Sugar Skull Blend - 5 lbs.
Sugar Skull was our first blend we ever created and the plan was simple. We wanted something sweet, comfortable, and approachable in a world of polarizing Specialty Coffee. Something anyone would like and would be easy to control during extraction. We sell more of this coffee than anything else and I think it’s our commitment to keep the flavor profile intact. Sweet caramelized sugars, round full body, and a bright citrusy finish that leaves a clean, refreshing aftertaste. It pairs with any meal and works well with dairy and non-dairy milks. For us, Sugar Skull embodies the wonderful relationships between a citric acidity, balance and wonderful, full bodied chocolates. This is considered our house blend and we think it could be yours as well :)
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 approachable citrus zest, milk chocolate, and candied nuts for Sugar Skull. We then start cupping blind through a large amount of coffees to find these specific attributes. For Sugar Skull, the Colombians we use gives us sweetness and has perfect caramelized sugars which come across as chocolate and nutty notes. Unique to Colombia is that it’s the only coffee producing country with year round harvest due to unique micro climates in the different regions of Colombia. Then to add citrus notes for acidity and slight bitterness for balance, we look to other coffees in season that exude high citric acid content and clean finishes. Currently that’s an El Salvador from the mountains of Chalatenango, called Finca Santa Rosa.
The purpose is that once a flavor profile is created we update the coffees that make up Sugar Skull every 2-3 months. This allows us to have a year round blend with a 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.
Sugar Skull has been a staple since our company’s inception and we tend to think of it as our comfort coffee. Despite age, background, coffee experience or brew method, this coffee always seems to please.
This coffee is a bit of a catch all. For industry professionals we suggest this coffee for batch brew. For home enthusiasts this is the coffee you can literally put in your coffee pot at home and be pleasantly surprised. For automated coffee machines at home try a 1 to 15 coffee to water ratio, ground on medium setting on your burr grinder. If you’re looking for more acidity, grab your Chemex and the orange notes come to life. If you’re looking for a bit more body and muted acidity, french press this thing. This coffee is always a crowd pleaser, so it will be hard to go wrong.
For espresso lovers we have had a few wholesale accounts that love Sugar Skull for ‘spro. We use 19g/in, 40g/out at 25 seconds seems to be the sweet spot. Also you will have some beautiful caramelized sugar flecking in the crema. Yorm!
At our Labs we use this coffee for batch brew at a 1/15 ratio for our house blend.
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 $1.64/lb when we purchased these coffees.
Colombia Esteban Pillimué
This was a coffee bought through our friend Amanda at Coffee Shrub. We paid $4.15/lb for this coffee, which was cupped as an 87. We have worked with Coffee Shrub for over three years now off and on when we look to buy spot coffee.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.43/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.63/lb when we purchased this coffee.
El Salvador Finca Santa Rosa
This is a direct trade coffee from our friend Jorge Rivera in El Salvador. We have been working with Jorge for 3 years now. His farm Santa Rosa is our premier El Salvador offering and it grows mostly the Pacamara varietal. We buy many micro and macro lots from Jorge. We paid $5/lb FOB for this coffee which we cupped as an 88.25. InterAmerican brought our container stateside for a fee. We ended up buying 110 70kg bags of mixed micro and macro lots 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.
* 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, saw 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 to help cultivate a real relationship with the producer and community. It’s not a certification. There is no governing body that decides when something is direct. Direct trade is widely marketed, and it means something different for all companies, it is widely abused as well as widely applauded. We can only say what direct trade means to us.