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Colombia La Cristina Processing Set - SOLD OUT


The three Valdes family farms—Parana, La Cristalina, and San Pablo—are highly technified properties, with admirable levels of production thanks to their combined total of 421,000 trees, 142,000 of which grow on Finca La Cristalina. Each year portions of the farm are replanted, always keeping in mind biodiversity and the environment. The ecological mill is where washed lots of coffee are depulped, and the pulp is placed in a compost treatment to be converted to organic fertilizer for the coffee trees.


Coffee cultivation complements a system of regulated shade with tree species, including walnut, red cedar, and guava, which create habitats for many species of birds. Finca Cristalina plants black cedar, a tree at risk for extinction, from its own nursery in the coffee fields. The post-harvest registration system on the farm permits full traceability of each lot. Parana is the oldest of the three farms and has been in the family for more than one hundred years, today belonging to the fourth generation. Silvio Valdes was the original owner, and upon his death, his property was left to his five children, some of whom sold their portions. But, beginning in 1960, the sold portions were re-purchased and by 1999 the full family legacy had been recuperated.



Caldas is one of Colombia’s principal coffee-growing Departments. Along with neighboring Risaralda and Quindío, it forms part of the “coffee axis” or “coffee triangle,” indicating the important coffee activities—from research to social support programs to freeze-drying to dry milling—that take place in the area, which is, in turn, part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape, recognized by UNESCO as a World Coffee Cultural Heritage site.


Caldas’ rolling landscape is defined by slopes planted with coffee. High, chilly cities and towns sit along mountain ridges, where smallholder farms and mid-sized estates are planted with predominantly monoculture coffee, protected from the excess sun by the region’s near-constant misty cloud cover. Many programs of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation have their official seats in Caldas, including the Cenicafe research facility. Many farms in Caldas are comparatively accessible by the main road, facilitating speed of processing and export. The Department is home to many respected universities and coffee producers have access to many business and education resources. The city of Chinchiná is also home to one of Ally’s Colombian export partners, Compañía Cafetalera La Meseta, a family business run by the five Muñoz siblings.



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). 


Colombia La Cristalina Natural
FILTER - Kalita Wave Dripper
25g Coffee : 400g Water 205°F
~3:15 Drain Time

It’s been so fun to try each of Cristalinas with different processes. As a natural processed coffee, this version has a round and full body with fruit-forward flavor that muddles into and lingers throughout the cup experience. We enjoyed the Kalita Wave for this particular version as it allowed us to get clarity but with more body than a V60 or similar dripper. The roundness and aroma make this uniquely approachable, and we are also excited to be sharing this on our pour over bar. Think Concord grape, floral honey sweetness, syrupy texture, and a long-lasting finish of grape and nutty dark chocolate. This natural translated well in a variety of brew methods, and each one accentuated different aspects of this coffee. This has been a staff and crowd favorite for its fruit-forward flavor and complexity. If it is under-extracted, you can expect a short tart experience that isn’t overly salty or savory, just lacking in balance and aftertaste. If it's over-extracted, you'll think of diluted grape cough syrup that lasts throughout with a nutty pecan and maple as well.

Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0s to 4s - line pressure, from 4s on - 9 bars
20g in : ~48g out @ ~26s

For this natural processed coffee, the dose is a little higher to bring out its sweetness and body. As an espresso it's super sweet, tasting like concord grape juice, maple candy, and pecan. It is exciting to see the similarities, particularly between this coffee and the washed counterpart. In milk, we experienced a very similar flavor profile to the washed Cristalina. The steamed milk seemed to cover up the acidity, and we were left with sweet cashew, pecan, and maple. When this was under-extracted, this wasn't bad, with white grape acidity, decent sweetness, but the finish was short and briny. When it was over-extracted, we got similar flavors to proper extraction, but the finish was chalky and medicinal, like fresh unroasted pecan.


Colombia La Cristalina Honey
FILTER - Hario V60 Dripper
14g Coffee : 250g Water 210°F
~2:30 Drain Time

The honey processed La Cristalina is surprisingly different than either the washed or natural counterparts. Gone are the maple and pecan of either version and instead introduce florals and cherry notes. We enjoyed the V60 because it bought out the florals, cherry and mango (which reminded us of a fruit cocktail), and the body still carried throughout this clarity focused brew method. If it's under-extracted, you can expect a pithy unsweet cherry limeade with an almost briny characteristic. If it's over-extracted, you can expect to lose the florals and experience tart acidity with long lasting bitterness.

Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars 
Pressure Profile: 0s to 4s - line pressure, from 4s on - 9 bars
19g in : ~46g out @ ~23s

Wow! So different from the others, but still so good! Just like the filter method, we miss any maple and pecan characteristics of the other versions. Instead expect to taste sweet and tart maraschino cherry, hibiscus, honey, and a mango cocoa tea finish. If it's under-extracted, the coffee was still pretty good, and as you extract, more you move from unsweetened tart cherry limeade to tart cherry, and finally a balanced maraschino cherry flavor. When it was over-extracted, the coffee was very drying, like cocoa powder and lacking the sweetness of the cherry.


Colombia La Cristalina Washed
FILTER – AeroPress
14g Coffee : 200g Water 205°F
Plunge 1:30
~2:00 Drain Time

We loved the way the AeroPress treated this washed processed coffee from Colombia. Think of drinking apple pie: tart and sweet apple, maple, pecan, and buttery pastry. The AeroPress helped to bring out the sweetness and syrupy body of this coffee. If it's under-extracted, you can expect the coffee to taste salty and lacking in sweetness. If it's over-extracted, this actually was brighter but more tart.

Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars 
Pressure Profile: 0s to 4s - line pressure, from 4s on - 9 bars
19g in : ~45g out @ ~24s

As an espresso, it was bright with a surprisingly syrupy body, even compared to its honey and natural processed counterparts. We found the flavors transitioned into sweet and tart apple nectar with pineapple juice, while the pecan remained for a pleasant finish. A straightforward, sweet, and not overly complex espresso. The fats from whole milk seemed to cover up the flavors in even the smallest milk beverages becoming more of a maple pecan shortbread in steamed milk. We did, however, really enjoy a cortado made with coconut milk, the lack of fat carried the acidity through and made a hot piña colada flavor! If it's over-extracted, expect a chalky body with a very tart apple flavor and not much else. If it's under-extracted, it lacked in sweetness and tasted like a salty apple sauce. Look for a nectar-like body and sweetness when dialed in.



These coffees came by way of our former employee and friend Dean at Ally Coffee. Ally’s buyer Elena, who lives in Bogota, flags coffees that meet our standard and profile from time to time and Dean facilitates the sale.

Colombia La Cristalina Natural

We paid $7.06 per pound and Ally brought them stateside. We cupped this lot as an 87.75 and purchased ten 25-kilo bags.

Colombia La Cristalina Honey

We paid $7.06 per pound and Ally brought them stateside. We cupped this lot as an 87.75 and purchased ten 25-kilo bags.

Colombia La Cristalina Washed

We paid $7.06 per pound and Ally brought them stateside. We cupped this lot as an 87.75 and purchased one 25-kilo bag.


- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.05/lb when we purchased these coffees.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased these coffees.


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. 

- Jon



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 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.


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