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Introducing Colonna Labs

Colonna Labs is dedicated to making a contribution to coffee through research and development. Labs is born out of academic collaboration, exploring the intricacies of coffee, from the effect of brewing water on flavour, to the science of sustainability.

Featured product: Compostable capsules

Colonna compostable coffee capsules utilise the best technology available to create a capsule with optimal extraction and brewing quality, whilst also being fully compostable. The capsules are packaged in a nitrogen-flushed bag to maintain their freshness; these are also compostable. Simply place the used capsule and bags in your food waste, ready for collection.

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The compostable capsules research project

At Colonna we want to make it as easy as possible for us all to reduce waste from the production and consumption of coffee. We wanted to achieve a capsule that you could throw away in your household food waste and thus reduce the visible waste from our single serve coffee. In order to do this, we've married the latest compostable technology with our experience of producing incredible flavour with the capsule brew method.

Our first limited run of compostable capsules is now available. We intend to expand this Colonna Labs project and explore the viability of implementing more compostable technology across our capsule product line.

This project coincides with a lifecycle study by the University of Bath, which intends to document the waste involved with each brew method. Whether it be espresso, filter or capsule brewing, they all produce waste. Our role in this project is to provide coffee industry expertise and the findings will inform our work on compostable products.

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Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood

Maxwell is a three-time UK Barista Champion & three-time world finalist. Maxwell is founder of Colonna Coffee, co-author of Water for Coffee with Christopher H. Hendon, and author of the Coffee Dictionary. Maxwell thoroughly values the opportunity to collaborate with experts in various fields to explore research that contributes to an understanding of coffee.

Sustainability Research Team

We are currently collaborating with the department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath who have put together a research team to assess the impact of various coffee beverages and technologies using the life cycle analysis technique. Meet the team.

Dr Alf Hill

Dr Alf Hill

Alf is a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering and a member of academic staff at the University of Bath. He is interested in the development of technologies for low carbon sustainable energy applications. This builds upon his industrial career in the energy sector in the UK and is supported by his specialism in heterogeneous gas phase catalyst design, testing and characterisation. He has previously published research on catalyst design for chemical storage of hydrogen and has developed technology ideas for waste-to-energy applications.

Dr Elias Martinez

Dr Elias Martinez

Dr Elias Martinez Hernandez is originally from Mexico and obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering in the UK. He is currently working on processes that convert organic waste into fuels, chemicals and other products. He applies methods such as life cycle assessment to make such processes more sustainable by improving energy and water efficiency while minimising environmental impacts.

Elis Llyr Jenkins

Elis Llyr Jenkins

Elis Llyr Jenkins is a third year masters student studying Chemical Engineering. Originally from Ammanford, a small town 30 minutes away from Swansea in South Wales, he carried out his secondary education in Maes Yr Yrfa high school an all-welsh speaking school. Elis is also a keen sportsman with rugby being his main sport.

Previous projects

Freezing coffee: A collaboration with Christopher H. Hendon

Latte Art

This peer-reviewed project looks at the effects of freezing roasted coffee beans, and was a collaboration with Christopher H. Hendon amongst others. This study revealed how varying temperatures alter the way the coffee breaks as it is ground, going through a “shatter phase” as the bean is cooled. For the full study follow the link below.

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The Value of Latté Art: A collaboration with Charles Spence & George Van Dorm

Latte Art

Charles and Maxwell collaborated with George Van Dorm on a project that explores the value of latté art and asks coffee consumers if they would pay more for milk-based coffee drinks if latté are is present.

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Water for coffee: A collaboration with Christopher H. Hendon

Latte Art

Water can transform the character of a coffee. It can accentuate its acidity, or wipe it out entirely. It can increase or decrease body and change extraction. It affects the way we roast and the way we brew. Why? Chemistry (and a little bit of physics). This book explores the chemistry of water and the effect it has on coffee.

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