Onyx Coffee Lab

Ethiopia Chelbesa

Vanilla, bergamot, fresh berries.

A beautiful cup showcasing classic Gedeo zone profile, with vanilla and bergamot flavors paired with fresh berries and sweet florals. Articulate, almost soda-like, it features bright acidity and caramelized body reminiscent of fresh summer flowers turning into fall spices and brown sugar.

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Gedeo Zone, Yirgacheffe
Chelbesa Washing Station
Smallholder producers
Ethiopian Heirloom
Washed Process

Meet Smallholder producers

This coffee, which was a must-have for Onyx after tasting it on the cupping table at origin, comes courtesy of 700 farmers sold their fruit to a cooperative mill owned by METAD, owners of the famed Hambela farm.

METAD is a third-generation family owned business that began after WWII when the first Ethiopian woman pilot, Muluemebet Emiru, was given land by Emperor Haile Selassie. Wild coffee grew there, and together Muluemebet and her husband set about to transform the land into a coffee legacy that now includes a washing station and dry mill. These days it is managed by her grandson, Aman Adinew. With 28 permanent employees and 700 seasonal workers of whom more than 70% are women. Together with the coffees more than 700 growers outside the estate, the community is strengthened by educational opportunities--university, scholarships, and sponsoring at the grade school, as well as healthcare for employees. Muluemebet would be proud.

Gedeo, Ethiopia

The Gedeo zone in the southwest of Ethiopia, is the homeland of the Gedeo people. Lying about 369 long kilometers from Addis Ababa on dusty and often difficult roads, this zone occupies a narrow strip of the Ethiopian highlands on the Eastern Escarpment and includes the town of Yirgacheffe itself. Gedeo is bordered by Sidama on the north, and encircled on the other three sides by the Oromia region.

In Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, approximately 25,000 local coffee smallholders bring their cherries to washing stations for processing. Inter-tribal conflicts in late 2016 resulted in extensive property damage through fire and vandalism, with many key mills rendered inoperative. Furthermore, a rare late frost damaged thousands of hectares of coffee. Resilient and hopeful, the Gedeo people are forging ahead, producing natural coffees while working to repair washing facilities.

Springdale, AR

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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