Having already reviewed some of Onyx Coffee Lab’s single origin offerings with a more modern flavor, I decided to give their mainstay a quick review: Sugar Skull. Onyx places Sugar Skull in the middle between traditional and modern flavors with notes of milk chocolate, candied walnuts, cherry, and orange zest. I bought it alone, not as part of a sample pack or subscription service. Ordering online was easy, and though it was coming from Arkansas and I’m in Arizona, the package got here quickly and within the expected shipping time communicated. When it showed up, I was pumped up to see Onyx deliver the ‘wow.’
The Packaging. Everybody I know loves opening presents. You’ve heard me talk about this on the podcast and I’ve written about so much about packaging that this could almost be considered a cardboard blog. Onyx does this right. When you order coffee from them, you get a special gift in the mail. The mailing box had inside/outside printing, the bag fits perfectly inside the box. the bag is stamped and stickers with their logo and branding, and the bag has a pocket zipper for easy open/close convenience. They provide an experience, not just getting stuff in the mail. Consumers want this and will pay a little more to get it. They want the feeling of opening a Christmas or Birthday present on a random Wednesday when they’re out of coffee.
The Coffee. Sugar Skull is a washed processed blend of beans from Colombia and El Salvador, gown at 1250 meters (or apron. 4100 feet). Onyx describes is this way: “Creating a blend is like choosing a color palate for a canvas. For us, Sugar Skull embodies the wonderful relationships between a citric acidity balance and wonderful, full bodied chocolates. We serve this every day and find it comfortable, yet surprisingly complex and sophisticated. We brew this with all devices, all day long.”
I agree that Sugar Skull is kind of a go-to coffee that you can enjoy with or without cream and sugar, will please a variety of coffee palates, and is just a good, all-around cup of joe. I’ve only rocked it as a pour-over, but have plans to experiment with it as a press as well. The taste is pleasing and was well-received by my wife and house guests as well.
The Conclusion. Your family and friends will likely enjoy this coffee as well. It won’t alienate traditional coffee drinkers at a PTA meeting or church function, and it will provide some conversation pieces with your coffee nerd friends as well. They, however, won’t get the incredible experience of opening the box of coffee goodness that came in the mail. That pleasure will be reserved for you alone. Because you ordered it. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, regardless the time of year.