My Coffee Pub x Onyx Coffee Lab Colombia Esteban Pillimué

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

March’s subsription was a double whammy… Onyx Coffee Lab and a preview for subscribers for a coffee that wouldn’t be released for a few weeks! It’s always fun to get a sneak peek at an upcoming coffee and this one is live now, so let’s check out what the boys at MyCoffeePub selected for subscribers this month!

Onyx Coffee Lab

Purchase this coffee from Onyx for $17


If you’ve read KC Coffee Geek for a while you should know I love my monthly surprise from and I’m a bit of an Onyx Coffee Lab fanboy. What can I say? Getting a mystery package in the middle of every month that always contains a beautifully curated coffee is awesome, and when it’s a fantastic roaster like Onyx, I’m not going to pretend my pulse doesn’t race a little bit! I teased this coffee a little a few weeks ago but until just recently I knew nothing about it. It’s up live on Onyx’s site now, so let’s check it out!

Onyx Coffee Lab has just revamped their website and if you click the “read more” link in the pink bar on the right side of the screen, you’re going to get a ton of info. As someone who needs a lot of information for writing these articles, I really appreciate it! The basic details for this coffee is that it comes from the Huila department of Colombia in the Rio Chiquito region. It was purchased from Esteban Pillimué’s farm, Guamalito, which grows Caturra at 2000masl. This is a washed coffee as most from Colombia are and Guamalito is like most of the farms in the region, around two hectares of land with fewer than 10,000 coffee trees packed into that area.

Onyx Coffee Lab sourced this coffee from the wonderful people at Coffee Shrub. Coffee Shrub is the commercial arm of Sweet Maria’s, who are just every home roaster’s entry into turning green coffee brown! The people at Sweet Maria’s and Coffee Shrub are top notch and one of the things I really appreciate is their realistic scoring of coffee when they cup. This one cupped at 87 out of 100. When we’re so used to certain coffee sites giving damn near everything a 93+ it really detracts from the reality that a coffee in the mid to high 80’s is still going to roast out BEAUTIFULLY, especially when handled by roasters like Onyx. In any case, Onyx includes some brewing suggestions on the site, too, specifically recommending the Clever dripper. I did my own thing because Clever is about the only brewing method that I just can’t handle. All I taste is paper, no matter how much I rinse it or whatever other techniques I use, and the same goes for when I have it at shops that use this method, too. Poor me! LOL

I used my standard 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with white Kalita 185 filters for this coffee. My Handground grinder was set to 3.5 and this is a pretty dense coffee, so I wouldn’t go finer than that for a pourover. I also used Third Wave Water’s excellent water treatment product in my brewing. This produced a beautiful cup. I tried the same coffee initially on an Aeropress with a cloth filter that I’ll be reviewing soon and didn’t think it was much to write home about, so I think a filter may be an important part of the equation for this coffee.

Onyx gives us tasting notes of, “strawberry, tangerine, sorghum, white wine” for this coffee. I definitely got a gorgeous round tangerine (I eat two per day all winter long, so this is a descriptor I know well!) acidity from this coffee. It spreads fast to the outside of my tongue and cheeks and it’s bright and slightly tart but it seems inherently coupled to the sweetness in the cup, just like tangerine fruit. It’s a softer acidity than lemon, lime or grapefruit but it’s also a little more bright and aggressive than an orange, for me. Toward the second half of the sip I get a little bit of a strawberry note, but it’s subtle, and it’s as much of a “feel” as it is a flavor note, for me. I get that slight drying effect on my palate that I get from not-quite-ripe strawberries and if I use a lot of retronasal breathing (agitate the coffee in your mouth while exhaling with your nose and that’s how I do it) a decent amount of strawberry reveals itself. Also in the long aftertaste I was getting quite a bit of the fruit.

This is exactly the type of Colombian coffee I love… bright, fruity and vivacious but also super sweet and clean. It’s a stellar coffee handled beautifully by Mark Michaelson, Onyx Coffee Lab’s chief roaster!