Red Queen Espresso
Red Queen is one of two blends we recreate year round that is specifically designed for espresso. This is the darker roasted, more chocolatey counterpart to Ozark Copper. We wanted an espresso that intentionally worked with higher amounts of milk and would represent a more traditional style of espresso. Red Queen is bold and defiant and tends to stand out in beverages of milk that have a volume of 12oz or more. When tasted as pure espresso or in large amounts of milk this coffee shows sugar caramelization in coffee roasting to the fullest. Roasting and man-made flavors in coffee is what Red Queen represents. It’s a beautiful image of what traditional espresso truly is even when we are sourcing at a modern level. It’s higher in sweetness and developed in the roast to take fruit flavors to caramels, brown sugars, and chocolates. For this blend we use a combination of seasonal East African and Colombian coffee lots that showcase sugar and complexity. When tasting find bittersweet cacao nibs, a mulled wine acidic sweetness, molasses, and a hint of orange peel on the finish. The coffee is extremely heavy and dense with a velvety-like mouthfeel.
Our approach to creating blends is a bit different at Onyx. Instead of choosing coffees from specific countries or regions that will, in theory, intertwine well to create complex & cohesive flavors like most. We actually start from the end and work our way back. This perspective means we choose to create a specific flavor profile first, deciding which acidities, sugars and fats we want to accentuate for the coffee. Once a flavor profile has been set, in this case a very traditional cacao nib, mulled wine, molasses, and orange peel for Red Queen. We then start cupping blind through a large amount of coffees to find these specific attributes. For Red Queen, we use a washed Ethiopia roasted longer than normal to take bright fruits to a wine-like sweetness. Then we use Colombian coffees to find extra chocolate and caramel notes and create a dense heavy body. The purpose is that once a flavor profile is created we update the coffees that make up Red Queen every 3-4 months. This allows us to have a year round blend and flavor profile of high quality, while retaining our commitment to seasonal coffees. This vigorous amount of cupping and blending takes a considerable amount of time. But we really think it makes the difference and is a system we use for all our blends.
Feel excited that the coffee you are tasting is always in season, and therefore, it is cupping and tasting to its full potential. We will never compromise our commitment to high quality coffees and blends, whether it’s a single origin release or a blend component. You will not find Onyx buying “blender” coffees to save cost or prolong a good coffee. We also always keep blends to three coffees or less and maintain ratios in the build. This way what you extract is the flavor profile we designed.
Red Queen is in the hopper at all our Labs and is our house espresso for beverages 12 ounces and over as well as some iced beverages.
We suggest using this coffee for espresso, however it works well for a dark roasted filter coffee as well. For espresso try 19g in your portafilter, 42 grams out pulled at 23-25 seconds. If you are making drip coffee try brewing with any filter based device at a 1/15 ratio. This coffee really excels with fats, so dairy or nut milks combine and create incredibly complex delicious flavors.
At our Labs we use this coffee for all espresso beverages 12 ounces and over.
Ethiopia Hambela Buku Washed
This is a direct trade coffee from our friends at Metad in Ethiopia. We’ve been working with Aman and Michael Adinew (Metad) for three years now. Metad started with one farm in the Oromia zone, then added one in Gedeb. Now they are working on a project in Limu and Sidama. We buy both natural and washed coffees from the BUKU macro lot program. We paid $4.85/lb FOB for this coffee which we cupped as an 89. Additionally, we added 10¢/lb premium on top of the FOB price to go to social projects near the farm and producers. Royal and Rift Valley brought our containers stateside for a fee and we bought 240 69kg bags (Washed & Natural) of green coffee.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.51/lb when we purchased these coffees.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum purchase price was $1.71/lb when we purchased these coffees.
Colombia Nariño Cusillo
This coffee comes to us from our friends at Red Fox. We paid $3.85/lb for this coffee which we cupped as an 87. Additionally, we added 10¢/lb premium on top of the FOB price to go to social projects near the farm and producers. We bought fifty-two 70kg bags of green coffee.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.44/lb when we purchased these coffees.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum purchase price was $1.74/lb when we purchased these coffees.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided to only list what is shown 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.
**Direct trade for us means we visited, viewed the operation, approved of the ethics and treatment of staff. It also means, we cupped the coffees and they scored to our standards. Then we paid what the coffee was worth, which is always at least double Fair Trade price and usually even more. We then add a premium on top of the price to go towards social projects in the area or give back some how to the community at large to help cultivate a real relationship with the producer and region. It’s not a certification. There is no governing body that decides when something is direct. Direct trade is marketing, and it means something different for all companies, it is widely abused as well as applauded. We can only say what direct trade means to us.