Canopy Coffee Update

The Canopy logo (the word CANOPY with five leaf outlines above the C & A) in white chalk from the top of the menu board inside Canopy Coffee.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.

  • Canopy Coffee, as was, when I visited in August 2017...
  • ... and the best equivalent shot from my most recent visit in August 2022.
  • The more observant amongst you will notice that Canopy Coffee has undergone...
  • ... a bit of an overhaul when it comes to the decor, although there's more to come.
  • Originally, Canopy had a neat outside seating area to the right...
  • ... but that made way for a to-go window during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This has now become a permanent feature, although the outside seating has returned.
  • DSC_0123
  • You can still go inside through the left-hand door. This is how the seating looked in 2017...
  • ... and here's the broadly equivalent view from August 2022.
  • This L-shaped bench and table is to the right of the door, which is the only...
  • ... part of Canopy's seating to survive largely unscathed.
  • The original Canopy had most of the seating in the room to the right...
  • ... but that made way during the COVID-19 pandemic for the to-go window.
  • This neat little corner bar (seen here in 2017) remains, but isn't often used...
  • ... while the only other seating is this smaller L-shaped bench and table to the right.
  • The counter, which runs along the left & back walls has also changed. Here it is in 2017...
  • ... and here in 2020, when it had already undergone a lot of changes.
  • I don't have an equivalent view from 2022, but here's the left-hand side of the counter...
  • ... and here's the back of the counter, where you order.
  • The busines side of the counter, from August 2022.
  • The coffee menus have always been here (the till was on this side when Canopy opened).
  • The menu board itself has changed...
  • ... and has been like this for a while.
  • This board is from when Canopy was a multi-roaster, showing the different options.
  • It's still in use today, except now Canopy exclusively uses Skylark Coffee.
  • The two-group La Marzocco Linea & its Mythos 1 grinder are still going strong as well.
  • Here's the La Marzocco in August 2022...
  • ... although the Mythos 1 grinder has shuffled over a bit.
  • Canopy stopped doing pour-over during the pandemic, although batch-brew is still...
  • ... availabe, with this big beast replacing the old Moccamaster.
  • Back in the day (2017), the cakes were displayed on the counter top...
  • ... while there was a chiller cabinet at the other end of the counter. That's long gone...
  • ... while this fancy case has long been home to the (much expanded) cake selection.
  • These days, Canopy does a selection of toasties, shown here in a roll-of-paper menu.
  • There's also a selection of retail beans from Skylark for sale.
  • You can also order outside, where the same range is available.
  • Toasties and smoothies are on the inside of the hatch...
  • ... while the drinks menu is to the left.
  • Finally, hanging up on the wall to the left is the bean selection. This is from 2020, when...
  • ... the board had just gone up, while this is the same board from 2022.
  • The green fronds are from this plant in the corner.
  • I've made multiple vists to Canopy since it opened. I'll end with the first coffee that I had...
  • ... a Mormora single-origin espresso from Square Mile, paired with a jam frangipane.
  • I've also had some very tasty lunches over the years, like this avocado on toast.
  • Coming right up to date, my latest coffee was a smooth, sweet flat white which I had...
  • ... last week, along with the vegan flatbread toastie.
  • However, I'll leave you with this bag of coffee I dropped off on Monday as a gift.
Photo Carousel by v4.6

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 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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4 thoughts on “Canopy Coffee Update

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