We at Onyx hail from beautiful Northwest Arkansas. We treasure the opportunities that we have to partner with local folks to create a truly special place in NWA. This coffee is a unique partnership with Fayetteville Roots Festival which showcases music, food, art and coffee from Northwest Arkansas and the surrounding regions. Read below for more information about the event from the Fayetteville Roots Festival team.
“Roots” is intentionally used to describe both the music and food of the festival. The festival is dedicated to showcasing what makes this region of the Ozarks so unique. The festival features a musical style that is diverse and rooted in many unique musical styles such as Folk, Blues, Bluegrass, Jazz, Country, and more. The festival also supports local farmers, chefs, and restaurants, focusing on locally grown produce, locally raised meats and locally produced products from the Ozarks. Mix in film screenings, live radio broadcasts, workshops, a live art, and festival-goers from over 25 states and countries and you’ll find out why folks have fallen in love with the Fayetteville Roots Festival.
NATURALLY PROCESSED COFFEE
Natural coffees are beautiful…Okay, natural coffees are beautiful when done properly, but can be equally terrible when things go wrong. Natural processing, or dry processing, refers to the act of drying and fermenting coffee inside the cherry. Long before the age of portafilter tattoos and dual-boiler home espresso machines, coffee was picked and dried this way out of convenience. It is, to this day, still the most convenient and economically friendly way to process coffee cherries. (It’s estimated that dry-processing can use up to 90% less water than the washing process.) So why isn’t all coffee processed this way? Well, as coffee made its way across the world, it was commoditized and standardized, just like all other products spread by colonialism, but that’s a whole other story... Adding to the boom of washed processing, the natural process method can be tricky to get right, due to the delicate nature of fermentation and drying. What does all this have to do with the final cup? Well, when you leave the skin and fruit of the coffee cherry on the seed throughout fermentation and drying, that fruit begins to break down, imparting esters that lend delicate florals and big fruit notes into the seed that will survive the roasting process. If it’s rushed or handled incorrectly, this fruit rot can lend off-flavors to the coffee, making the final cup dirty or ‘fermenty.’ Basically, that single cherry begins to slowly decay, and controlling that delicate action through advanced technique and metrics allow us to drink wonderfully floral and fruity coffees. We have long promoted natural processed coffees, and this coffee is just one of the reasons we do.
WASHED PROCESSED COFFEES
The washed process begins with coffee cherries delivered to the washing station, both from the primary market or from farmers bringing their coffee directly to the mill. The cherries are inspected, and an initial quick round of hand-sorting separates the defective coffees before placing them into the hopper. They are then funneled to the depulper, which removes the fruit from the seeds. After that phase is done, the coffee is fermented underwater for approximately 24 hours. This phase of fermentation is crucial, as the yeast and microbes are breaking down the sticky mucilage layer found on the outside of the seed following depulp. Once the 24-hour fermentation is complete, the parchment is emptied into the washing channels, where it is agitated with rakes. During this step, the water is refreshed to ensure proper agitation and washing is taking place. Once the washing is complete, the coffee is taken to the raised drying tables for sun drying. Washed coffees are the base of most major blends and make up a significant portion of our single origin offerings here at Onyx. When done correctly, washed coffees can be a perfect harmony of sweetness and acidity, with cleanliness that leaves you wanting just one more sip.