Surrey Hills Coffee, Jeffries Passage

Details from the A-board outside the new home of Surrey Hills Coffee on Jeffries Passage in Guildford.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.

  • Surrey Hills Coffee on Jeffries passage, as seen approaching from the High Street...
  • ... while this is the view coming the other way from North Street.
  • The view from just inside the door (pictures from June 2018, when it opened).
  • Another panorama from just inside the door.
  • A window-bar runs along the large front window...
  • Another view of the window-bar, the sloping Jeffries Passage running along outside.
  • Behind that is a row of three tables between the window and the counter...
  • ... seen here from the far corner. Already that's way more seating than in Chapel Street.
  • Finally, there's a four-person bar against the left-hand wall.
  • A view of the seating from the far, back-left corner.
  • However, that's only downstairs. In the far corner, steps lead tantalisingly up...
  • ... into this large, spacious upstairs space (photographs from April 2019).
  • The view from the right-hand wall.
  • There's a pair of four-person tables along the back wall...
  • ... and another pair with a padded bench running along the front wall.
  • There's also a three-person bar at the far (left-hand) end.
  • The tables along the front wall, seen from the far side...
  • ... and the tables along the back wall, seen from the same vantage point.
  • All of which leads us back to the door, where you'll find this neat mirror.
  • There's a small water station at the front on the right-hand side...
  • .. while the walls are lined with works of art.
  • It's an eclectic collection...
  • ... with lots of different styles...
  • ... including photographs.
  • All the works are for sale...
  • ... so if you like anything you see...
  • ... you know what to do.
  • Back downstairs and the well-stocked retail shelves are on the wall by the door...
  • However, since spring 2019, the coffee's sold loose in tubs to reduce packaging waste.
  • So, to business. The counter pretty much occupies the back wall...
  • ... with cakes to the right, till in the middle & espresso machine + batch-brew on the left.
  • The counter, seen from the far end.
  • There's a pour-over area behind the counter...
  • ... with bags of the current coffee on the shelves above.
  • The concise menu is also on the wall behind the counter.
  • I always try to bring something back for Surrey Hills: here's a Colombian from Back to Black, spoils of my recent trip to Amsterdam (which is why I missed the opening).
  • In return, I had a flat white, made with the Holmbury Hill house-blend.
  • I returned in April 2019 with this Chinese coffee, a gift from my recent trip to China.
  • I was convinced to stay for another creamy flat white...
  • ... and to try the avocado and feta toast from the new (to me) breakfast menu.
Slider Script by v4.6

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.

April 2019: this is an updated version of the original post which was published in July 2018. You can see what has changed in my Coffee Spot Update.

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!

June 2022: Koja Coffee has left Jeffries Passage and can now be found in New House, down by the River Wey. You can see what I made of it when I visited in September that year.

12 JEFFRIES PASSAGE • GUILDFORD • GU1 4AP +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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