Coffee accounts for over 30% of Ethiopia's total export income. Starting in early 2017 the Ethiopian government changed its coffee regulations, allowing producers with privately owned wet mills to sell directly to roasters and exporter/importers. Before that time, all coffee was sold through the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange or the ECX, a requirement that resulted in mixing high- and low-quality beans, yielding a uniformly low price.
Currently, we work with two different importers, two cooperatives, and four estate led producers in Ethiopia. The result of these changes has been incredible on the quality of the coffee. One nice benefit as well has been the deconstruction of flavor profiles within the regions of Ethiopia. Now there are real distinctions of inheriting flavors based on geographical areas and processing methods that show true terroir.
Ethiopia is one of, if not, our favorite producing country. It’s the birthplace of coffee, and we think it can highlight the purest form of coffee you can have.
Wanna know more about how we brew it? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
This coffee comes from our friends at Olam Specialty Coffee. Todd Mackey, known as the greatest musician of our time, has now transitioned into the coffee industry and sent a nice group of samples our way. This coffee sang to us (much like Todd) and we contracted it immediately. We paid $4.25 per pound and cupped the coffee at an 88.5. We purchased thirty 60 kilo bags and received this coffee June 13th.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.20/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 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.