When I think about my favorite coffee shops around the world, they all have a few similar traits: delicious coffee (obviously), a beautiful and inviting interior and a good location. However, one of the most important factors - something that is disappointingly hard to come by - is great service. An otherwise brilliant coffee shop can easily be ruined by apathetic and pretentious baristas. The best shops are those that are equally passionate about its people as its coffee. This is exactly what sets Colonna & Small's in Bath apart from its peers.
We stopped by the coffee shop (puppy in tow) early in the morning before exploring the rest of Bath by foot. While conveniently located, the store is nicely nestled away on Chapel Row away from the crowded city centre. I was initially a little nervous that they wouldn't let Sammy inside, but was immediately reassured that dogs were allowed. I will address this in tomorrow's post about Bath, but I was shocked how pet-friendly the entire city is. Nearly every pub and cafe welcomes four-legged friends.
When you step up to the counter, visitors are greeted with a detailed chalkboard listing the daily beans. Unlike many other coffee shops, Colonna & Small's has a constantly rotating selection of seasonal beans. It can be a bit overwhelming at first. Thankfully, that's where the amazing staff come in. The barista patiently (yet excitedly) walked me through the handful of options and their distinct flavor profiles. We ultimately settled on 2 different beans for our individual lattes, which allowed us to test and compare the varying flavors.
We returned the following day and opted for a siphon brewed coffee instead. The wait was a bit lengthy as the coffee took awhile to brew. Thankfully, the barista happily let me film and photograph the entire process. Unlike your standard filter / pour-over coffee, this method relies on a vacuum effect caused by vapor pressure in the lower chamber. Not only is the gravity-defying process really cool to watch, the finished product retains a lot of the delicate and complex flavors of the beans.
Our only regret was not getting a chance to check out Colonna & Small's new venture, Colonna & Hunter, which brings their same passion for coffee to craft beers and food. I guess it's best we save something for our next trip to Bath.