Coffee Culture is a delectable little independent coffee shop that has sat in the heart of Guildford town centre for seventeen years now. It opened its doors back in 1999 which was even before the first Starbucks had hit the cobbled streets of our fair town. And sitting next to Bill’s restaurant in Angel Gate, it could not have a more central or sought after location – the perfect place to nip in for breakfast, lunch or tea whilst at work or having a snoop around the stores.
The coffee shop prides itself on being rooted within the community; only sourcing local products wherever it can. For example, they get their tasty, homemade muffins from Glyn, who also lives and works in Guildford, their bread and pastries are sourced from a local bakery in Bookham and their cakes are from a lady who lives just outside of Aldershot. They don’t buy in prepared food either, oh no; all their other pastries, panini’s, bagels, sandwiches and toasties are baked or made freshly that day in the their kitchen. This way they can control quality as well, instead of leaving it in the hands of an outside supplier – which is another thoughtful addition.
So what about their coffee then? Well it is sourced from Matthew Algie roasting house, which is one of the oldest and most established in the UK and they themselves are pretty serious about coffee. It is all Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic, meaning it is being produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. The particular coffee that Coffee Culture use is a blend of beans from four different sources, two in South America (Brazil and Columbia) and two from Africa (Kenya, Tanzania). The result is a perfectly balanced, roasted crema coffee. This is what part-owner Will Gill has to say about it, “I think it’s the best coffee in Guildford and I will challenge anyone on that!”
Will and his wife Claire bought the shop back in 2004 and between them they had over 45 years of retail experience, having previously both worked for M&S. Therefore, they fully understand what a good product is and what it takes to sell. However, above all, they wanted to provide a good customer service and a friendly environment for all those who chose to visit them, as supported by their tagline, “We serve great coffee and food by friendly staff…”. Not only that, but they are always striving to improve. They won the Best Independent Customer Award in the Food & Drink category this year run by Experience Guildford, which was a result of customer feedback and a mystery shopper visit.
The final point worth noting about Coffee Culture is the feel of the shop itself. As it is totally independent, you will not sit in another coffee shop in Guildford or in fact the UK that really is anything like it. In March 2013, they had a huge refurbishment to spruce the place up a bit and give it an even more unique feel, and yes, you guessed it, even the interior design company they used were local (from Godalming to be precise). Now the place has a look more accustomed to a New York dinner on the inside and a beautiful English tea room on the outside, where you can enjoy a coffee and a snack in the beautiful Angel Gate courtyard.
At Coffee Culture you can get free wifi, a great cuppa and some delicious homemade, locally sourced food. You can sit in a modern, chilled environment and read the paper, knowing that your money isn’t going to a huge corporation, whilst everything being served will be with a smile.
You can visit their website at http://www.mycoffeeculture.co.uk/