Colombia Rio Paéz
Coffees from Inzá have a special place in our hearts. We worked with Dan at Coffee Shrub to find this stunning microlot. This coffee nearly didn't make it to our loading dock, due to the many hurdles caused by a global pandemic… After a few shipping setbacks and impromptu cupping at home, this coffee made it to our door safely. What we experienced during that home cupping brought us back to a time when we traveled the world visiting friends like Pedro Echavarría with Pergamino Coffee in Medellín. The amount of high-quality coffees that pass through the lab, there is quite astounding, and this coffee doesn't miss the mark. Often there are a few lots from neighboring farms that aren't high enough volume for export, so people like Dan Wood and Pedro Echavarría step in to build a profiled microlot from these small pickings. This particular coffee is built up from three producers in Southwestern Colombia called Inzá. The three farms are located in Belen, Pedregal, and San Rafael. Like much of Colombia, the altitudes vary from 1600 all the way up to 2000 MASL. The Rio Páez river leads you from La Plata to Inzá, right into the village where these coffees are grown. Traditionally the coffee varieties grown in this province are much like the rest of Colombia. Small mixes of Castillo, Caturra, and Colombia are grown with little separation on smallholder's farms. It's very common to drive into a farm and find a central beneficio where a traditional style hand-crank pulper is processing the coffee from the day. Once it's depulped, it's fermented, and the sticky mucilage is washed off and dried on raised beds.
Once the coffee is picked, processed, and dried, it still has a necessary step before it's ready for export. Dried coffee, which we refer to as parchment. The final processing stage is not only to remove the dried layer of parchment from the seed, but it's also a stage in many levels of quality checks that coffee passes through in Colombia. The first stage is hulling and de-stoning, removing the parchment as well as any chips of drying beds that may have gotten into the coffee. Parchment is separated by air and used as a fuel source for other stages of milling that may require heat. Once the seeds are hulled, they're then separated by size or screen size. The screens they pass through, and the final prep size is dictated by contract specifications. From sizing, the coffees are then separated by density, as a final check that the exportable green coffee is homogeneous before it gets to the roaster. Density is separated on a densimetric table. This is a clever bit of technology that allows more dense seeds to climb up, while the less dense coffees are separated off the bottom. Density is extremely important when it comes to roasting, as less dense coffees tend to roast at a different rate than denser, leading to uneven roasts. The final stage is a visual check, done by an optical sorter. Coffee is passed at a high rate of speed through a vertical chute, where cameras capture color and visual info about the coffee, quickly separating seeds that don't meet standards with a puff of air. As technology continues to evolve in coffee, preparation gets better and better, improving cup quality by many points...
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER – Coming soon...
ESPRESSO – Coming soon...
Colombia Rio Paéz
This is a coffee from our friends at Pergamino Coffee by way of Coffee Shrub. Dan Wood from Coffee Shrub went out of his way in a pandemic to ship out samples from his home, that we in turn cupped in our own homes. We purchased sixteen, 70-kilo bags at $3.90 per pound, cupping it 86.75 points on the SCA scoresheet as a spot offering. We purchased this coffee alongside the Colombia Urraeños de Pavón.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.09/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we bought this coffee.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out of the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as the final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage upfront upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.