Guildford has a pop-up espresso bar! How exciting is that? For some reason, I associate pop-up espresso bars (or pop-up anything) with places such as London, Edinburgh or Bristol, not my home town of Guildford, so I, for one, was very excited.
Guerra Coffee has only been going for a few weeks, having sneakily waited until I was out of the country before opening. For those unfamiliar with the pop-up movement, the idea is to occupy unused space, often on a temporary basis. In that vein, Guerra Coffee shares space with the Limelight Portrait Studios on Friary Street, just off the bottom of Guildford’s High Street. However, I get the impression that Guerra would like to be more permanent than the typical pop-up.
Guerra’s focus is firmly on the coffee, with a mission to bring great coffee to a variety of locations (see the Guerra website for more details). It’s great to see Guerra opening up in Guildford, but whether Guildford is equally passionate about good coffee remains to be seen…
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Guerra is the brainchild of businessman James Evans, while the espresso machine is manned by a pair of baristas: Luke (in the mornings) and Sean (in the afternoons). Since I don’t really do mornings, I’ve only met Sean, who is lovely, but I’ve been assured that Luke is lovely too. You really should go down and meet them both! Although, in fairness, I should drag my sorry backside out of bed one morning and go to say hello to Luke.
For some, being a pop-up might be an excuse to cut corners on their coffee, but not Guerra. The beans are from Has Bean, the well-known roaster from Stafford, while both Luke and Sean are passionate about their coffee. The Sanremo espresso machine is a pretty neat bit of kit too. Sean spent a few minutes explaining the rigorous set-up procedure that is gone through each day to ensure the consistency of the coffee.
Of course, none of this would matter much if the coffee wasn’t any good. Regular readers will know that I have this thing about espresso being served in china cups so I was very impressed when I spotted the pair of proper espresso cups on the espresso machine. Regular readers will also know that I’m not a huge fan of fruity coffee. Previous experience has taught me that my palette and Has Bean’s espresso blends do not get on. However, they make for an excellent flat white and so it was at Guerra.
The espresso Sean made me lived up (down?) to these expectations. Not that there was anything wrong with it; it was well made, with a good crema, but too fruity for my palette (if you like that sort of thing, I suspect you will love it, since the flavours came through good and strong). However, the flat white I had on my first visit and the latte I tried on my return were both excellent. The milk had body, but wasn’t too foamy and it didn’t dominate the coffee, especially in the flat white.
If espresso isn’t your thing, there’s also a little filter machine and if coffee’s not your thing, Guerra has hot chocolate and three types of tea. You can have either an excellent little biscotti or a caramelised biscuit with your coffee if you like, but that’s it on the cake front: Guerra really is all about the coffee.
One interesting quirk is that Guerra only accepts card payments. This makes a lot of sense and I expect that we’ll see more of this as times goes on, especially as payment technology evolves and it becomes more cost-effective for low-volume retailers such as Guerra. Right now, Guerra takes Mastercard and Visa (credit and debit cards). You can put your card in the machine, or, if your card supports it, just tap your card on the machine to pay.
The bottom line is that Guerra’s a new venture and, like any new venture, it needs to get itself established. However, being a pop-up, it can just as easily pop-down again, so the message is use it or lose it. If you like good coffee and you want to see an outlet in Guildford that is passionate about its coffee, then get yourself down to Guerra sooner rather than later.
|LIMELIGHT PORTRAIT STUDIO • 1A FRIARY STREET • GUILDFORD • SURREY • GU1 4EH|
|Monday||08:00 – 14:00||Roaster||Has Bean (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 14:00||Seating||N/A|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 14:00||Food||N/A|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Payment||Card Only|
|Saturday||10:00 – 16:00||Wifi||N/A|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||N/A|
|Chain||No||Visits||26th March 2013|
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