Colonna & Small’s (6 Chapel Row, Bath, UK)

It’s been a while since I wrote this little review on the coffee shop, Colonna & Small‘s, who are based in Bath and set up by co-owner Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, UK Barista Champion 2015, 2014 & 2012, World Finalist 2015, 2014 & 2012.  They are described, in short, as being a contemporary cafe with minimalist decor offering specialty coffees alongside various cakes.

I made two visits to Colonna & Small’s during my four-day stay and I can say it was most probably my favourite of all the coffee shops.  This might not sound all that impressive but I was stunned by how big the coffee scene was in such a small area.  There was pretty much a great coffee shop on every road you went down, and I probably missed a few.

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Flat White, Chocolate Truffles & Almond Croissant

During my two visit’s I had multiple coffees as both flat whites and filters. They offer three different coffees for filter and three for espresso, with detailed tasting notes.  The coffee board was well organised and very clear, stating the filter coffee options on one side and the espresso on the other. Out of my many coffees, my favourites were the Kenyan Kamviu PB, with notes of milk chocolate, fruitcake, and Brazil nut. And another favourite was the (washed) Columbian Ignacio Quintero with tasting notes of white grape, lime and toffee, that I had as a filter.  All of the coffee is roasted at the shops own roastery, Colonna, and available to buy in-store.

They had two options for brewing methods. The first method was the Syphon, which I believe all of my filters were made with, and secondly the Aeropress.  I assume they use which ever method suits the given coffee best.  When ordering your drink you can see across the whole bar where the coffee is prepared.  It reminded me of a science laboratory; the way that everything was set out and prepared.  I liked that once you had placed your order you could take your seat and the barista would bring it over when it was ready. A great thing about the service at Colonna is that you were not constantly bombarded by the staff collecting your finished cups etc. They simply waited until you ordered again or simply left to clear your table – which was so refreshing.

The seating was very structured and made good use of the space. Everything was very simple; with white walls and wooden seating.  However, there were some very interesting quirks; including the fireplace that was in the middle of the shop and the wooden slated bar. I did also notice during my visits the type of clientele they attracted with many being business men and women, sometimes coming in for a meeting with colleagues.  Though not all of the public were from this background.  Families with young children and people, like myself, who simply wanted to have a good coffee and catch up.

Unlike many of the coffee shops in the area, they are open before 9am Monday-Saturday and from 10am on Sunday.  For me, this is fantastic as I am not able to function properly without my first cuppa!

All the staff were extremely knowledgeable and friendly and were ready and able to explain to people the different choices of coffee if they were unsure.  It is then no surprise to hear that every member of staff who works there has competed in a coffee competition.  (Full list of accolades, here.)

If you are in the area I urge you check them out. They have a great and varied selection of coffees to choose from and a nice selection treats.

You can find Colonna & Small’s on Twitter & Instagram.  Colonna & Small’s are branching out and will be selling their coffee as capsules, alongside selling them as beans. You can register your interest online and find out more, here.

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My Favourite Places to Eat in Bath 

Here’s a little round-up of my favourite places I ate during my stay in Bath.  I can safely say that there are too many great places to mention so I have just given you a few of my favourites.

Hunter & Sons (Milsom Place, Milsom Street & Broad Street, Bath, BA1 1BZ)

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I had Beans with Westcombe Cheddar on Toast with Bacon & David had Avocado on Toast with Bacon and Poached Egg

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Choclate and Peanut Butter Stout Cake & Brownie with Fudge

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Beans with Westcombe Cheddar on Toast (+ Bacon) 

Chocolate Brownie with Fudge 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Stout Cake

Coffee and craft beer shop, Hunter & Sons offers a diverse Brunch and Lunch Menu.  Following my first visit I was intrigued to try their Beans and Cheese on Toast.  Alongside the dish I had a flat white. I went for the Guetemala La Bolsa, with tasting notes of: malted milk biscuits, almond, caramel and white chocolate, when with steamed milk.  I could really taste the malted milk biscuit flavour, and it paired well with my breakfast.

Hunter & Sons also offer a selection of cakes and nibbles.  On a separate occasion with a glass of wine, we shared both the Brownie with Fudge and a slice of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Stout cake.   I was initially apprehensive to try the Stout cake, however I was totally stunned at how nice it was.  I’m a huge peanut butter fan and this complimented the cake so well.  I definitely could have managed the whole slice myself!

As you can most probably tell I was a huge fan of this place.  It had a great atmosphere day and night and offered a relaxed and chilled environment. It is a great social hub and a place I will most definitely be going back to in the future.

