I’m back in London after a long weekend in the English countryside with Sandy and my parents! We toured Somerset and Devon, slept in a caravan and gorged on great food. I loved the green landscapes of Exmoor National Park, the long stretches of yellow rape seed flowers, the beautiful beaches of the English Riviera, the tea rooms and organic farms of Devon. The highlight of the weekend was visiting Colonna & Small’s in Bath.
An espresso café and brew bar, it is renowned because of his co-owner Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, recently crowned UK Barista Champion 2012 (update: Maxwell was Barista Champion and world finalist in 2012,2014 & 2015).
I saw Maxwell compete at the UK Barista Championship in London last weekend: in 15 minutes he prepared and served 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 espresso-based signature drinks. His performance was flawless, the audience was silent and in awe!
After watching the UKBC and with my trip to Somerset already planned, a pit-stop in Bath to visit Colonna & Small’s was a must!
The essence of this shop is not only making good coffee but most of all helping the customers understand more about coffee and how to drink it best: the walls are decorated with information about processing and brewing methods; the barista recommended us not to add sugar to our coffees to really feel the taste; they have a space downstairs for coffee tastings and there’s even a coffee flavour wheel on the toilet wall!
Maxwell and Lesley Colonna-Dashwood source their coffees from four main roasters: Origin Coffee, Square mile Coffee, James Gourmet Coffee and Hasbean. All have direct relationships with growers, and the focus is on the flavour diversities and varietals grown. The types of coffees are changed every week and with the changing seasons, and the choices are written on a chalk board. [quote from The Foodie Bugle]
Maxwell was not in the shop when I visited, but all the baristas at Colonna & Small’s are experts and will help you choose your coffee. We ordered Hasbean Rwanda SACOF Rulindo Cup of Excellence, hand brewed with the Clever Coffee Dripper; a Piccolo made with Sidamo coffee from Ethiopia and a Flat White made with a blend of Brazilian coffees (70% Mariano and 30% Das Almas).
The space is beautiful and bright, with white walls and lots of light. The blue cups and wooden furniture add a warm touch to the interiors. The table and bar stools were full, mainly with couples or lonely guys and their Macs.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Bath and Colonna & Small’s is certainly one of them!