It was some years ago that we, Jon and Andrea, began to dream of serving a sweet, black cup of coffee to our customers in Arkansas. This coffee, the mythical bridge between the blended chocolate drink and a strong black cup, needed to combine the delicate flavors only present when coffee is grown and processed with love and care. Roasted to enhance but not mask flavor, and brewed to highlight those flavors, with the kind of customer service that meets people where they are - a solid, kind approach built on a desire to please them not only in the exchange at the counter, but with the drink they sip over meetings, laptops, and books.
Out of this dream is how Onyx Coffee Lab was born in October of 2012. Back then, we were struggling to get access to the kind of green coffee samples we were interested in. When no one knows who you are, no one wants to take a chance on you. We came out blazing with siphons, Kyoto cold brew towers, and weekly cuppings and classes, anything we could do to get customers asking why. Today we consist of a roasting facility, three stores with another on the way, 59 baristas, two roasters, a delivery guy, a warehouse grandpa, and a toddler.
No matter what beverage is created with coffee in our cafés, it all starts with the green coffee. We believe that no amount of roasting expertise or beverage mixology can take the place of the kind of green coffee that’s the result of intentionality at the farm level. Coffees that are grown and harvested to maintain quality and consistency from cherry ripeness to density then processed to continue that quality creates a coffee that is clean, flavorful and interesting from cup to cup. Our commitment to seeking out quality green coffee ranges from trips to origin were Jon, part owner, and green buyer, cups hundreds of coffees in search of the one or two that fits what we are looking for. At times this yields small, one bag micro-lots, picked and processed specifically for Onyx that has gone on to win Good Food Awards and place in regional and national barista competitions. At times this yields bringing in a container to split within buying groups we work with to offer a great coffee for an extended time. We can’t visit every farm we would like to in the world, so the rest of the sourcing work is done in our lab. We roast and cup dozens of coffee samples a week - narrowing them down to coffees that taste great as an espresso, pallets of lots designed to make up Southern Weather, our house blend, and single bags of coffee we vac-pac and sell in small releases.
Dog and Hat
Occasionally we get the opportunity to bring back some coffee from far flung places and when we do, we always ask our members who they'd like to see. The very first name on everyone's lips was Onyx Coffee Lab.
We got in touch and they couldn't have been more helpful and we came back armed with 4oz sample bags of some amazing coffee from Colombia, Ethiopia and Kenya.