Surrey Hills Coffee

Once upon a time in Chapel Street linking High Street to Castle Street was to be found Turn Fit Deli serving excellent coffee, employing a skilled barista.  It shot straight to No 1 coffee shop in Guildford. It also served excellent food.

Within a few months Turn Fit Deli was taken over by Surrey Hills Coffee, they lost the barista, no longer the excellent food, inedible vegan cakes, that fell to pieces. Overnight the reputation built by Turn Fit Deli lay in ruins.

When ever I walked by, it was empty, or near as. I would occasionally pop in to see if improved, a different person serving coffee, it would be an insult to baristas to call them baristas, it was always the same, poor quality coffee. If I looked at the bags of coffee on the shelves, I would find old coffee, a couple of months past the roast date, best by meaningless.

Two years on, it has closed. No one surprised, it was only a question of time.

Only they have not closed, they have relocated from Chapel Street to Jeffries Passage. The grass greener on the other side, lease expired, cheaper rent?

Walking by it has varied from almost empty to about half full.

New location, had the coffee improved?

Browsing the shelves three different espresso blends, two had robusta, one blend 30% robusta. A couple of single origins. Also loose leaf tea, but if wanted tea, Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage is the place for the tea connoisseur.

I had a cappuccino of the blend that had no robusta. It was ok, not great.

On the counter a few sad looking cakes.

The coffee shop has the feel of a pop up shop. An empty unit, temporary lease, a few tables and chairs dropped in.

I asked the guy serving was it a pop up shop? He did not know, but hoped not as he would be out of a job.

On the door a wish list

  • extended opening hours
  • breakfast and lunch
  • upstairs seating
  • private hire of upstairs room for meetings
  • exciting events

I asked the guy serving to expand on the wish list. He could not. Not his fault. If post a wish list on the door, at least keep staff informed to be able to answer customer questions.

I do not consider 5-30 to be extended opening hours.

That is one of the problems of Guildford, the coffee shops close early. Understandable in the winter, but not in the summer.

I could see no kitchen. Maybe upstairs. Is there A3 planning consent for food?

Coffee shops are not somewhere generally serve good food, and with excellent food in nearby Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage why bother? I can only think of a handful of coffee shops that serve good food, Just Made 33, 200 Degrees, The Square by Coffee Lab.

With many places where can meet for free, hire of a room, unless free,  is a nonstarter.

Why are events exciting? Simply list the events.

The extended hours are to encourage takeaway. Not good even if have compostable cups and reusable cups.

We have a few changes to look out for in the near future. We’ve ticked the first box. We’ve now extended our opening hours and are open between 7:30am-5.30pm. That’s perfect for all commuters to grab a coffee and a cake on the go.

On sale Frank Green reusuable cups, an ugly clone of KeepCup.

We have to eliminate takeaway coffee cups, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

The practice from Chapel Street has been continued, coffee grounds outside free to collect is an excellent idea. More coffee shops need to follow suit.

Jeffries Passage is a poor location for a coffee shop. Not the low footfall, word of mouth if good coffee is sufficient, the downside is lack of outside seating.

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