Onyx Coffee Lab – Fayetteville

I’ve been a fan of Onyx ever since I discovered them several years ago.  They specialize in what is sometimes termed “third-wave” coffee.  The waves are pretty simple:  The first wave would be diner coffee, or the robusta beans that would come in the old metal coffee cans sold under various brand names.  Second wave is Starbucks, which shunned robusta for quality arabica beans, as did other establishments that began their life in Seattle and elsewhere, and one by one have either failed or been bought by, you got it, Starbucks.

Third wave is kind of the “anti Starbucks”.  It seeks to bring the coffee experience back to its neighborhood employing techniques such as pour-over coffee, which is brewed precisely over a period of 3 minutes, using scales, timers, and water at a precise temperature.  It’s a difference in taste that’s marked.  The beans are more expensive since they are sourced from a region and even sometimes a particular hill, much as is wine.  The espressos are individually drawn using technique, not from an automatic machine such as Starbucks now uses.  The foam at the top of a latte is poured in a pattern to show that your drink has been carefully prepared.  For the coffee lover, it’s quite an experience.

Onyx Coffee Lab has been the embodiment of third-wave coffee in NW Arkansas, from the moment they broke away from Arsaga’s in 2012.  To be fair, Arsaga’s was the first third-wave coffee player in the market, and offers a full-featured restaurant menu at their flagship location at The Depot.

I learned and grown in my appreciation for fine pour-over coffee, including the many ways to prepare it, which extend beyond the plunge pot to include the Kalita dripper, the Clever immersion dripper, and the hi-tech siphon dripper at the Springdale location.  The baristas, cuppers, and head roaster are not only great at customer service but are a wealth of knowledge.

That said, I’m tiring of paying what seem to be higher and higher prices that rival the most expensive third-wave stores in the biggest cities.  The cheapest pour-over during my last visit was $4.50, and a similar sized Grasshopper, a peppermint latte, was $5.25.  Prices do include sales tax.  The prices for beans and mugs also either match or surpass comparisons to Blue Bottle, Stumptown, and Intelligentsia.  I’m fairly certain that rents and employee costs in their Onyx’s strip-mall location don’t rival those of Blue Bottle, for instance, which has locations in the basement of NYC Rockefeller Center and San Francisco Ferry Building.

I might have to be content with just buying their beans, and preparing them myself at home.

Rating 4.0/5.0 – Really liked it

Onyx Coffee Lab
www.onyxcoffeelab.com
2418 N Gregg Ave
Fayetteville, AR 72703

ONYX Coffee Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morning Call Coffee Stand

I am writing about Morning Call just so I can share some pictures. Though the original coffee house on Decatur Street in the French Quarter opened in 1870, that has long since closed and moved to Metairie.  This outpost was recently opened as a second location, in City Park of New Orleans.

Morning Call - Exterior

I visited here as many do, as it serves as a coffee/bathroom break for tourists on a bus tour of the city. I am not rating the restaurant since I just had a small coffee to go, which was good, but I don’t feel I can fairly evaluate such a quick visit.

Morning Call - Interior

I look forward to visiting Morning Call again, since City Park is just across the street and the New Orleans Museum of Art is just a short distance down the street.  It’s most easily accessed by car, though it could be accessed in about 10 minutes, in daylight hours, by walking from the end of the City Park/Museum spur of the Canal Streetcar.

Morning Call - Coffee Kettles

No rating given

Morning Call Coffee Stand
www.morningcallcoffeestand.com
City Park Casino
56 Dreyfous Dr
New Orleans, LA 70124

Café du Monde

Café du Monde is famous for coffee and beignets, and not much else. Its menu fits on the side of a napkin holder, listing several additional beverages to have in addition to coffee.  You have Hobson’s choice for something to eat, beignets.  I found it especially entertaining that their souvenir list is quite a lot longer, both listed on the window of the indoor enclosure, and as evidenced by their medium-sized gift shop across the street.  I’m a sucker for coffee mugs, so I did buy my beverage in a ceramic mug to keep after I departed.

Café du Monde - Outdoor Tables

Café du Monde - The Menu

I guess if you do two things well, stick to them! The chickory-flavored coffee is delicious, as are the warm beignets topped with powdered sugar. I dined here in the mid-evening for a light supper, after eating a pretty filling lunch. Perhaps it’s because I was here mid-week and slightly off season, but this part of the French Quarter, right next to St Louis Park, was dead at 9 p.m. and even a bit creepy.

Café du Monde - Beignets

I enjoyed my visit, though you’d think an establishment open since 1862 could do better than their graffiti-covered, cramped bathroom, covered with slogans about poorly paid and treated staff.

Rating 3.5/5.0 – Liked it

Café du Monde
www.cafedumonde.com
800 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

Café Du Monde Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato