Although no longer a resident, I’m still very interested in Guildford’s speciality coffee scene. I was therefore sad to learn in March that an old favourite, Koja Coffee, had closed after a tumultuous year which saw it move from its original home on Jeffries Passage to New House, a recently-opened space for artists and creatives. However, every cloud has a silver lining and in May I was delighted to learn from Ben Barker that Frida’s Coffee House had opened in Koja’s place. Naturally, I visited the next time I was in Guildford.
If you were familiar with Koja, the set up is very similar, Frida’s occupying a counter inside the lobby to New House. There’s a similar offering too, with the Nom Nom blend from Hundred House along with Perky Blenders’ decaf on espresso, while Hundred House also supplies two single-origins, available as pour-overs through the V60. One change is that Frida’s offers a small range of toasted panini and savoury croissants, plus vegan sausage rolls and the usual selection of cakes/pastries.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
For those not familiar with New House, a three-storey brick building tucked away at the end of Fays Passage, you can find out more about it and how to get there in my write-up of Koja Coffee. The door is at the far end and leads into the lobby, where you’ll find Frida’s Coffee House. Named after Frida, New House’s owner’s dog, it serves as both the in-house coffee shop as well as being open to the public.
You’ll find Frida’s Coffee House on the left as you enter New House, occupying the back half of the neat little entrance lobby. Directly ahead of you, on the far side, double doors lead to the stairs to the two upper floors, which are reserved for artist studios, while to the right, a doorway leads into the gallery and exhibition/workshop space, which doubles as additional seating for Frida’s.
There are two, long thin, four-person tables to the left, with small sofas in each of the far corners, while to the right a similar space has been split into two by a divider, each space containing another long thin, four-person table. There’s one more of these tables which runs right down the middle, while at the back is an office and meeting rooms.
The last of the seating is back in the lobby, which is where I always seem to end up. Frida’s has a makeshift counter with three high stools, ideal for sitting and watching your coffee being made. It also houses the menu for the toasted panini/croissants (left) and the various cakes and pastries (right). The coffee, meanwhile, is made in a separate work area at the back, with the La Spaziale S40 espresso machine on the left and the pour-over bar on the right. There’s also a set of retail shelves immediately to your right as you enter with retail bags of coffee on top and various merchandising.
In a first for Guildford, Frida’s uses friends of the Coffee Spot, Hundred House Coffee, along with a decaf from Perky Blenders. Unusually, Frida’s has chosen Hundred House’s low caffeine Nom Nom blend on espresso, while there are two single-origins on pour-over which change every month or so. I was in the mood for a pour-over and the choice of either an Ethiopian (Gadeb Worka) or an Rwandan (Women’s Crown).
At my barista’s suggestion, I went with the latter, an anaerobic washed coffee which is produced and processed solely by women. This was a very fine, rich coffee, although I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I could have done thanks to a visit to the dentist that morning. My mouth was still rather numb and I fear that the numbness had spread to my taste buds!
However, I still enjoyed it and was sufficiently impressed to buy a bag to take with me on the next turn of the coffee-go-ground. Talking of which, I left the staff at Frida’s one of my last bags of coffee from Australia, the Finca La Julia, an anaerobically processed coffee from Costa Rica, which I’d picked up from Single O in Sydney.
|NEW HOUSE • FAYS PASSAGE • GUILDFORD • GU1 4SQ|
|Monday||07:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Hundred House (espresso + filter) + Peaky Blenders (decaf)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 17:00||Seating||Counter, Tables|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 17:00||Food||Toasties, Cakes|
|Thursday||07:00 – 17:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||16th June 2023|
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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