Surrey Hills Coffee Update

Details from the A-board outside the new home of Surrey Hills Coffee on Jeffries Passage in Guildford.Surrey Hills had a legitimate claim to be first speciality coffee shop in my home town of Guildford when it opened on Chapel Street in 2016. That shop is no more, Surrey Hills moving in the summer of 2018 to a much larger space a few streets over on Jeffries Passage. Since then, Surrey Hills has gone from strength to strength, including opening a second outlet in London Square.

When Surrey Hills moved into Jeffries Passage, it initially only occupied the downstairs, although even this was far bigger than the Chapel Street original. However, there is a bonus upstairs area which close to doubles the available space and which has been open for some time now. I popped in at the start of April to check it out before leaving on my latest trip. I also caught up with the latest developments in Surrey Hills’ on-going desire to reduce waste.

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Surrey Hills Coffee, London Square

The interior of the new Surrey Hills Coffee shop at London Square.For the longest time, London Square has just been a large office complex that I walked past on Guildford’s London Road, opposite London Road Station and Guildford High School. Not anymore. While I was flying around the world and swanning off to Manchester and Rome, Surrey Hills Coffee was busy opening a new branch, to go with this year’s relocation to Jeffries Passage.

Not that you’d know from walking past on the street. The new Surrey Hills Coffee is in a container-style cabin in the car park, its back to the main entrance, facing the offices. It’s cosy looking, instantly reminding me of the Grindsmith Pod in Manchester, only with fewer windows. There are a couple of tables outside, which will come into their own during the warmer weather, while inside a pair of three-person bars provide the seating. When it comes to coffee, the Holmbury Hill blend is on espresso, plus a range of cakes, snacks and, at lunchtime, soup and sandwiches/toasties. Even better, although the customers are primarily take-away, there are proper cups!

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Surrey Hills Coffee, Jeffries Passage

Details from the A-board outside the new home of Surrey Hills Coffee on Jeffries Passage in Guildford.For a long time, my home town of Guildford had been crying out for an independent, speciality coffee shop. Then, in 2016, along came Surrey Hills Coffee, a local roaster which opened its own coffee shop on Chapel Street, taking over the lease from TurnFit Deli. These days, Surrey Hills has some good company, with Canopy Coffee opening in 2017 and in 2018, Krema Coffee came along.

However, the shop on Chapel Street was never ideal, effectively being someone else’s space, with a small, cramped layout. The owners, Monika and Chris, who roast all the coffee in a roastery in Forest Green in (you guessed it) the Surrey Hills, had been looking for a new, bigger home and, in June 108, they found one, Surrey Hills moving just a few streets away to Jeffries Passage at the top of the High Street.

The new shop is bright and spacious, spread over two floors. Surrey Hills has its usual coffee offering (espresso, batch-brew filter and pour-over), along with a full retail range of coffee, these days sold loose from tubs rather than in pre-packed bags. If you’re hungry, there’s a light breakfast and lunch menu with a good selection of cakes.

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Krema Coffee Guildford

My piccolo, made with the guest espresso, served in a classic yellow espresso cup at Krema Coffee in Guildford.Krema Coffee started life in Farnham, where the original store opened its doors three years ago. Despite its relatively closeness to Guildford, for a variety of (not very good) reasons, I’ve still not visited, so I was quite pleased when Krema decided to come to me, opening its second store in Guildford. Naturally, the actual opening, at the end of March, took place while I was out of the country, but as soon as I was able, I paid Krema a visit.

Occupying a long, low-ceilinged spot at the castle end of Tunsgate in the centre of Guildford, Krema goes a surprisingly long way back, with a basement-like space at the back. When it comes to the coffee, Krema uses Horsham Coffee Roaster, sadly absent from Guildford town centre since the closure of Bar des Arts (although still available from The Flying Coffee Bean at the station). The Workhorse seasonal blend is the mainstay on the espresso machine, where it’s joined by a single-origin guest (also from Horsham). Meanwhile, there are a couple of options on pour-over through the V60, although in reality you can try any of the beans that Krema has in stock. If you’re hungry, there are light breakfast and lunch menus, backed up with copious quantities of cake.

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Canopy Coffee

A lovely espresso in a classic white cup being enjoyed in the sun at Canopy Coffee, Guildford.In April, I heard rumours of a new coffee shop in my home town of Guildford from my friends at Surrey Hills Coffee. By May, I’d identified the site, an awkwardly-shaped corner unit opposite Waitrose. I became a regular visitor, wandering past and watching the coffee shop, Canopy Coffee, take shape over the next two months, wondering when it would open. The big day came in early July. Naturally, I was in America, so missed it.

Hurrying back, I made up for lost time by becoming a semi-regularly visitor. I’m trying to work my way through the coffee menu, but Jonathon, the owner, changes it faster than I can drink it! A multi-roaster, Canopy gets small quantities of beans from roasters around the country, including Origin, Square Mile and, most recently, North Star. There are two options on espresso, with two more on pour-over through the Kalita Wave or Chemex. Canopy’s also experimenting with batch-brew through the Moccamaster for those in a hurry.

The food, by the way, is as special as the coffee, with an all-day breakfast/lunch menu featuring various staples on toast, locally-produced quiches and salads, backed up by a range of mouth-watering cakes, again all baked locally.