Roman Baths Kitchen (Abbey Church House, 2 hetling court, Bath BA1 1LY)

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Menu

Focaccia and Dips (v) – Hummus, olive oil and balsamic

Marinated Olives

Casa Lia “Condor” Chardonnay, Curico, Chile with tasting notes of: rich fruitful aromas with honeyed notes, well rounded and rich, yet perfectly balanced

We ate at the Roman Baths Kitchen following a recommendation from a friend.  As it was my birthday and lunchtime I suggested we had a few nibbles instead of a full meal.  This was my favourite food of the entire trip, no lie.  The food was perfect with a glass of Chardonnay, and was suprisingly very filling.  I almost didn’t have room for birthday cake…

They are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and offer a good selection of different foods and drink.  I felt very comfortable even though you can tell how up market the Baths Kitchen is.  I couldn’t tell you what it is like in the evening, but I’m sure it has a very similar relaxed dining feel as it does during the day.  It is a place I would most definitely like to go back to again and again.

 

The Oven (21 Westgate St, Bath BA1 1EP)

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An example of one of their pizzas (not my own)

Menu

Sicilian Green Olives

Artisan Bread with Olive Oil & Balsamic

Margherita Pizza 

We may have gone a little overboard with our lunch, but to be honest, I don’t really regret it.  We had some olives and bread to start, followed by a pizza each.  The olives were very good and most probably the best green olives I have tasted in the UK.  I am a huge fan of wood oven pizza, so was looking forward to this a great deal.  I opted for the Margherita even though many would consider this the boring option. But sometimes it just can’t be beaten.  Especially when a little basil leaf is involved!

We sat outside as it was such a lovely day. The decor is very modern with wooden and steel features. They have huge windows that open up completely allowing the inside and out to basically become one.

I don’t have any of my own photos of this meal as I was tiring of taking so many pictures of food. You will just have to trust that this place is most definitely somewhere you should check out for lunch or dinner if you are in the area.

Cascara (3 Upper Borough Walls, Bath BA1 1RG)

I would also just like to mention the homemade vegan (birthday) cake we had from the coffee shop Cascara.  It was super tasty and was just what I was looking for at the time.  I would have loved to have gone back to Cascara for coffee during the day, and it will most definitely be on the list of places to visit again.  They are also dog friendly!

These are only a few places I checked out during my stay, and I’m sure there are a many others I did not have the opportunity to go to.  Please let me know in the comments below of anywhere you think I should visit next time.

Holiday in Bath and Escaping London 

I had never been to Bath before and my boyfriend David hadn’t been in ten years, so we were both very intrigued to see what the city would hold.

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To my delight the place was full of so much history, beauty and plenty of great places for food, alcohol and most importantly coffee. (But more on those in separate posts.)

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During our visit I was intent on visiting the old Roman Baths, taking a boat trip and simply taking in the culture of the city.  I can confirm that it was such a lovely place to escape to. To my amazement the town centre was full of all the main high street shops, so it didn’t feel all that different from any other high street. If you excuse the gorgeous buildings, cathedral and the quaint little baths.  It actually reminded me of a chilled out version of Carnaby Street in London, and a lot of more open and less confined. They had break out zones which consisted of artificial lawn encouraging people to take a break which very nearly enticed me.

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The highlights of the trip (excluding the food and drink side of things) were visiting the Roman Baths, the boat trip that we only ended up traveling one way as we got off at the half way point to have a look around, and then proceeded to walk back…It was actually a very nice walk and an excuse to see more of the local area.  The Pulteney Cruiser takes you through the countryside of the Avon Valley to Bathampton where you can see the old toll bridge with Bathampton weir.  I also really enjoyed our visit to the National Trust’s Prior Park Landscape Garden. I have to admit I was not up for the up hill walk to get there (it was steep and I had a tummy full of pizza), but it was so good to learn about the garden and how it once looked.  It also reminded me of my childhood, as I spent many good days exploring National Trust places. We came across an old swing which we had a go on and we also played a game of Hoops, whilst pretending we were part of the Olympics…no shame!

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I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Bath, and look forward to returning in the future.  Next time the plan is to fit in a trip to the rugby, as it’s the team David supports!

If you have any other great places that you think I should check out on my next visit, please do let me know in the comments below.

Cold Brew Coffee

I have made a point now that it is semi hot in London to drink as many different cold brew coffees as I can before the colder weather prevails…. So in undergoing this not so difficult task I came across the strongly recommended cold brew coffee by Sandows London.  It has such varied nutty flavours, which was highlighted by it being chilled.  You can find this drink in many specialty coffee shops, along with many Marks & Spencers stores.  I enjoyed this coffee at home, in a chilled glass with a huge ice cube to keep it cool.  As you can see below, it comes in the most beautiful of glass bottles, and it was a lovely afternoon treat.  I think you can pick it up for around £3, which I think is very reasonable.

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Timberyard Cold Brew (TY Soho)

The second coffee up on the list is Timberyard‘s cold brew.  I go to TY a lot, and it’s been great to mix up my coffee options.  They serve the cold brew in a small milk bottle, with TY’s signature red cold drink straw, for £3.60.    When you take-away they serve the coffee in a plastic cup with the red straw, and is around £3.  I found the flavours to be very balanced and best enjoyed slowly.

