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Coffee and a chat with Beth from Colonna

Meet Beth, Head of Coffee at Colonna. She’s been there for almost 5 years and is your go-to person for all things coffee – buying, roasting approach and quality!

What does a typical day look like for you?

Most days begin with planning of the roasting schedule for the production team, usually followed by a QC or new sample cupping depending on the day of the week. I’ll help with production most mornings and then spend the afternoon profiling new coffees and working on bespoke customer projects, planning green supply etc!

How did you come to work in coffee?

Tricky question! I graduated with a degree Biomedical Science, but after a year in a  genetic research lab decided it was the not the career path for me – I was fascinated by flavour and interested in coffee and how much diversity there was in the beans but also in the industry, it felt like there were so many exciting ways you could be part of it. My scientific background definitely helped me approach roasting and I started as an Assistant Roaster at Round Hill, but when an opportunity at Colonna arose right at the very start of the roastery journey I jumped at the chance and the rest, I suppose, is history.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in coffee?

I would definitely be in a lab, hopefully working on some sort of exciting flavour or taste experimentation!

Maybe you already have a side project?

No side project just yet, but one day I’d really love to open an all-day cafe/wine bar sort of place!

What’s your favourite thing about living where you do?

I live in Bristol, it’s hard to choose my favourite thing because it is simply an amazing place to live! I love that it is such a green city, lots of trees and plants around – I also adore the diversity of each area and of course the food scene, so many great restaurants and bars to support!

Where do head if you when you have a day off?

On a day off I would pop for a coffee at Full Court Press or perhaps Farro Bakery if I wanted an amazing pastry too, then I’d make a bee line to a new opening South of the river called Sonny Stores where they have a delicious lunch menu and also a cheeky glass of wine. I’d finish off at The Good Measure pub for a locally brewed pale ale.

Do you have any local tips? Maybe there’s a hidden gem you’d like to share? 

A great spot is Two Belly on Whiteladies Road, fridges stacked full of amazing beer, cider and wine. Beautiful cheeses and sourdough, plus a bit of Colonna Coffee on offer too!

What have been your biggest challenges through the pandemic?

I’m a super active person and like to be out and about, little things such as not being able to catch up with friends at my usual yoga studio or pop into my favourite pub without booking were big challenges for me. Though pretty minor compared to what some people have faced of course.

Maxwell Colonna Dashwood and Beth Williams

What’s been keeping you grounded?

Food & online pilates! Lots and lots of cooking and educating myself about wine kept my brain active, and trying out some new pilates classes was an exciting challenge to my technique.

Have you tried your hand at anything new?

I’ve never had too much of a sweet tooth, but I enrolled in a baking course over lockdown – it was called PUFF for anyone interested, I absolutely loved it – and felt that I learnt lots of new skills and made desserts I always deemed impossible to master. I ate A LOT of butter in the process too, never a bad thing.

Are you reading anything you’d like to recommend?

‘Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman’ was absolutely amazing.

Do you have a mantra you live by?

I don’t necessarily have a mantra, but I always try to have a positive outlook and think it’s important to just be yourself & have confidence in that.

And finally…

How do you take your coffee?