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: Roseline Coffee Ecuador Rosa Encarnacion (Portland, Oregon)

I’ve reviewed Roseline coffees multiple times before, and I think of all the coffee companies I’ve done repeat reviews for, Roseline is among the most consistently stellar (others I would include in that category are Klatch and Heart). I’ve gotten their beans in retail shops located both in Dallas and in their hometown of Portland, but I broke with tradition and ordered a couple of bags from them online, thanks to an Instagram ad they put out featuring this coffee I’m about to review. Congrats, guys, your social media ads work!

This particular bag called out to me because I have a friend that adores rose-flavored anything, and it listed rosewater in its flavor notes, so game on. I figured I would give her some of these beans as a gift if they were as rosy as I thought they might be. 

Whole bean: Very bright scent – floral, kind of astringent. Loud. I had an image in my head of furniture and fashion from the 1970s.

Yep. That pattern is about right! (And no, this is NOT my house!)

V60: At a 3:30 extraction, this cup was very floral. I could taste petals and stems, as if someone had thrown a small bouquet of flowers in a Vitamix. A bit too much for me – it was so bright, I felt like I needed shades!

AeroPress: Bright with flavors of lemon and stone fruit along with flowers. I wrote in my notes that both this and the V60 cup were more pleasant with pumpkin bread, but really, what isn’t more pleasant with pumpkin bread?

Chemex: This was a drastic change in flavor. Smooth, sweet and mildly nutty like cashews. Way more approachable vs. the Secret Garden Smoothie that was the V60 cup!

French press: This cup was the most complex of the bunch, with an aroma of fruit punch in addition to layers of macadamia nuts and flowers.

Summary: This is a coffee that reveals very different personalities depending on the brewing method. I liked the complexity of it in a French press, and I also enjoyed how delicate it was in the Chemex, but the Secret Garden Smoothie that resulted from the Hario V60 was just a little much! A hint of flowery flavor is nice, but this felt unbalanced.

From the roaster: Plum, rosewater, macadamia nut

I am behind on posting reviews, so again, this coffee is no longer available on the Roseline website, but here’s a link to their online store: Roseline Coffee Roasters Online Store

Review conducted 7 days post-roast.

Review: Eiland Coffee Costa Rica Hacienda Sonora (Richardson, Texas)

Eiland Coffee has become a somewhat go-to coffee company for me when I’m looking to keep things local (Dallas). Not only are their coffees available at my local Whole Foods for when I’m in a pinch, their roasting facility is along a major highway which I take at least a few times a week, so it’s relatively convenient for me to drop in for a fresh bag when their shop is open (as long as I can get there before 5:30 pm… traffic in Dallas is unpredictable!).

On my most recent visit to Eiland, they had fresh Costa Rican coffee available. Historically, I have not enjoyed Costa Rican coffee. It’s made me cry. It’s smelled like gasoline (though I don’t think that was the fault of the beans). It’s felt like a socially awkward encounter. It’s been a coffee equivalent for me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (sorry for any fans of that band, but that is NOT a compliment coming from me). I really wasn’t all that keen on trying this particular bag (once burned, twice shy?), but the young woman behind the counter at Eiland gave me a whiff of some of the roasted beans, and they smelled delicious! Surprise, surprise. So, I agreed to get a bag. I figured if any roaster could make me change my mind about Costa Rican coffee, it would be Eiland.

Whole bean: Fruity, kind of similar in scent (berry, juicy) to Ethiopia Harrar, but with slightly less intensity. Sweet aroma.

V60: Very smooth but not dull in flavor. Strawberry jam flavor with a nice bright finish. This kept me sipping!

AeroPress: As a concentrate, this had a lovely toasted marshmallow flavor with some acidity on the finish. Very easy to drink! I added a bit of additional water just to see what it would do, and it made the brew smoother but blander. No hint of fruit or brightness.

Chemex: I had a bit of a hard time getting the grind size right; made this coffee twice and still ended up a bit underextracted, in my opinion. This requires a finer grind than I usually do for the Chemex method. Both times I made this, it tasted rather bland and uninteresting in this method. Smelled like matches, with just a hint of vanilla. None of the fruity sweetness that was present in the V60 cup made it into the Chemex cup, which surprised me.

French press: Reminded me mostly of fruit punch. Strong berry flavor, rich mouthfeel.

Summary: Hats off to Eiland for offering a Costa Rican coffee I actually liked! That’s no small feat. I liked this coffee best in the V60 and in the french press, with the V60 just edging out the press pot because I think the juiciness in the beans is more amplified by a filtered method.

From the roaster: Fruit punch, vanilla, round body, juicy acidity.

I took so long to finish this review that the coffee is no longer available in Eiland’s shop, but you can browse their current online selections here: Eiland Coffee Online Store

Review conducted 1-4 days post roast.