How Bogota became the best coffee spot in Milton Keynes

AD – This is part of a paid partnership with Blue Collar Business Counsel.

If you’re a local coffee lover, it’s likely that you’ve visited or heard of Bogota Coffee Company. Bogota is an independent coffee shop based in The Hub in Central Milton Keynes and was the first independent speciality coffee bar in MK. In a town that can often feel saturated by chains, it has done an incredible job of becoming one of the best destinations for great coffee in the area.

Its sister café, Fourth & Fifth, has today announced the sad news that it will be closing at the end of September. For many business owners, a closure of one of their sites would be seen as a setback, but for founder Paul Ashby, it’s onwards and upwards, both with Bogota and his new business venture.

I’m thrilled to bring you an exclusive blog post in collaboration with Paul which tells the story of Bogota, the peaks and troughs of owning a small business and how it became to be the best coffee spot in Milton Keynes.

A cup of coffee in a black Bogota Coffee Co. cup and saucer

Small beginnings

As with many businesses, Bogota started very small! Paul’s friends – and now business partners – Andrea and Carl, were moving back to the UK from Bogota and wanted to set up a business. They had made many contacts with coffee farmers and roasters during their time in the coffee capital of Colombia.

“….the interior has pretty much stayed the same since Bogota first opened, becoming a recognisable part of the brand.”

Bogota started life as a market stall (pictured below) selling coffee imported from Colombia at farmers’ markets. Six months after starting their stall, they took on an empty unit in The Hub in Central Milton Keynes and in February 2014. Bogota Coffee Co. as you know it today was born!

Bogota Coffee Company’s market stand in 2013. Image: Paul Ashby.

Expansion

Bogota’s look and feel are my favourite things about the place. Slick, trendy yet cosy, it has the feel of an old record shop in the middle of London about it. When it came to choosing an interior, Paul, Andrea and Carl explored many different coffee shops in London but it was actually a barbershop that inspired the design.

After approaching the owner of the shop in Letchworth, it transpired that he was the one who fitted it out! And the interior has pretty much stayed the same since Bogota first opened, becoming a recognisable part of the brand.

Image courtesy of Tapeline Recordings
bogota, bogota milton keynes
Inside Bogota Coffee Company, 2017. Image: sophieetc.com

Bogota Coffee Co. is open every day (except Thursdays) 9am – 3pm. Find it in The Hub, just opposite Sainsbury’s in Central Milton Keynes.

In the first few months of opening, Bogota was approached by Jigsaw in Centre:MK who offered them the opportunity to open up a pop-up inside the shop. Things didn’t quite work out, but it gave the team, Paul in particular, some valuable lessons which he brings to this new business – including knowing exactly what you signed up for!

It was this bright, modern feel of the Jigsaw pop-up that inspired the look and feel of Paul’s next venture with his partners, Fourth & Fifth.

Today, Bogota is immensely popular and an integral part of the independent food and drink scene in Milton Keynes. From small beginnings to being able to open almost every day post-lockdown, the hard work that the team has put in since those small beginnings is apparent.

Bogota Coffee Company’s pop-up in Jigsaw in Centre:MK.

Opening Fourth & Fifth

With Bogota at its height, Paul and his partners were approached by the landlord about a large space in the newly refurbished Witan Studios. He wanted Bogota because of what they were bringing to MK. So after some hesitation, they took the opportunity and went ahead with the new venue. The name Fourth & Fifth nods to NYC, as well as it being located between Upper Fourth Street and Upper Fifth Street. Fourth & Fifth opened its doors in 2017.

“It was this bright, modern feel of the Jigsaw pop up that inspired Bogota’s next venture, Fourth & Fifth”

Fourth & Fifth in progress.

Fourth & Fifth has become one of the best spots in Milton Keynes for brunch for many people. It’s bright, bold interior makes it a great destination for meetings and the coffee is off the hook.

I’ll be so sad to see this place go (the coffee really is amazing!) so make sure you pay them a visit this month.

Inside Fourth & Fifth. Image courtesy of Ian Jamieson Photography

What’s next?

Bogota has truly become one of the best destinations for coffee in Milton Keynes. At least, it’s my favourite, and whenever anyone asks for a recommendation, it’s the first place I suggest. Although Fourth & Fifth has no plans to open another venue, Paul is moving forward with a new business venture that I am sure will be of interest to some of my readers who have small businesses.

Born out of helping other small businesses during lockdown, Blue Collar Business Counsel is a straight-talking business consultancy that offers advice and support for any kind of small or micro-businesses. As someone who has owned businesses over the years and been in a similar position to many business owners, Paul can bring his experience to the table to help others.

To find out more, visit www.bluecollarbusiness.co.uk.

I’ll be sharing an exclusive video interview on my IGTV and Facebook page tomorrow where I chat to Paul about Fourth & Fifth’s closure and find out a little bit more about his new business – Stay tuned!

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DISCLAIMER: This post is part of a paid content campaign. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

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Hello!

I'm Sophie, a 20-something blogger and content creator helping you to discover great independent eats and adventures in Milton Keynes. I work with and champion local businesses to show people that there's more to MK than chain restaurants and roundabouts.

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2 Comments

  1. Carolin wrote:

    Lovely little spot in MK, would defo check it out. Have actually never really been “properly” to MK to explore only on the train on the way through tbh but this place looks nice and they serve pancakes so I’m sold 🙂

    Carolin | Style Lingua

    Posted 9.16.20 Reply
    • Sophie wrote:

      Ahh Bogota is one of MK’s gems for sure!!

      Posted 9.22.20 Reply