Treat yourself at The MERL

Enjoy a drink and a treat at The MERL Café within our bright and modern welcome area. There is seating available both indoors and out, with several tables on our patio sheltered by sunshades. Picnic benches with parasols are also available in The MERL garden, a beautiful, peaceful spot to relax.

English tea, filter coffee, soup, sandwiches, and delicious cakes

Tregothnan Tea

As part of our bid to support local and national producers in our shop and café, we are delighted to serve the excellent Tregothnan Tea, the first ever English tea grown and blended in Cornwall, served in innovative loose leaf pyramids made from biodegradable silken tea pouches.

Come and try a selection of delicious varieties. If you enjoy it, you can take some home from our shop too.

Reads Coffee

We serve delicious, freshly brewed filter coffee, available in a mug or cafetiere. Our beans are roasted by Reads Coffee of North Dorset, who have over 20 years’ experience in producing ethically-sourced blends guaranteed to knock your socks off.


While the University is making some changes to its catering arrangements, there will be a brief interruption to our sandwich supply. From 17th September, you’ll be able to enjoy soup, savoury scones, and other light savoury snacks. Normal sandwich service will be resumed shortly!


Enjoy a bowl of delicious soup with bread and butter for £4.50. Now served from 11am. Choose between tomato and basil and our ‘soup of the day’.

Cakes and buns

Choose from a daily selection of delicious cakes, with a range including Lemon Drizzle, Raspberry Bakewell, Caramel Slices, and more.

We offer a daily selection of delicious bakes, including enormous sticky Cinnamon Buns.

A selection of cakes on display in The MERL café.All our cakes are suitable for vegetarians, with vegan and gluten free options also available. Please ask our staff for more info before you choose.

The MERL Membersheep

Do ewe come here often? If you’re a familiar face at The MERL, why not become a MERL member? All you need to do is visit regularly to earn rewards, gain access to exclusive offers, and be among the first to hear new updates from our team.


Working with the University of Reading, we take care to minimise our café waste. We use mugs and china cups and saucers for our café’s hot drinks with disposable cups available only on request. If you do use a disposable cup, please make sure to pop it in a paper cup recycling bin either at The MERL or around the University campus, as we recycle paper cups through CupCycling™ by James Cropper. We also have separate food waste and dry recycling bins.

Refill at Reading

We are a proud member of Refill at Reading, a Transition Town Reading project. This aims to reduce the quantities of disposable cups that go into landfill sites by encouraging the use of reusable cups. Bring your own cup and claim a 20p discount on any hot drink purchased in our café.


If you’re looking for something more substantial, hot and cold lunches are also available in the University of Reading bar, The Dairy next door. Please note that The Dairy operates cash-less tills.

Everyone is welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the garden, where several picnic benches are available for your use.