The interesting thing about writing roast reviews is that I hardly ever step into the coffee shop/roastery that I’m reviewing. Like most things these days, the initial impressions happen via social media, a website, or an article. There’s rarely an in-person interaction. The brilliant thing about this is that I get to discover and test coffees from further and wider than I could if I was only searching physically around me. It’s fascinating getting to know a new company online. I’m a sucker for good branding and a website that makes you feel something. Onyx is one of those companies that made me feel something and drew me right in. Straight away on their website I saw, “Join our pilgrimage— seeking quality, truth and accountability in coffee. We journey to find the finest and most unique coffees in the world,” being typed out. Venturing further I learned about their extensive roasting, cupping, and tweaking process to get the perfect cup. I could tell straight away that Onyx was a coffee lab with heart, and I couldn’t wait to try it for myself.
We opened the thoughtfully-crafted box and took out the bag of beans, being careful to turn the side with the tasting notes away from us, so this could be a blind cupping test. James smelled the beans first and said he noted toasted nuts, cherry, and white chocolate.
I took the bag next and inhaled the smell. I found it to be bright and fruity with darker and rounder undertones. There seemed to be a familiar smell that I couldn’t place! After taking my guesses, James smelled the beans again.
“Okay,” I laughed, “you clearly like the smell, so let’s brew it!”
Both of these coffees can be enjoyed as espresso or coffee, and we opted to try the Monarch as a coffee the first time around! We took out our Pipamoka and brewed a cup of Monarch using the vacuum pressure method.
James went first again with the test. His first impression after a single sip was that it was, “nice and thick.” He remarked at how flavorful it was, with notes of cherry and chocolate. It’s very good.
I tried a sip and immediately noted its dark fruity flavor and syrupy finish. I resonated with James’ guess on the cherry and that there was definitely something grounding, like chocolate or baking chocolate.
Straight from the website: “[Monarch] involves a natural, sugar-dense coffee that binds to the fats and creates multiple complex caramelized notes during the roasting process. Look for dark chocolate and undertones of thick winey berries.” Hey, we weren’t too far off at all! Onyx also says that this coffee was intentionally designed to pair well with milk (including non-dairy!).
This coffee is a classic and could be enjoyed daily!
In the same fashion as James, I carefully opened the next box and took out the bag of beans. I smelled the beans and was struck by the sweetness that met me. I said it was bright and floral but there might be something deeper and more complex upon tasting.
James noted that it was a noticeably different impression than the Monarch. Though he hadn’t seen the tasting notes, he had seen on the box it was closer toward the “modern” side of things. Knowing that, we were so curious about what we would taste.
As I mentioned before, both coffees can be enjoyed as espresso or coffee but we opted for espresso to switch things up!
I took a sip of the crema-topped espresso and let the taste sync in a moment. It was bright and also floral, similar to what I guessed by smelling, and there was also something satisfying and round.
James took a sip and said he was getting more of an “airy” taste than the last one but there was still a dark fruit flavor to ground it. I took it the espresso back from him and, with another sip, said it was reminiscent of green tea.
“Yeah?” James said, “Okay, green or oolong tea and definitely not as thick as the Monarch.” We both agreed we could sip and guess all day, it was so good.
Geometry is said to have notes of berry, sweet lemon, earl grey, honey, silky, and round. Honestly very impressed that we were right about tea in general! We can imagine drinking this during any coffee break. In James’ words: “It feels like it would aid with contemplation while pondering life’s great mysteries.”