Onyx Coffee Lab: Ethiopia Hambela Buku (Natural)

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Sadly, this is my last bag from Onyx Coffee Lab. I have so greatly enjoyed tasting each one of them. And, honestly, Onyx Coffee Lab has blown my mind. They truly are one of my favorite roasters (I know I’ve said this multiple times now, but I’m serious!). I love that their focus on aesthetics, whether their packaging or their cafés, does not hinder their focus on wonderfully roasted coffee. If you haven’t had any, definitely check them out.

Also, if you haven’t read any of the previous reviews, definitely check them out as well. Here are the previous reviews: Kenya Nyeri Barichu, Colombia La Plata, and Sugar Skull Blend.

Coffee Notes

According to their website, for the past three years, Onyx Coffee Lab has been traveling every year to Ethiopia, specifically visiting the Hambela estate in the Guji zone. With every visit, they have seen significant growth and improvement. This year’s coffee, now being fully organic, cupped extremely high, and Onyx Coffee Lab contracted both the natural and washed options from the Buku lots. For this review, I will only be commenting on the natural processed option.

Onyx Coffee Lab suggests that this natural processed Ethiopian should be “brew with any device that uses a paper filter. Thicker the filter the better in our opinion.” They suggest this because of the intricate complexity of this coffee, which shines through extremely well in something like a Chemex. Onyx Coffee Lab also suggests, when using a pour-over, to “add more turbulence and pour hard, as [this coffee] has a slow drain time.” Brewing this from both a Chemex and a V60, I found this to be spot on. They also acknowledge that it works great as a Single Origin Espresso (SOE), of which, sadly, I was unable to try.

Brew Method: Chemex – 50g – Medium Grind (21 on a Baratza Encore) – 800ml Water – 203*F – 5:00min Brew Time

Analysis: Intense strawberry and kiwi, like artificial fruit flavors, reminding me of some sort of strawberry-kiwi candy. As in, if Wrigley/Mars decided to make a strawberry-kiwi flavored Starburst, it would taste just like this coffee. Or, aside from the sourness of a warhead, it reminds you of one of those strawberry-kiwi flavored ones.

Anyhow, these strawberry and kiwi notes were prominent in both the actual flavor and the aroma. And, honestly, we had a difficult time getting past these intense notes. While we didn’t get much coconut milk, as the bag suggested, we did get lime, maybe lychee, and definitely cocoa as secondary notes.

In the end, this was definitely a tasty, clean coffee. It got sweeter as it cooled, and maintained a medium body with a higher level of acidity. It had a pleasant aftertaste, and though it was much more complex than a lot of coffees I’ve had, it did not seem to be as complex as the Kenyan that was also sent to me.

Nevertheless, this was a fantastic coffee, and it can be purchased from Onyx Coffee Lab’s website for $19.00.

Again, thanks for the review beans, Onyx Coffee Lab! It was such a pleasure!

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