Onyx Coffee brings me back to the way that the Japanese coffee bars felt; clean, small but not cramped, and a warmth that only coffee can bring. Located under an apartment complex not accessible by car, Onyx provides some of the best coffee you can get in Bellingham. They are true to the flavor of coffee in that every cup that’s presented is measured, ground, and poured using the pour over method.
I plopped myself in one of the three seats provided. Wiped the rain off my glasses and began to take a nice look at the equipment around the bar. There were a few gooseneck kettles, a handful of v60’s, and three siphons which were not in use. Behind me was a small hundred gram sample roaster (one that I’ve always wanted to try) where although they were not serving their own roasted coffee, I’m sure that they sample the green beans on. A list of around ten different origins from four roasters was presented to which I chose the Kenyan Gaturiri as I had just finished roasting through the last that I had of it.
The coffee itself was better than average although I would say that it was not much different than what I would brew at home. It was strong with some notes hitting on a deep sun dried tomato, and others working more toward chocolate. As I was talking with the barista, Seth, we began to get into a conversation about the Cup of Excellence, an auction system for some of the best coffee in the world. He then pulled out a bag of unroasted Guatemalan Huehuetengo saying that they had just procured a lot solely purchased by them, I was very impressed. I have always wanted to get a Cup of Excellence lot, and so far have only found places where I can buy one or two pounds, never enough.
I was a little disappointed to see that they are only open on Saturdays, however now having gone I do feel that it adds to the experience. It can be thought of as a constant, a set aside time to go back, relax and talk about coffee with others who are passionate.
Environment – 24 points
A beautiful minimalist take on the coffee bar that is hardly ever recreated with such accuracy.
Coffee – 23 points
The coffee selection was large, and the cup I had was great, however it does not one up other high ranking bars.
Cleanliness – 25 points
Everywhere I looked not a thing was (or at least seemed) out of place, there was also often washing of v60’s.
Technique – 20 points
The coffee was made right in front of me with constant attention paid to the process. I would have liked to see other brewing methods such as the aeropress, chemex, or the siphons that they had used.
TOTAL – 92 points
Onyx Coffee Bar
1015 Railroad Ave #105
Bellingham WA 98225
Hours: Saturday 10 – 6
Closed 2-3 for lunch