Alistair McCallum-Toppin of AMT Coffee, on his first Oxford stall 25 years ago

Having spent several years in Seattle where real coffee had become a part of daily life, when I arrived in Oxford in 1993, it was a shock that I wasn’t able to find a decent cup of coffee.

It was then that I asked my two brothers, Angus and Allan to join me to create a unique, quality coffee company here named after all of our initials – AMT.

Oxford was the natural place to start our company as it was where we were studying and living at the time. Despite the fact that we had very little, we never gave up on our passion for success which was to build and start a coffee cart outside the Westgate Shopping Centre, as it was then.

Using a traditional Italian lever machine before the important health and safety rules we set out to grow the business and in 1994, through hard work and dedication, managed to successfully launch into Oxford train station where things really took off as Oxford’s commuters finally discovered how real quality coffee should smell, look and taste.

In the past 25 years, we’ve been proud to be pioneers and leaders in the world of coffee and even the kiosk concept itself. As the first national coffee company to introduce Fairtrade coffee (for good reason it costs twice as much) and only serve organic milk as standard (which also for good reason, carries a premium). We were also recently the first coffee retailer to be accredited with the Fair Tax mark, and our most exciting recent innovation is the introduction of 100 per-cent bio-compostable cups and lids which are made from the waste of sugar cane crop.

We are so excited to be the first national coffee company to introduce these cups.

We started our company as a local small vendor on the streets of Oxford and thanks to our customers, AMT Coffee has grown to the success that it is today. St Michael’s Church in Ship Street, and Oxford Station, will always be very special places to us. In fact, most people don’t know that we donated the iron railings in the Church’s forecourt, as they were taken down for the war.

So, we are really excited to have re-launched our historic St Michael’s bar, in celebration of our company’s 25th anniversary. We would love to see our customers come and join us, to thank them (as well as our colleagues in St Michael’s and the Station) for helping us make AMT Coffee what it is today.

AMT Coffee now has over 50 unique sites across the country and in Ireland, in prestigious railway stations, airports, hospitals and universities.

No different than 25 years ago, we are continuing to grow and innovate every day, for our customers. We are also really excited about all other things yet to come.

As always, our mission is to provide our customers with the best coffee in the greenest of cups, guilt free.

Merry Christmas.