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Onyx Coffee Lab

Ethiopia Bensa Shantawene

Peach, cream soda, kiwi.

Silken honey. Peaches and cream soda. This coffee is loaded with florals, juicy with kiwi and champagne notes. Vibrant, sparkling acidity meets smooth, silky mouthfeel for a stand out coffee that finds its balance by melding surprise and comfort into the same cup.

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Country
Ethiopia
Region
Sidama
Farm
Shantawene
Farmer
Smallholder producers
Elevation
2100m
Variety
Ethiopian Heirloom
Process
Washed Process

Meet Smallholder producers

Nearing the tiny village of Shantawene deep in the Sidama region of Ethiopia, jolting past a school, many small huts, a ping-pong table on a triangle of grass, and children race along the dusty roads shouting “You! You! You.” Here we find the Shantawne coffee mill. Since it’s in the foothills of the Bombe Mountains, higher in elevation than many of the mills in the region, and coffee ripens slower here. Thus Shantawene swings into full production a few weeks after its sister mill of Qonqona.

Shantawene has a 5-disc pulper which is scrubbed and polished after each batch of coffee goes through it. Interestingly, this particular pulper tends to leave a bit more fruit on the cherries and we find that contributes to a beautiful unique smell and possibly more vibrancy coffee in the cup.

Sidama, Ethiopia

The land of the Sidama people in the SNNPR region is one of the most green and fertile lands on the African continent, and because of that, its people were stable and self-sufficient, an independent nation-state until annexed to Ethiopia in 1891. And a word on the name Sidamo vs Sidama: the Sidama do not refer to themselves as Sidamo. They feel it is a label that represents the the conquest of their independence and the suppression of their identity as a people. They prefer Sidama.

Both washed and unwashed coffees are produced here. The beans are of medium size and green/grey in color. Washed Sidama coffee is particularly appreciated for its round cup, balanced acidity, body and good quality mocca flavor, which is sweet in taste and a vital component of gourmet roasters' lists.

Links
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Location
Springdale, AR
Contact
Email
479-799-6552

Onyx Coffee Lab

Lest the myth perpetuate that specialty coffee does not come from Arkansas, Onyx Coffee Lab is blowing that particular urban legend out of the water while creating a few of their own. Husband-wife owners Jon and Andrea Allen have rapidly taken the coffee world by storm with their combination of art and science.

The magic starts with sourcing, with countless small sample batches from coffee importers and with direct visits to farms around the world. "I know direct trade means a lot of different things to different people, but for us if we don’t put money in the producers hands we won’t call it direct trade," says Jon. Once found, the coffees are carefully roasted in twenty-pound or smaller batches, then shared with the three Onyx cafés and over 150 wholesale customers in thirty states.

Clearly Onyx Coffee Lab knows what they're doing: not only were they named Imbibe Magazine's 2016 Coffee Bar of the year, this northwest Arkansas matrix of coffee know-how routinely cleans house at the U.S. Coffee Championships; Andrea Allen placed second in the Barista Championship in 2017, 2018, and 2019 while Dylan Siemans won first in Brewer's Cup 2017 and 4th in the Barista category, 2019. Roaster Mark Michaelson took place first in the Roaster Championship, 2017 and 3rd in 2018. Already in 2019, Onyx has garnered a Good Food Award, was chosen by Architectural Digest as Arkansas' most beautiful coffee shop, and placed in 4 of the 5 categories at the U.S. Coffee Championships.

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