Onyx Advent 2022 - Be aware...

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jpschust

#1: Post by jpschust »

NOTE: UPDATE BELOW

Hey folks,

I promise this isn't intended as a bashing thread on Onyx. Far from it- their Aponte Village has been one of my favorite, most consistent single origins I've had. It's stunning every time I have it.

This is specifically about the 2022 Advent calendar.

I placed my order the day preorders came available and I was surprised to see that it had shipped on Friday, November 4th, given that December 1 is 26 days later. It arrived to me today, Sunday, November 6th.

The packaging is stunningly beautiful- it's basically a fold out board game (similar to Life) with the coffees packaged individually on the side. Here's where things go pretty far south.

This is my 3rd year buying the advent calendar and both years previously it had arrived in the last week of November. This time we're in the first week of November. Additionally, in previous years the bags had come in smaller coffee bags, presumably nitrogen flushed (I can't recall that for certain), and with the one way valve. This time they're in sealed plastic packaging with no valve, and they're not vacuum sealed. The bags are not dated with roast dates.

I emailed them over the weekend to ask about freshness since by the time we're doing the last bag from this we'll be 50 days or more off roast, and that's presuming that they roasted all the bags on November 4th, the day it was shipped. The answer I got from them was, "Coffee does not expire." Which I'm sure is true if you're selling Peet's (being snarky here), but come on, you guys are one of the most expensive 3rd wave roasters out there.

Again- this is a company that in the past has made some rad coffees and done some incredible stuff, but figured I'd put out the buyer beware on this particular item.

UPDATE

I put this lower in the thread but it deserves to be up here too:

So on a lark I reached out to Lance Hedrick to see if I could get some deeper information, and he came through with a long explanation. In an effort to be concise let me put his comments (in summary) here. TL;DR it should be totally fine.
  • The concept of a week or so off roast is an outdated thought mainly arising from dark roasts
  • Light roast coffee is actually more stable for longer
  • From his own experience, he is often using lightly roasted coffee up to 3 months off roast
  • In past years the coffee has actually been this aged, we just didn't quite know it at the time, it's due to the highly complex logistics related to building an advent calendar (24 roasts of different sourced coffees)
  • To be extra cautious you can throw the coffee in the freezer as well

rhtrevino
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by rhtrevino »

I ordered my advent calendar last Monday and it's still on hold. I would definitely be disappointed if it came early this month for the same reasons. In previous years the packages were specifically listed as nitrogen flushed and they definitely could still be despite the lack of a one-way valve.

jpschust (original poster)

#3: Post by jpschust (original poster) replying to rhtrevino »

They certainly could be, though I'm not sure why their customer service wouldn't just say that.

jbviau
Supporter ★

#4: Post by jbviau »

What? I'd be unpleasantly surprised, too. The listing says "PRE-ORDER BY 11/24/2022 FOR DECEMBER 1ST DELIVERY" toward the bottom...
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

Brien

#5: Post by Brien »

my last order from them I bought three bags, none of them had roast dates either.

jpschust (original poster)

#6: Post by jpschust (original poster) »

So on a lark I reached out to Lance Hedrick to see if I could get some deeper information, and he came through with a long explanation. In an effort to be concise let me put his comments (in summary) here. TL;DR it should be totally fine.
  • The concept of a week or so off roast is an outdated thought mainly arising from dark roasts
  • Light roast coffee is actually more stable for longer
  • From his own experience, he is often using lightly roasted coffee up to 3 months off roast
  • In past years the coffee has actually been this aged, we just didn't quite know it at the time, it's due to the highly complex logistics related to building an advent calendar (24 roasts of different sourced coffees)
  • To be extra cautious you can throw the coffee in the freezer as well

User avatar
SteveRhinehart

#7: Post by SteveRhinehart »

jbviau wrote:What? I'd be unpleasantly surprised, too. The listing says "PRE-ORDER BY 11/24/2022 FOR DECEMBER 1ST DELIVERY" toward the bottom...
Same. I have ordered mine expecting it to arrive in December. Order date of Oct 18 and it hasn't shipped yet.

Milligan

#8: Post by Milligan »

Weird. The first words behind "Onyx" on a google search is "Roast to Order" which means they put a huge emphasis on freshly roasted beans in their direct marketing. One of their representatives saying "coffee doesn't expire" when confronted with concerns of roast dates is quite flippant especially toward a customer that just spent upwards of $200 on 3lbs of specialty coffee. I'm not quite sure if there is a better example of talking out both sides of one's mouth.

Personally, I've always had a good experience with Onyx. I quit purchasing from them due to the excessive packaging and finding comparable/better quality coffee elsewhere for much less (and roasting my own.)

jbviau
Supporter ★

#9: Post by jbviau »

jpschust wrote:So on a lark I reached out to Lance Hedrick to see if I could get some deeper information, and he came through with a long explanation...
Jonathon, thanks for that. I strongly dislike this sort of "trust us" approach to customer service on the part of specialty roasters. I assume the coffee I buy will be roasted to order unless explicitly stated otherwise, and I don't think that's unreasonable. This was an issue with a recent Fellow drop as well, but I won't go off on that particular tangent.

To clarify, I didn't order Onyx's advent calendar this year, but I've done it a few times in the past, and each year I ran behind, i.e. it took me significantly longer than 24 days to get through all of the samples. This is one reason I prefer that coffee age on my watch, not someone else's--strangers obviously don't know my life or schedule like I do.
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

atao

#10: Post by atao »

I ordered the advent calendar this year, and also got a shipping notice a few days ago.
Then today, I got this email from Onyx:

Thanks for ordering our Advent calendar! It's one of our favorite and best coffee projects of the year and we are so excited to share it with you. We wanted to let you know that you may have received a shipping notification from us over the weekend. We are working through processing all of the orders so that they can ship out beginning on 11/16, however we didn't have the software set to not notify you yet. Our apologies about the unnecessary communication.