 

Minor Figures Cold Brew Coffee Straight Black | Origin: Ethopia Yirgacheffe (changes depending on season)

 

I picked up a straight black Minor Figures cold brew when visiting the Flying Coffee Bean (FCB) in Tonbridge. They had two options on offer, straight black, or with milk.  Minor Figure’s cold brew comes in a tetrapak carton with a straw, and I picked this up for £2.95.  Flavour-wise I found this to be the most fruity of the three, however I didn’t get to drink this over ice, unlike the other two.   This is a great on-the-go option.

I have to say that cold brew coffee is perfect for when it is too hot to enjoy a hot drink.  And I have to admit I have been pleasantly surprised by my findings so far, I didn’t realise cold brew would be so refreshing. I am still convinced that I will not like cold brew with milk, but I have yet to try it.  If you have any other cold brew coffee recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.

Watch out for my post on making cold brew at home!

 

A Weekend of No Solid Plans

This weekend just gone was the first in a long time where we didn’t have any solid plans.  All we knew was that we wanted to head to Shoreditch to check out a new coffee shop, (which we didn’t end up doing…) and maybe a cheeky trip to the local cinema, if a film took our fancy.  I can confirm that we did make it the cinema, we did make it to a coffee shop, (not in Shoreditch but in Camberwell),  we took a couple of walks round Greenwich park, and we also fitted in a pit stop to the Phoenix, at Denmark Hill station. I have to mention these bad boys Pea, feta and mint arancini balls with smoked tomato houmous, from the starter menu.  They are most probably the best thing I have ever eaten in a pub, no lie! I suggest if you are in the area you pop in, even if it is to only try them! Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of them, you will just have to take my word on it.  I have been thinking about them every time I get hungry….

It may not sound like the most exciting weekend a young 20-something should be up to, but it was a perfect weekend for us!

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The coffee shop in Camberwell was Lumberjack.  It was a nice little find and was a great location if you wanted to do some work, read a book, catch up with friends, or have a general chill out with a nice cup of coffee.  Lumberjack served Old Spike, and I had it as a filter.  The coffee was served in very sweet ceramic mug, provided by Pip Hartle, which I believe you could buy in store – or at least they had an advertisement for the company.

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I loved the general vibe in Lumberjack, it was a great way to start my Sunday morning. I will admit even though I did have two ice creams over the space of the weekend, I did resist any naughty temptations the coffee shop had to offer.  If you have a sweet tooth and love cake, they had a great selection.  One looked to be a party rings cake, with all the e numbers your 5-year-old self graves.  Though personally the chocolate brownie looked the best.

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I have to mention that we had some amazing coffee at home over the weekend.  David brought home from work a couple of samples from the Leeds based roaster, North Star, and we had both the Guetemala La Bolsa Ventanas and the Ethopia Biftu Gudina, through the Chemex.  My personal favourite was the Guetemala as it had such a smooth and textured body, but I can confirm they were both beauties.

I then proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend watching Orange is the New Black – what a series, whilst sipping a very cool cold brew coffee from Sandows. I’ve not really had cold brew before and I am now very much looking forward to trying others, as this was delicious – and perfect for this time of year! 

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Here’s to more weekends like this in future. 

*The coffee samples featured in this post are courtesy of Flying Coffee Bean. 

My Favourite Coffee Posts on Instagram (@jaderoo92)

I have put together a selection of my favourite coffee posts from my Instagram feed –  info included, where relevant! 

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Guetemala Esperanza Huehuetenango filter coffee from TAP Coffee

 

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My current favourite coffee spot in London! Great coffee, great wifi!

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One of my favourite roasters! Both coffees were great as filters

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The coffee of all coffees. This was the coffee that got me into drinking black filters

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Find/follow me on Instagram @jaderoo92 for all things coffee and more!

* Some of the coffee featured in this post was courtesy of @Flying Coffee Bean.

 

Holiday in Cumbria

I spent the past week (Monday- Friday) up in Cumbria, a huge contrast compared to London. We may have almost spent as much time traveling as we did holidaying but it was worth the 7 and half hour car journey home.

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The five days were made up of walks, coffee, card games, Finding Nemo, Wimbledon, food and lots of chilling!

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A highlight for me was finally finding a good location for coffee. It has been an uphill battle in the past to find a flat white anywhere up north..but it is now improving, thankfully!  We checked out The Bristly Hog in Kendal and enjoyed a batch brew filter with a caramel and pecan tray bake slice. The best place for coffee we’ve found so far, so if you are in the area I’d recommend you check them out.

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It has become a tradition to pick up some cheese from the Courtyard Dairy in Settle,  when we visit.  It’s a little drive from where we stay in Cautley, but it’s worth it to sample some great cheeses. The staff are very enthusiastic when they talk about the products and you can really tell they love their job! Safe to say the cheese won’t last long…

Of course the weather could have been nicer, but it was lovely to stay at home that overlooks endless hills and is right by a stream. It was wonderful to wake up to the sound of the gentle stream of water passing by.

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The holiday blues feel like they are already taking hold… but I’ve made the most of no emails, and as little access to my phone as possible. (Aside from typing this of course.)

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