Guelph Shops Business Spotlight Profile – Guildsmen Café

Guildsmen Café is a specialty coffee shop, run by a barista and chef, who aim to elevate Guelph’s coffee scene using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and food. Guildsmen Café operates at the Guelph Farmers’ Market. Guildsmen Café has been operating since September 2020.

Meet Jay Lee and Ryan Schnurr, owners of Guildsmen Café

Jay Lee and Ryan Schnurr both love great coffee! Jay started as a production roaster and equipment tech for Planet Bean in 2012 and has since expanded their resume to include head barista at Google Waterloo, and judge/competitor at the Canadian Barista Competition. Ryan has been cooking professionally for over a decade and currently holds the position of café chef at Google Waterloo. Both love great food and drink and hope to contribute both to Guelph!

Both Jay and Ryan grew up outside of Guelph. Jay grew up in Vancouver and Ryan in Kitchener. Jay originally came to Guelph for university and never left. They both recognised there was something special about Guelph with the beautiful sense of community that exists here, and a spark for what the food scene is starting to become. Both Jay and Ryan found that exciting and have enjoyed being a part of it.

Business background

Guildsmen Café opened in September 2020. Jay and Ryan love great coffee and wanted to bring third wave coffee to Guelph in a way that combined Jay’s experience with Ryan’s culinary expertise. As avid marketgoers, they identified an opportunity to introduce specialty coffee to the Guelph Farmers’ Market. They noticed the number of coffee cups carried into the market from every coffee shop found downtown and knew they were the right people to bring the specialty coffee element into the space in a way that was innovative and refreshing.

When asked why it is important to support local, Jay and Ryan responded “People are the heartbeat of this city, and everyone has something unique to offer, which creates a vibrant mosaic within the fabric of this community. When you support local, you play a hand in creating those exceptional offerings that might exist once in a lifetime, rather than mass-manufactured products that everyone has. More importantly, you’re supporting and enriching the lives of people, including the families, kids, and community that love and live here. Support local and support the soul of this city.”

We also asked what makes Guildsmen Café unique, and Jay and Ryan responded with “Everything we do is made in-house and/or thoughtfully sourced. We make all our flavour syrups from organic cane sugar. Our hot chocolates and mochas are made with our very own dark chocolate ganache and we make chai lattes with our own blend of whole-roasted spices. Our coffee comes from our long-time friends at Cavan Coffee and we source our milk from the local Sheldon Creek Dairy. We always have vegan donuts available, made fresh at Sweet Temptations bakery every Saturday morning and all of our takeaway packaging is 100% backyard compostable.”

Guildsmen Café hopes that with local support, they can grow their business enough to eventually open their own brick-and-mortar café and restaurant that is successful enough to be able to give back to the Guelph community. Their dream is to create a community hub that focuses on bringing people together around delicious and creative food and drink.

They enjoy operating at the Guelph Farmers’ Market and had this to say when asked about the market “Come support the Guelph Farmers’ Market! There are so many amazing vendors there, and the market staff have done an incredible job creating a safe space to be during the pandemic. For our part, we have a fantastic lavender latte feature made with culinary lavender, lovingly grown and dried by fellow vendor Baroque Botanicals. We can’t wait to see you there!”

Visit Guildsmen Café’s website to learn more about their great selection of specialty coffee. Please follow local public health guidelines when visiting.

Guelph Shops was launched to help businesses like Guildsmen Café thrive and encourage supporting local. If your business is interested in being included in a Guelph Shops Business Spotlight Profile, please reach out directly to [email protected].

All information within has been verified by Guildsmen Café.

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