Today’s Coffee Spot is part Saturday Short, part Coffee Spot update, featuring a familiar name in unfamiliar surroundings, part of Guildford’s ever-changing speciality coffee scene. Regular readers will remember Koja Coffee, which took over from Surrey Hills Coffee on Jeffries Passage in the summer of 2020. In June this year, Koja abruptly disappeared from Jeffries Passage only to reappear inside New House, a recently-opened space for artists and creatives on Fays Passage.
Although the setting is very different, Koja occupying a counter inside the entry lobby to New House, there’s the same basic offering, with a house blend on espresso (roasted for Koja by friends in Suffolk) plus single-origins from NewGround on batch brew and pour-over through the V60. If you’re hungry, Koja has the usual array and cakes and pastries, while fans of the Scandi market which was such a favourite on Jeffries Passage will not be disappointed, since it’s survived the move. The main difference (for now) is that Koja is only serving in disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
The biggest challenge is finding Koja Coffee/New House, while my biggest challenge is describing the location. Fays Passage is down by the River Wey, on the town centre side, just across from the station. Despite the name, New House was scheduled for demolition before the team behind The Boileroom took it on in late 2021, transforming it into a gallery and exhibition/workshop space, with room for 20 artist studios.
A three-storey brick building at the end of Fays Passage, New House has public areas on the ground floor, with the artist studios on the upper two floors. Koja Coffee serves as the in-house coffee shop, but is also open to the public. Located in the entrance foyer, it’s at the far end of New House, accessed via a recessed door. This leads into the foyer, a neat little space with Koja to the left, while to the right, a doorway leads into the gallery and exhibition/workshop space. Finally, on the far side, double doors open onto a lobby with stairs to the upper floor.
There’s not a lot to Koja, which has a small, tiled counter with a pair of high bar-chairs, which provide limited seating, since you also order at the counter. However, you’re welcome to sit in the gallery at any of the free tables. Staying with the counter, the cakes and pastries (which I never could resist) are on the left, while the pour-over bar is on the right, the La Spaziale S40 espresso machine occupying a separate work area behind the counter against the back wall. There’s also a set of retail shelves immediately to your right as you enter, retail bags of coffee on top and coffee-making kit down below.
There’s one other treat: heading through to the lobby, you’ll find Koja’s much-loved Scandi Market on the left, tucked in beside the stairs. It’s stocked with loads of hard-to-find Scandinavian food items, both sweet and savoury.
Although Koja reappeared in New House in the summer, shortly after leaving Jeffries Passage, Victor, Koja’s Swedish owner, explained that this had been a soft opening, allowing him to get a feel for the space. After a short holiday, Koja reopened properly in September, with the same basic offering as before.
There’s a bespoke house blend on espresso, roasted by friends of Koja in Suffolk, with Oxford’s NewGround providing the decaf. It’s a fairly standard menu, with oat milk available as a non-dairy alternative. Turning to filter, Victor is looking to introduce guest roasters, but for now there’s a selection of single-origins (three during my visit) from NewGround, all available as pour-overs through the V60, with one as a daily batch brew.
I had my traditional flat white, this time in my blue Therma Cup, the milk going very nicely with the house blend to create a smooth, sweet coffee with chocolate notes. I also grabbed one of the excellent buns which I took home with me to enjoy later that afternoon, the perfect way to welcome Koja back.
October 2022: following the expense of its unexpected departure from Jeffries Passage this summer, Koja Coffee is running a crowdfunder to cover some of the costs.
|NEW HOUSE • FAYS PASSAGE • GUILDFORD • GU1 4SQ|
|Monday||09:00 – 14:00||Roaster||House blend (espresso) + NewGround (filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 14:00||Seating||Counter, Tables|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 14:00||Food||Cakes|
|Thursday||09:00 – 14:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||09:00 – 14:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Chain||No||Visits||21st September 2022|
If you liked this Coffee Spot, then check out the rest of Guildford’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Guildford.
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