Review: Onyx Coffee Lab Colombia Eduardo Lizcano: Washed (Springdale, Arkansas)

Method Coffee has saved me on more than a couple of occasions when I have to be alert at a gig in downtown Dallas and I am running short on sleep. They also have an interesting rotating selection of roasters, and on my most recent visit, they were featuring beans from Onyx Coffee Lab.

Note the penultimate step in the brewing instructions. Don’t mind if I do.

I chose to put on one of my “perfect albums” (albums you can listen to from start to finish without skipping a track) —Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia by the Dandy Warhols.

Whole bean: cherry, like tart cherry pie.

V60: At a 3:15 extraction, there was an enticing aroma of red fruit (raspberry, I think) and caramelized sugar. The flavor was like a strong burst of lemon on the front, before it mellows into a more gentle flavor of hibiscus and fruit punch. This is definitely the brightest Colombian coffee I’ve ever tasted! Not flavors I’m used to for coffees from this country, for sure.

AeroPress: Same impressions as the V60 cup – intense at the front before it mellows into a fruity concoction, but somehow even more intense in this method.

Chemex: I underextracted this cup slightly (final brew time was 3:35), but the final product was much smoother than the previous cups. No one flavor stood out, but it was sweet.

French press: A richer, sweeter version of the Chemex cup. I distinctly tasted brown sugar here. I like it!

Summary: A bit of a confounding coffee with a whirlwind of tasting notes, but my favorite method was in the french press, for its comforting brown sugar sweetness and rich mouthfeel.

From the roaster: candied lemon, brown sugar, mouthwatering, tart cherry

As of press time, this coffee is no longer available on their website, but here’s a link to Onyx’s store:

Onyx Coffee Lab Online Store

Review conducted 8-9 days post-roast.

Review: Sightglass Owl’s Howl Espresso (San Francisco, California)

Sightglass Coffee is a family-owned roaster based in San Francisco. I have known this roaster by reputation for a while, but this is the first time I’ve ever gotten a chance to try their product. I picked up this bag from B2 Coffee at the same time that I picked up the Verve Guatemala Los Santos.

Whole beans: Honestly, I couldn’t smell anything. All I could smell was the paper bag the beans came in! However, once I ground the beans, they smelled like bing cherries.

I pulled these beans with a variety of parameters, but throughout, the beans displayed a bright, nutty flavor like lemon curd and cashews. Not my personal preference, but I was surprised by how well-balanced I found the shot, even though I don’t care for this flavor profile in espresso.

I tried this espresso in a 6 oz flat white, and the espresso flavor was overwhelmed and muted, even with just 4 oz or so of milk. I was surprised that the Owl’s Howl didn’t stand up better in a milk drink, considering its tart, bright flavor. However, maybe I am glad for that — the idea of lemony milk is not very appealing to me! If I had ordered this flat white while out and about, I would have considered it a little weak but plenty drinkable.

Brewed in the AeroPress, the Owl’s Howl was much smoother and darker tasting. I didn’t get any lemon flavor in this method; instead, I got brown sugar and a little almond, with a plasticky aftertaste.

Summary: My personal preference in espresso leans toward more chocolate/caramel flavors, but if you like fruity, nutty espresso, this is a nice blend. It lost its personality in a small amount of milk, so I don’t think it’s the best choice for people that like strong coffee flavor in their milk drinks.

From the roaster: Composed of seasonally rotating coffees, this blend displays a deep, honey-like body, with notes of ripe berry, chocolate-covered cherry, and sweet candied lemon.

Sightglass Owl’s Howl