One of the success stories of the last two years is the growth of speciality coffee in my hometown of Guildford, with at least seven new openings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These range from farm-to-cup operation Ceylon House of Coffee to coffee-shop-in-a-telephone-box, Lily London, with the latest to throw its hat into the ring, Cocco Patisserie & Coffee, which opened its doors in November last year.
Located on Hayden Place, just down the road from Canopy Coffee, Cocco Patisserie & Coffee does what it says on the tin. Occupying a long, thin, light-filled space, you’re immediately assaulted (in a good way) by display cases packed with cakes as you approach the counter. These include a selection of made-to-order celebration cakes which face the door, along with a range of pastries and savoury sandwiches.
If you keep going, you’ll find an equally impressive coffee set-up at the back, where Guildford’s first Victoria Arduino Eagle One espresso machine and a top-of-the-line Mythos grinder speaks to a certain devotion to quality. The coffee, by the way, is from Square Mile, the ubiquitous Red Brick gracing the hopper, another sign from Cocco that it intends its coffee game to be top-notch.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Cocco Patisserie & Coffee is on Hayden Place, opposite the back of Waitrose. It occupies a long, thin space on the corner of The Bars which, until Cocco moved in, had been home to various hair salons during my 25 years in Guildford. The thin side faces Hayden Place, where a solitary table shelters under a red awning, while the long side, which is all windows, runs along The Bars.
The door is at the front, on the right-hand side, with Cocco stretching out ahead of you. The counter, set back on the left, dominates the space, occupying maybe two-thirds of the length of Cocco and just over half its width. This leaves a large space between it and the window at the front, occupied by a seven-person communal table, while on the right, a row of seven two-person tables, chairs back-to-back with each other, runs along the three arched windows.
There’s one more seating area. At the back, beyond the row of tables, is a raised area, separated from the main part of Cocco by a banister. A flight of three steps on the left leads up to the cosy seating area, which has a six-person table on the right while, tucked away on the left, under a magnificent picture of an Italian village, is a luxurious two-person sofa. Finally, a solitary one-person table stands next to the banister at the top of the stairs, offering views up and down Cocco, perhaps the best seat in the house (if you are on your own).
Cocco Patisserie & Coffee is well-named, since it clearly wants to be more than a top-notch coffee shop, attracting customers with its sumptuous cakes. These include large, made-to-order celebration cakes, while more modest individual slices occupy the first of two enclosed display cases down the side of the counter. I describe these as “fancy cakes”, each with two or three layers of sponge, interleaved by cream filling, with a variety of flavours on offer.
For those with a slightly less sweet tooth, there’s a selection of more traditional coffee shop pastries at the end, by the till, where you’ll find croissants, pain aux raisins and the like. In the middle, the second enclosed display case offers some respite from the sweetness with a selection of savoury options, stacked with sandwiches and buns with various fillings.
When it comes to drinks, Cocco offers more than coffee, with a selection of smoothies, juices, tea and hot chocolate. However, it was the coffee which caught my eye when I walked past for the first time after my return from America in November. Looking through the window, I saw the top-of-the-line Victoria Arduino Eagle One espresso machine with its Mythos grinder and immediately knew that Cocco meant business.
Popping inside, I picked up a flat white to go in my Therma Cup, along with a croissant. Sadly, no photographic evidence exists, but both were excellent, the Red Brick combining well with the milk for a rich, smooth flat white. On my return I had an espresso, which I pared with the last of the Pastel de Nata. This was perfect, with a rich, creamy custard filling and a crisp, flaky pastry case. The espresso, meanwhile, was as a nicely rounded, well-balanced shot with a pleasing touch of acidity.
|40 HAYDON PLACE • GUILDFORD • GU1 4NE|
|www.instagram.com/coffeecocco||+44 (0) 7957 616226|
|Monday||08:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Square Mile (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Sofa; Table (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 19:00||Food||Cakes, Sandwiches|
|Thursday||08:00 – 19:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 19:00||Payment||Card + Cash|
|Saturday||08:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||11th January 2022|
If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, then take a look at the rest of Guildford’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Guildford.
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