Hot Numbers

Coffee like you’ve never seen before.

cafe Cambridge coffee hot numbers

Hot Numbers (No.4 Trumpington Street) is what my dad would call a ‘Hipster coffee shop’. They have all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to help make the ‘perfect’ cup of coffee, treating it the way a sommelier would a fine wine.

And, as that name would suggest, as soon as Hot Numbers’ new incarnation had opened, it was filled with hipsters, appearing as if from nowhere. (Or perhaps merely migrating from the other Hot Numbers off Mill Road.) It’s hard to not see a MacBook (or seven) in there.

It’s been open for a few weeks now and, being opposite my department, I’ve been there several times – as has the rest of the faculty it seems.

They serve coffee made fresh from beans from their own roastery. You can’t just order a cappuccino or Americano, though; instead, you choose a size of cup and whether you want milk or water (or neither). If you prefer filter coffee, then you have the alternative choice between an AeroPress (like a huge coffee syringe), a drip filter (more conventional), or a syphon (would look more at home in the chemistry department).

Perfect for a quick caffeine injection.


Tasting notes are listed on a blackboard behind the counter: whether or not you’ll be able to taste the ‘blackcurrant’ or ‘clove’ beneath the overwhelming ‘coffee’ is a true test of your palette.

The prices are perfectly reasonable for the coffee; some of the food is slightly more pricey, but then when have coffee shops ever been a cheap place to grab food? I’ve so far sampled a variety of their baked goods and, from my experience, they vary from good to divine.

Not just any bacon, maple-smoked bacon.


The service isn’t speedy but it is very friendly: one time my coffee took quite a while and, after I enquired about it, it soon arrived in the hands of a very apologetic waitress, complete with a coupon for a free coffee. It might not be the best place for a quick takeaway but makes a great destination to sit and procrastinate with friends – or attempt to work while buzzing on caffeine.

The decor is slightly boring: lots of bare wood and white walls, uncomfortable benches made bearable by decorative cushions. It’s unobtrusive and generally very light though, despite the narrow confines of the shop.

Hot Numbers is worth the visit. You might love the place; you might find it a bit boring or overdone. It only takes a short walk down Trumpington Street (rather than a painstaking trek across Parker’s Piece to their other shop) to find out which.