Koja Coffee

My flat white, made with the house blend at Koja Coffee, in my blue Therma Cup.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.

March 2023: sadly, Koja Coffee has had to close. I wish Victor all the best in his future endeavours.

May 2023: I’ve been told that there is now a new coffee shop in New House, serving Hundred House Coffee, which is excellent news. You can see what I made of Frida’s Coffee House when I visited in June.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Wandering along Onslow Street in Guildford and, just past the Casino Nightclub, there's...
  • ... an interesting new sign on the corner with Bedford Road. It's Koja Coffee! Let's go!
  • Koja Coffee is in New House, which is on Fays Passage. The containers are temporary...
  • ... part of the Walnut Bridge rebuilding. Head along Fays Passage and there's New House.
  • Fays Passage takes you down the left-hand side of the building...
  • ... where you'll find the recessed entrance on your right, at the end of New House.
  • And there's the sign for Koja Coffee, so you know that you've come to the right place.
  • Stepping inside, you'll find Koja Coffee in the entrance foyer. It's off to your left...
  • ... with an island counter at the front and the espresso machine at the back.
  • Turning to your right, a short passage leads to communal seating in the gallery.
  • You're welcome to bring your coffee in here and take a seat at one of the tables.
  • Back in the foyer and looking straight ahead, double doors lead to the stairs.
  • However, if you turn left before the stairs, look what you'll find!
  • It's Koja's much-loved Scandi Market, stocked with hard-to-find Scandinavian items.
  • Returning to the foyer, here's the view back towards the entrance, where...
  • ... on the right as you come in, you'll find a set of coffee-related retail shelves.
  • There's coffee on the top, with coffee-making kit on the bottom two shelves.
  • For now there's just the Koja house blend, but there'll be more in due course.
  • Although it's only small, there are plenty of nice touches, like these boxes wihch have...
  • ... been repurposed as shelves and which can be found on the back wall. Meanwhile...
  • ... this modern take on an old oil lamp can be found on the counter.
  • Talking of which, the neat little counter has a couple of high chairs where you can sit...
  • ... and chat with Victor. This is also where you order, with the cakes and pastries...
  • ... at the left-hand end of the counter...
  • ... and the La Spaziale S40 espresso machine on a separate work area behind.
  • To celebrate Koja's return, I had a flat white in my blue Therma Cup.
  • Victor's latte art is on point, as ever. However...
  • ... I'll leave you with the sticky bun that I took home with me to eat that afternoon.
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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.

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
Saturday CLOSED Wifi No
Sunday CLOSED Power No
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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5 thoughts on “Koja Coffee

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