Springdale based Onyx has built a reputation on the meticulous attention to sourcing their coffee beans over the years. It has paid off too, earning them a number of national accolades for the quality of their roast. They work very closely with their coffee producers to carefully select beans, while visiting with coffee producers they noticed other agricultural products being grown on the farms including cascara, honey, blossoms, cacao, and others. From there the idea was born.
“The concept came from seeing coffee producers taking out lower elevation coffee trees and planting cacao due to climate change and a low yield of lower elevation coffee plants,” Onyx owner Jon Allen tells us. “We started noticing the flavor constancy in acidities between cacao and coffee after we started tasting the two together. We knew right away that we were on to something.”
The Terroir chocolate line uses Onyx’s own carefully sourced bean producers and pairs it with cacao from the same farm to produce what may be the first single origin coffee chocolate bar. The flavors work together very well. Other coffee infused chocolate bars we have tried, even if they are single origin cacao, treat the coffee side as an afterthought, using whatever coffee they are able to source.
Also unlike most other coffee chocolate bars we have tried, this is very smooth. This style of bars usually uses large chunks of coffee bean for a bit of a crunch, resulting in the coffee and chocolate having very individual flavors. Terroir uses an extremely fine coffee processing that leaves just the faintest hint of grit in an overall smooth chocolate bar. It results in a deeper integration between the coffee and chocolate flavors and has a consistent amount of coffee in every ounce of bar.
To get that perfect ratio Onyx partnered with veteran chocolate maker KYYA Chocolate to help develop the bars.
“We knew we needed a chocolate expert to help prove the concept and help with production and all sorts of chocolate industry related questions that we don’t understand,” Allen explains. “We had worked with KYYA the year previous on a custom chocolate sauce that we wanted to pair with our espresso, so we had a great relationship already going. We spent about year together tasting and creating different recipes, ratios, origins and other things before our finalized product. KYYA was extremely patient with us as we perfect each bar.”
Currently Onyx is producing two origins with their Terroir brand, Uganda and Guatemala. They are actively working on a Colombian version as well that should release soon. The Uganda bar was our favorite as well as the favorite with the people we shared with, the slightly lower cacao percentage (60%) was a perfect balance against the bitterness of the coffee. The Guatemala came across much more bitter, which will be perfect for fans of extremely dark chocolate. At 69% it tastes like a much higher percentage bar.
Onyx is currently selling the product from their own Coffee Lab locations and a few specialty shops and cafes across the country. They are working to establish more wholesale partners soon, and will eventually be sold at any place selling Onyx coffee. Terroir Coffee Chocolate Bars can also be ordered online from the Onyx store.
Terroir is the next in their line of special projects that moves Onyx beyond just coffee roasting. Last year they launched their Cultures fermentation project that will be back for a second season soon. Coming up they hope to have a coffee blossom honey product that uses honey produced at hives from their coffee sources. Later in the year they will release Southern Weather, which is a cold brew coffee product.