant dusting of powdered sugar. On the other hand, it suffered from a dangerously low raisin count, was far too small to be considered hearty, and definitely lacked structural integrity. The jam was sweet but a bit too storebought (did my tongue taste Tesco?). It was also jelly-like – we go for preserves and let’s face it, who above the age of eight doesn’t – though layered with butter and cream it served its purpose.

All in all, our Cafe Loco cream tea ranked a 4.625 out of a possibly 7, and before you ask yes: every decimal point counts.

Hope your mouth is watering!

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3 thoughts on “Cafe Loco Cream Tea

  1. Hope this obsession continues well into mid-Feb. This Brit/Yank has been deprived way too long and will be a willing guinea pig in the experiment.

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