Onyx Coffee Lab

Kenya Gichathaini OT-18

Black currant, grapefruit, brown sugar.

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12oz / whole bean / free shipping

Fruit is on the menu in this sweet, articulate coffee. Black currant and brown sugar pair with pink grapefruit and Assam tea. Bursting with tropical overtones, delicate florals, and bright, mouthwatering acidity, it’s sweet, silky. Superb.

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Gichathaini Washing Station
Smallholder producers
Washed Process

Meet Smallholder producers

The Gichathaini Factory (mill) is part of the Gikanda Cooperative. Gikanda runs three other mills within the area, boasts a membership of approximately 3200 farmers, and has one of the highest rates of female producers in the region. Most members are smallholders, each cultivating an average of 100 trees.

Co-op members deliver their freshly picked coffee cherries to the factory nearest them—in this case, Gichathaini Factory. Within the Nyeri region, competition between farmers is keen as they strive to obtain the best price for their high quality coffees. That competition carries on to the factories/mills as well, which must up their game in order to attract these farmers, since meticulous processing brings higher prices and gives farmers higher revenues. The payback rate can sometimes be as high as 90% of the sale price once marketing a prep costs are deducted.

Nyeri, Kenya

Coffee from the Nyeri District is sometimes referred to as “the heart of Black Gold Coffee” due to the intensity of flavor packed into slow-developing, very dense beans. Grown in the highlands between the eastern base of the Aberdare Range and the western slopes of Mt Kenya in young volcanic soil and blessed by strategic rainfall, beans develop a classic balanced Kenyan taste profile: fresh fruitiness, crisp citrus, bright and balanced acidity.

Part of Kenya’s rich agricultural sector, the Nyeri region became UTZ certified in 2008, and since then, there has been a tremendous improvement in coffee quality. Smallholders rather than large estates are most common, and most growers belong to cooperative organizations which own processing mills to which members can bring their harvested cherries.

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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