Review: Onyx Coffee Lab Kenya Gachatha OT-18 (Springdale, Arkansas)

I’ve had beans from Onyx Coffee Lab before; my local Whole Foods has started carrying their beans, and I’ve spotted this brand occasionally in Dallas-area coffee shops. However, this bag of beans is a bit special to me because I actually picked it up from Onyx’s Springdale location while I was in Arkansas for a gig. I had a cup of coffee while there and I had meant to order the coffee “for here,” but they served it to me in this attractive “to-go” cup instead. My fault for not specifying, and I didn’t mind that much in the end.

Whole bean: Confusing enough that I didn’t write anything down! This usually happens when I can’t pinpoint what exactly I’m smelling. But the beans were evenly and lightly roasted.

V60: Brewed this a little longer than average, 3:55. These are pretty dense beans so you may want to grind them a bit coarser than usual. The coffee tasted of tamarind. I wrote “pad thai” in my notes but really, it was just the tamarind aspect of pad thai that I was tasting!

Chemex: I overcorrected when adjusting my grind for this method so the brew was underextracted at only 2:55. This came out fruity but a bit sour in flavor. Normally I’d go back and try again, but I didn’t have the time or patience to do it this time around.

French press: Completely different than the first two methods – this coffee tasted toasty and sugary with a pleasant tang on the finish.

AeroPress: Sour and unbalanced, even with additional water added to the concentrate.

Espresso: I tried pulling a shot and adding a small amount of milk (about 4 ounces) to see what it would be like, and the resulting drink had a nice hint of candied fruit.

Summary: I’ve consistently found Onyx to be a source for complex and occasionally confounding coffees. This particular Kenyan was hard for me to wrap my brain around but I did like it brewed in a French press, as the result felt the most approachable in flavor. This is the sort of coffee that might take you a few tries to dial in to unlock its potential, and I don’t think I quite achieved that on this go-around.

From the roaster: White grape, sugar cane, peach, tamarind

Onyx Coffee Lab Kenya Gachatha OT-18

Review conducted 11 days post-roast.

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