The Monarch Espresso (Red Queen)
The Monarch is one of two blends we recreate year-round 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. The Monarch 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 human-made flavors in coffee is what The Monarch 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 Guatemalan coffee lots that showcase sugar and complexity. When tasting find bittersweet dark chocolate, a mulled wine acidic sweetness, molasses, and a hint of dried berries 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 start from the end and work our way back. This perspective means we choose to create a particular 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 The Monarch. We then start cupping blind through many coffees to find these specific attributes. For The Monarch, we use a washed Ethiopia roasted longer than normal to take bright fruits to a wine-like sweetness. Then we use Guatemalan 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 The Monarch 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 think it makes the difference and is a system we use for all our blends.
Feel excited that the coffee you are drinking 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.
The Monarch 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 with The Monarch, try brewing with any filter based device at a 1/15 ratio. This coffee 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 Natural
This is a Relationship 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 a 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 $1.41/lb when we purchased these coffees.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum purchase price was $1.61/lb when we purchased these coffees.
Guatemala El Panal
This is a Relationship Coffee from our friends at Onyx Coffee Guatemala. We paid $4.05 to our friend Blake, which we cupped at an 86.5. We contracted 20 70k bags of this 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.
* 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.