For this week’s Thirsty Thursday, AY About You sits down with Jon Allen, the co-owner of Onyx Coffee Lab and a certified Q Grader.
Onyx Coffee Lab has grown greatly in the years since its inception, according to Allen.
“Onyx started out as coffee roasters who wanted to find, roast and serve the best coffees from around the world. We’ve maintained high standards for how our coffees score and taste, making minute adjustments to the roast profiles until the coffees shine in the cup,” Allen says. “Today, we are proud of our sustainability efforts using solar energy to roast and ship coffees every weekday from our HQ and eco-friendly mailers & packages, and our transparency efforts, as we share pricing and trade data for each coffee offering on site plus roasting notes on each batch in the ‘Find My Roast’ section of our website.”
For Allen, Onyx Coffee Lab is about much more than being ethically sourced – it’s about making sure that they offer the best quality and experience possible from the moment that the coffee is planted to the moment you sip your drink. Just as important, Onyx Coffee Lab is determined to share that same energy with everyone who dons an apron with their name on it.
“We are also focused on teaching the fundamentals of coffee and espresso with hands-on skills training classes for all our staff, wholesale partners and other coffee enthusiasts. We’re expanding our curriculum to home users and high end cafes alike through Onyx Academy,” he says.
Onyx Coffee Lab is an organization that strives for perfection, Allen says, by acknowledging that each customer is unique and deserving of a great experience.
“In our cafes, our goal is that you feel welcomed, seen, and heard, and that whatever coffee or pastry you choose fits what you’re looking for. There’s an art to it, and our staff is made up of some of the best coffee professionals in the states,” Allen says. “Every drink, every interaction, every item is cared for, intentionally made, watched over, and executed to be exactly right.”
Allen expands on what makes Onyx Coffee Lab unique.
“Years ago we started telling each other to ‘Never Settle for Good Enough’. It felt perhaps like a slogan at first, but over the years this mentality has developed into a mantra of its own that permeates every thing that we do at Onyx. We hope to keep improving our coffee quality, transparency and sustainability while creating an approachable experience for all.”
Onyx Coffee Lab primarily serves coffee as espresso and milk-based drinks, filtered brews, and seasonal pour over offerings.
“We have started making in-house vegan coconut sorbet for espresso and matcha based Onyx Shakes, and our tea selection features some of our favorite teas from a local partner Savoy Tea Co. Our seasonal menu is where we get experimental, and there are always bold flavors and new drink elements to experience,” Allen says. “Our pastry and food selections are prepared in house by our bakery Doughp, where you’ll find treats from classic croissants, flaky pastries, muffins, cookies to new vegan breakfast tacos, sourdough toasts with avocado or whipped honey ricotta, fresh baguette sandwiches, and charred pimento sandwiches.”
Of course, at a location as coveted by customers as Onyx Coffee Lab, Allen has been able to spot the trending customer favorites over the years.
“Our all-time favorite customer drink is our Onyx Delight latte. It is made with our traditional Monarch espresso blend, steamed milk, and a house made syrup of honey, vanilla and cinnamon. We serve it hot or iced, and it is really delicious year-round,” Allen says. “From our food selection, there’s a tie between the chocolate croissant and our breakfast sandwich, which is also served on a croissant bun filled with bacon, egg, cheese, pickled onion and greens.”
Amongst the staff, the popular drink is the Coffee Phosphate. “It’s an iced layered sparkling espresso drink with bubbly, vanilla, cream, espresso and orange spritzed over top,” Allen describes.
Allen shares with us some of the seasonal changes that you can expect to see at Onyx Coffee Lab. “Our autumnal menu features a Miso Caramel Latte, Pumpkin Oat Latte, Cascara Cider available sparkling and hot and a Miso Caramel Shake and a Fall Hot Chocolate topped with a hand-dipped marshmallow in dark chocolate, sprinkled with sea salt flakes,” he says.
Additionally, Onyx Coffee Lab is serving seasonal filter coffees including the Ethiopia Bombe Natural and Ethiopia Bensa Shantawene coffees.
“There will be more rotating in soon, so keep an eye out,” Allen advises.