As a small state, it always amazes me when businesses, products, or concepts from Arkansas, that we take for granted every day, are so well respected nationally. If you had to guess where the best coffee minds come from, you might think Seattle, New York, San Francisco, or other major cities, and you would be wrong. The answer is Springdale Arkansas at Onyx Coffee Lab.
For a little bit of validation, the team from Onyx took part in the 2017 US Coffee championships, and in it they won 2 of 4 categories and turned up second in another. That is a virtual sweep, especially considering no other coffee company had multiple top 3 placements.
Mark Michaelson from Onyx won the roasting championship, that focuses on bean and roasting knowledge followed by a roasting sample submitted for judging. Dylan Siemens won the Brewer’s Cup championship that focuses on manual brewing technique and ability. Finally Andrea Allen placed second in the barista championship which requires them to produce espressos, cappuccinos, and a personally designed signature beverage for judging.
Michaelson and Siemens will move on to the World Coffee championships later this year.
“The world competition is completely different. In this event, we will be evaluated on green coffee grading, developing a roasting profile that best accentuates the desirable characteristics of that coffee, and on the ultimate cup quality of coffees roasted,” Michaelson says. “So my training approach will be twofold: to practice on the two roasters that are sponsors of the event, Stronghold and Giesen Roasters, and to test myself on green coffee trading.”
The world championship for roasting will take place in Guangzhou, China in December, and the world Brewer’s Cup championship will be in Budapest, Hungary June 13 – 15, 2017.