It’s no secret that Onyx Coffee Lab from Fayetteville, Arkansas is one of my favorite roasters. Lately, I’ve found myself thinking, “You have to get back in touch with those guys and see what’s crackin’…” Once again, and it’s getting scary how often this is happening, I got my box with my monthly subscription coffee in it from MyCoffeePub.com and wouldn’t you know it had this coffee from Onyx inside! That’s like the third time that has happened in recent months and it’s awesome! I’ve had a MyCoffeePub subscription for the better part of a year and I haven’t gotten a bad/boring/ho-hum coffee yet. The monthly selection is always excellent!
Today’s coffee is Onyx Coffee Lab’s El Salvador Finca Santa Rosa Lot 17. As Onyx are fans of doing, they are also currently selling Finca Santa Rosa Lot 29, so be aware these are two different coffees (and while I don’t have Lot 29 in my grubby hands, I would suggest buying both of them to compare). This coffee comes from Jorge Raul Rivera’s Finca Santa Rosa in El Salvador, which sits around 1650masl. He is well known for his coffee, especially the Pacamara varietal like this lot. Pacamara are big coffee beans and within specialty coffee the Pacamara seed has quite a following. This is also a honey processed coffee, meaning the cherry skins are removed but some amount of the pulp and gooey liquid (aka “honey”) of the fruit are left on the seeds (what we call coffee beans). The whole goopy mess is dried on raised beds and you get a lot of sweetness in these coffees. You can buy this coffee directly from Onyx Coffee Lab for $17.50/bag and the Lot 29 is also available still.
Onyx Coffee Lab identified two lots of honey process Pacamara at Finca Santa Rosa that they liked and bought them both. Even though both lots are the same varietal processed the same way, there are apparently substantial differences in the flavors of these two lots, and if there’s one thing that’s true of all coffee it’s that there are almost infinite variables at play, and small tweaks of any of them can result in a totally different flavor profile in your cup.
This is a really awesome coffee. It’s sweet with a ton of nuttiness to it, but not that nasty sort of green/peanut butter flavor you get from under-roasted or underdeveloped coffees. This is a deep, roasted nut flavor, definitely not peanut or almond, more along the lines of pecan and walnut territory. It is perfect with the light brown sugar sweetness of the coffee and there is a bit of malic acidity (think apples/apple juice) that gives enough brightness to the cup to add balance and complexity without being a primary player in the flavor. The finish is sweet but not cloying and there is a bit of cocoa in the aftertaste. More than anything, however, there is this big, buttery, slightly savory flavor in each sip and especially in the finish and aftertaste.
Let’s recap, we have a cup with brown sugar sweetness, a hint of apple juice acidity and tons of roasted walnuts and pecans that has a slight cocoa finish and the whole thing is wrapped up nice and warm in a buttery blanket! Sounds like a nice pie recipe, doesn’t it? This is an exceptional and unique coffee!