For a long time, my home town of Guildford had been crying out for an independent, speciality coffee shop. Then, in 2016, along came Surrey Hills Coffee, a local roaster which opened its own coffee shop on Chapel Street, taking over the lease from TurnFit Deli. These days, Surrey Hills has some good company, with Canopy Coffee opening in 2017 and in 2018, Krema Coffee came along.
However, the shop on Chapel Street was never ideal, effectively being someone else’s space, with a small, cramped layout. The owners, Monika and Chris, who roast all the coffee in a roastery in Forest Green in (you guessed it) the Surrey Hills, had been looking for a new, bigger home and, in June 108, they found one, Surrey Hills moving just a few streets away to Jeffries Passage at the top of the High Street.
The new shop is bright and spacious, spread over two floors. Surrey Hills has its usual coffee offering (espresso, batch-brew filter and pour-over), along with a full retail range of coffee, these days sold loose from tubs rather than in pre-packed bags. If you’re hungry, there’s a light breakfast and lunch menu with a good selection of cakes.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
I’ve always had a special affinity for Surrey Hills, always trying to bring something special back from my travels for the staff. I was therefore delighted when Surrey Hills found its new home in Jeffries Passage. For those that don’t know, Jeffries Passage is a narrow, pedestrian alley running down from the top of the High Street to North Street, with Abbot’s Hospital on the right and a row of shops, mostly two-storey, on the left. The alley doesn’t get much daylight, but this is compensated for by a massive window, which runs the full width of the store (which is about twice as wide as it is deep), terminating in a glass door on the right.
The layout’s simple, the counter occupying the back wall, a small kitchen area tucked under the stairs behind it. A six-person window-bar runs the full width of the window, with a row of three square tables between it and the counter. These have a stools on either side (front and back), with four more stools, one on either end, and two between the three tables, so it seats 10 in all. Finally, a four-person bar lines the left-hand wall.
However, that’s not all. There’s an upstairs, a simple, open rectangular space that provides a quiet, secluded seating area, doubling as an occasional function space. Accessed via a doorway in the back left-hand corner downstairs, an enclosed flight of stairs runs from left-to-right along the back wall of Surrey Hills.
These lead to a single door opening in the back right-hand corner. Two square windows in the corners at the front, are joined by two long, narrow windows running just below the ceiling. This makes for a fairly bright space, aided by the white paintwork and blonde wood furniture, all contrasting with the dark wooden floorboards.
The layout’s fairly simple too. There’s a pair of four-person tables along back wall, with two more along front, where there’s a slightly raised, padded bench. Finally, a broad, three-person bar runs along the left-hand wall. The walls, which could be rather monotonous with their white paintwork, are enlivened by displays of artwork, all of which is for sale.
Turning to the coffee, Surrey Hills is keeping things simple. The Holmbury Hill blend (60% Brazil, 40% Colombia) is on the main grinder, with a guest on the second grinder, plus the Cottage filter-blend on batch-brew through the ever-reliable Moccamaster, available on the counter in a self-serve flask by the till. There’s also pour-over through the Chemex.
I missed the re-opening of Surrey Hills after the move In June 2018, which was cunningly timed for the Saturday of the World of Coffee in Amsterdam, but I popped in the following Saturday to say hello. I brought with me my customary gift, a single-origin Colombian filter from Amsterdam’s Back to Black, which I exchanged for a flat white, made with the Holmbury Hill blend, something of a novelty for me since Monika’s usually pressing the latest single-origin espresso or pour-over on me. I remember enjoying a previous version of the Holmbury Hill as an espresso in Chapel Street, and I’m pleased to say this version went equally well in milk, producing a rich, bold coffee with lots of flavour.
I returned in April 2019, with another gift, this time some Chinese-grown coffee from Mellower Coffee, spoils from my recent trip to Shanghai. I ended up staying for a rich, creamy flat white, plus breakfast, avocado and feta on sourdough toast. This was excellent, my toast loaded with both avocado and feta, a perfect combination.
November 2018: see what I made of Surrey Hills’ new shop in London Square.
August 2020: following a temporary closure due to COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020, the Surrey Hills coffee shop has reopened, but iunder the name Koja, run by Swedish friends of owners Chris and Monika. You can see what I made of it when I visited on just its second day!
|12 JEFFRIES PASSAGE • GUILDFORD • GU1 4AP|
|https://surreyhillscoffee.co.uk||+44 (0)7951 203640|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:30||Roaster||Surrey Hills Coffee (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:30||Seating||Tables, Bars|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:30||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:30 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||11:00 – 17:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||Local||Visits||Originals: 30th June, 17th November 2018
Update: 4th April 2019
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