Our Story

Maxwell and Lesley's coffee journey started in Australia in 2008.

In Melbourne, they discovered an underground movement called Third Wave coffee. Captivated by the flavour and provenance-driven approach to coffee, they dove in head-first and learned everything possible about this enigmatic drink. Maxwell and Lesley were driven by the opportunity to learn and innovate at a time when people were beginning to think differently about what coffee could be.

In 2009, they opened the destination coffee shop Colonna & Small’s in Bath, UK. The shop was dedicated to showcasing the most exceptional coffees in a space built to engage a conversation around coffee. Colonna & Small’s soon became internationally recognised and was awarded the ‘Best Coffee Shop in Europe’ title in 2016.

Global recognition

Colonna & Small's quickly became a hub for innovation. Maxwell and Lesley built a team and grew a customer base, who all shared their passion for great coffee. The company became part of the international coffee circuit, seeing Maxwell taking part in coffee competitions, collaborating with industry experts, scientists and inventors from many different fields.

Together they were trying to answer the unanswered and surprisingly complex questions in coffee, which all centred around the pursuit of flavour and understanding what actually makes coffee great.

Our founder Maxwell won the UK barista championship in 2012, 2014 & 2015. This connected us with a global network of fellow coffee enthusiasts and allowed us to collaborate further and wider in the pursuit of exceptional coffee.

The pursuit of flavour is simply asking the question: What makes coffee great?

Colonna Coffee

The roastery was launched in 2015, as we sought to take more control of the sourcing and flavour profiling of our coffees. As a roastery we seek to build relationships both with our customers and our partners who share in our fascination and pursuit of exceptional coffee. You can find our coffee being meticulously brewed and presented around the world with select partners.

We have co-authored published scientific papers on coffee delving into the complexities of water science and frozen grinding, as well as sensory science and sustainability. Every research project started with a simple day-to-day coffee problem, an observation that didn’t quite make sense at the time and more importantly — got in the way of good coffee!

Innovation in coffee

The findings from research are followed by a desire to find solutions and improvements to industry problems. We are innovators who commit our energy and resource to making coffee better and in doing so we are driven by making the biggest changes that improve coffee for people. In 2016 we re-imagined the use of state of the art capsule technology as a vehicle for speciality coffee and we incubated the Peak Water Project that launched in 2020. We continue to dedicate resource to research and innovation. As is the way with that rabbit hole, who knows what we will find and be able to share in coming years.

We are passionate about what coffee is, but also about what it can be and the pursuit of perfection in coffee. We are building a company that is driven by the ambition to share this with our customers.

Join us on the journey.