Colombia Jairo Alban
We sourced this beautiful micro-lot from our friend Aleco at Red Fox Coffee Merchants. Red Fox has been working in Nariño for eleven years with FUDAM (Fundacion Agraria y Ambiental). Raquel and Jeremias Lasso run FUDAM, and under their guidance, they have expanded over the nineteen years they've existed. Traditionally the coffees grown by smallholders like Jairo Alban were purchased as parchment locally for a low price for the overall quality. Raquel has been able to improve growing and processing techniques while also providing the incentive that the specialty coffee market yields to bring in more cash for farmers and farms like El Mango. Roquel is an incredibly kind and driven woman who has spearheaded the quality over quantity push in her area. There are 350 producers within the Association, and together with Pergamino and like-minded roasters, they managed to raise money for new depulpers and African raised-beds for 20% of the Association. The depulpers and raised-beds help clean up the processing of coffee. This is a substantial effort that raises the price and quality of coffee in the area. She also leads a keen focus on helping women producers in the area, which now make up 30% of the Association. Overall she's a badass, and we are totally stoked to be working with her.
WASHED PROCESSED COFFEE
Processing in coffee refers to the conversion of the raw coffee cherry into green coffee, a finished product for roasters to manipulate. Washed coffee can also be known as “wet processed.” It refers to the removal of the fruit that covers the beans (seeds) before they are laid to dry. To do this, coffee cherries are then squeezed through a screen called a pulper. The fruit/skin travels down one shoot, while the coffee beans go into a large tank. The seeds at this point still are covered in a sticky, mucilage-like substance, think the stringy fruit left on a peach pit.
From here, the coffee goes through a 12 to 24-hour fermentation. This step is a delicate time in processing where bacteria is eating and converting the mucilage and changing the flavor of the coffee. If this fermentation happens for too long and the coffee becomes vinegary, too little and you end up drying coffee with mucilage semi-intact. The coffee is finally set out to dry on parabolic beds, raised beds with mini greenhouses. This allows them to have more control over the drying environment allowing airflow and even drying among all the beans. All of these steps have to be subtly altered depending on temperature, time of the harvest, rainfall, and other factors.
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 - Kalita Wave Dripper
15g Coffee : 250g Water 205°F
~2:40 Drain Time
- 50g bloom for 45s
- @45s pour 100g
- @1:10 pour 100g
This coffee wants to drain long, so don’t be scared to grind a little coarser than you usually would. We ground almost as coarse as we would use for a Chemex to achieve this target drain time. The coarser grind and fewer pulses in this recipe help to increase the acidity and mitigate late stage extraction. That means brighter white peach acidity up front, honey-like sweetness throughout, and lightly roasted almond in the finish. If this coffee drains too long and over-extracts, it will taste papery and nutty, and we’ll miss the sweet acidity. If this coffee drains too quickly and under-extracts, you’ll taste tart acidity and not much else.
ESPRESSO - Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars
19g in : ~45g out @ ~23s
We had to go much coarser with this coffee than we traditionally do for espresso because the coffee wanted to finish after 30s. But, once we got down to the 22s-24s range of extraction, we experienced bright stone fruit and rich nuttiness with a syrupy body. We enjoyed this a little more with milk than we did neat. As a cortado, the coffee became roasted almond and dried apricot. In a cappuccino, it was sweet almond milk and light stone fruit. This coffee trends towards over-extraction, so if it does expect lacking acidity and a long bitter finish. If it's under-extracted, expect acidity that is too tart, but didn't drift into salty-savory.
Colombia Jairo Alban
This coffee came from our friends at Red Fox Coffee Merchants. They love coffees from Colombia and take great care in sourcing them. Which is why we love working with them. We purchased eighteen 70-kilo bags of this coffee for $3.45/lb. We cupped it at an 87.5.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $0.90/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased 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 from 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 up front 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.