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.
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.