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Surrey Hills Coffee

The Surrey Hills Coffee logo from the back wall of the coffee shop on Chapel Street, Guildford.Guildford has long been crying out for an independent, speciality coffee shop and finally, one has arrived! Surrey Hills Coffee, which has been roasting its own range of espresso & filter blends, plus a growing selection of single-origin coffees in the North Downs, has now opened its own coffee shop, taking over the lease on what was the Turn Fit Deli on Chapel Street.

It’s not a huge space, just a couple of tables, a window-bar and another bar at the back, but it’s bright and welcoming. The main draw is the coffee, although there is tea, soft drinks, plus a range of locally-baked cakes and made-to-order sandwiches, with ingredients from a range of local suppliers.

For somewhere so small, the range of coffee on offer is impressive: there are no fewer than three espresso blends, although if you don’t ask, you’ll get the default, the Holmbury Hill blend, which (in my opinion) is the best of the bunch. If you’re in a hurry, there’s the Cottage filter blend, available from a flask on the counter and made in small batches using the Moccamaster. Finally, if you don’t mind waiting, you can have a single-origin filter hand-made through the Chemex.

September 2017: Surrey Hills no longer offers sandwiches, focusing instead on the impressive range of cakes.

June 2018: Surrey Hills left its original home on Chapel Street and moved to a new spot in Jeffries Passage, between North Street and the High Street.

November 2018: Surrey Hills has opened a second outlet on London Square.

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Kalm Kitchen Café (Glutton & Glee Update)

The Kalm Kitchen logo, the words "Kalm Kitchen" written five times around the circumference of a circle, with the letters "K.K" in the centre, all in white on grey.Glutton & Glee was one of the first places that I wrote about when I started the Coffee Spot in 2012. It’s also in my home-town of Guildford. Back then, with the exception of Bar des Arts, it was a lonely beacon of speciality coffee in a town full of chains. These days, despite the loss of Bar des Arts, it’s slightly less lonely, particularly with recent developments on Chapel Street and elsewhere [coming soon to the Coffee Spot]. It’s also changed its name.

After four years as Glutton & Glee, it became the Kalm Kitchen Café in February 2015. At first, the change was almost imperceptible, but as the year went on, it became more noticeable, although some things, such as Allpress’ Redchurch blend on the espresso machine, remained the same. The sign above the door still said “Glutton & Glee” too, and each time I visited, the staff told me that the rebranding/redecorating would be happening soon.

Then, one day, I went by and it said “Kalm Kitchen” above the door, so I made a note to come back with my camera. And so, yesterday, I did, finally having the perfect combination of a sunny day, my camera and a spare hour or two…

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Flying Coffee Bean, Guildford

The FCB Logo: the letters "FCB" in white in the centre of an orange circle, with "Artisan Espresso Bars" in white around the circumference.The Flying Coffee Bean is a chain of coffee kiosks on stations in the South East. The Guildford one’s been a fixture for several years, but, until recently, I never gave it a second thought. I distinctly remember when, a couple of years before I started the Coffee Spot, I took my coffee (a two-shot latte) back to get an extra shot because all I could taste was milk. The barista didn’t look best pleased, explaining that this was how the customers liked it, at which point I decided to take my custom elsewhere.

Fast forward to six months ago and, for various reasons, I revisited the Flying Coffee Bean. Expecting disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only could I taste the coffee, it was really nice-tasting coffee too! 12-second extractions were a thing of the past and the milk was steamed so it held decent latte-art.

Consider me converted!

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Coffee Charisma Update

Trish, the Proud Owner of Coffee Charisma, at her Stall on Guildford's North Street MarketAs regular readers with long memories will know, my long-time coffee bean supplier is Coffee Charisma on Guildford’s North Street Market. I wrote about Trish and her excellent market stall not long after the Coffee Spot first started. Back then Trish supplied most of my coffee beans, with the exception of my espresso beans, which I got from London’s Algerian Coffee Stores. How things have changed!

Now my coffee comes from all over. Sometimes, it’s gifts from friendly roasters or suppliers (LeedsNorth Star Micro Roasters and the Press Coffeehouse subscription service being the latest examples: thanks guys). Other times I’ve been so impressed with a coffee that I’ve impulse bought a bag (for example, the Tiger Espresso Blend from Steampunk that I had at Monday’s Coffee Spot, Machina Espresso). There’s also the massive haul of coffee I obtained at the London Coffee Festival.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I don’t buy many beans from Trish these days. However, I do make a point of popping in to say hello as I wander by. Last Saturday I noticed that there was something different about the stall, so I strolled over and made a shocking discovery!

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Bar des Arts New Coffee Menu

Bar des Arts shiny new brew bar, complete with ceramic filters.Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the new coffee menu at my favourite Guildford Coffee Spot, Bar des Arts. If you’ve been following the Coffee Spot, you’ll know that this has been the result of lots of careful planning by Sara and her team, in consultation with new roasters, Horsham Coffee Roasters.

I’ve been along for the ride, offering my opinions (at Sara’s request, I hasten to add!), sticking my camera in at inopportune moments and generally documenting the whole process. So it was great to be able to go along on Saturday morning for the start of what will hopefully be a new era, not just for Bar des Arts, but for the whole Guildford coffee scene.

October 2015: Sadly Bar des Arts closed at the start of the month. I’m not sure what, if anything, will take its place.

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