It’s been just over five years since I first visited Canopy Coffee, at the time, Guildford’s newest speciality coffee shop. Very much the creation of its owner, Jonathon, Canopy was a wonderful multi-roaster coffee shop, one of Guildford’s coffee pioneers, as well as offering some fantastic food. Jonathon also did an amazing job of turning an awkward corner spot opposite Waitrose into a cosy coffee shop.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Jonathon reinvented the space, turning Canopy into a take-away coffee shop, the first of Guildford’s speciality coffee shops to re-open. Although Canopy reopened some limited indoor seating, it retained the takeaway window, effectively becoming a sit-in/take-away hybrid.
Jonathon always said that he wouldn’t be at Canopy forever and, true to his word, this time last year, he sold Canopy to its current owner, Jackie, an Australian who has been running cafés in the UK for over 15 years. I’ve visited Canopy a few times since the change of ownership, so I thought it was high time I did an actual Coffee Shop update.
You can see what’s changed after the gallery.
Jackie’s approach since taking over Canopy Coffee has been one of gradual change, building on what Jonathon had created but taking it in her own direction. The result is a coffee shop which is simultaneously very familiar, but also subtly different. The most striking change from the original Canopy is the addition of the takeaway window, occupying what was once the second door on the right.
This came about in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now a permanent feature, effectively making Canopy two coffee shops in one. On the left is the traditional coffee shop, where you can order and have a sit down (although you can also order takeaway here), while on the right is the to-go hatch with limited outside seating, a popular option during sunny summer days.
The most notable difference since the take-over and one that struck me on my latest visit, is that Canopy is now sporting a new black paint job, replacing the old whitewashed exterior (don’t worry, the walls inside are still painted white). Jackie, who I met on my latest visit, has plans for the windows that flank the main door on the left, so it’s still a work in progress, but the new Canopy is looking very smart.
Stepping inside, the seating is very limited compared to pre-pandemic days. The counter remains the same, occupying the left-hand and back walls of this side of Canopy, although it’s less of a focal point than it used to be. The L-shaped bench and its table also remain in the window to the right. However, the seating that used to occupy the right-hand side of Canopy has almost completely gone, making way for the to-go hatch and its supporting operations. There’s now a single L-shaped bench and table, shorter than the one in the right-hand side, and while the tiny L-shaped corner bar is still there at the back, it’s not really used, other than by the staff.
The other changes have come on the service side. Being a multi-roaster coffee shop was always Jonathon’s passion, and even though the range coffee being offered was reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was still a regular cast of roasters appearing on the board. With the change of ownership, Canopy has switched to using Skylark Coffee from Brighton (one of the regulars on Jonathon’s rotation) with an exclusive blend on espresso, where it’s joined by a decaf and a regularly-rotating single-origin batch brew. There’s also a range of retail bags of coffee for sale.
While I loved that Canopy was a multi-roaster, it’s something that takes a lot of effort. While Jackie could have carried it on, I think the move to Skylark is a very sensible one. Jackie’s passion is food along with great coffee and it’s always best to play to your strengths rather than try to replicate what’s gone before. While Canopy always did great food, there is more of a focus on this now, with a wide range of cakes and pastries, plus a daily selection of three toasties, one vegan and one vegetarian. On my return from Atlanta, I popped in for the very tasty vegan flatbread and a smooth, sweet flat white, confirming that Canopy’s high standards are still in place.
I also dropped off a gift of a bag of an anaerobic natural coffee from Jakub Lazuardi in Maribaya, Indonesia. This was roasted by Black & White Coffee Roasters form North Carolina, which I bought at The Coffee Movement in San Francisco.
|62 HAYDON PLACE • GUILDFORD • GU1 4NE|
|www.instagram.com/canopy_coffee||Tel: +44 1483 857620|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:30||Roaster||Skylark Coffee (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:30||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:30||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||08:30 – 17:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||09:30 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: July, August 2017
Update: 18th, 22nd August 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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