Ten years ago, Jon and Andrea Allen dreamed of having the world’s best coffee.
They started Onyx Coffee Lab in May 2012, and you can make an argument that they’ve realized their ambition. Winning numerous industry competitions in the U.S. and throughout the world over the past few years makes the company arguably the most awarded coffee brand in the U.S.
“We never thought we would be here as one of the industry leaders in coffee, and that is a huge honor and huge responsibility,” Andrea Allen said. “And at the same time, I sort of feel like it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
The Allens started Onyx as a tiny café in Springdale and 10 employees. It’s now a multimillion-dollar business with five Northwest Arkansas locations, more than 100 workers and a network of partnerships and e-commerce reach.
The company’s revenue has reached nearly $11 million in the past decade, and Onyx sells an average of 1,200 bags of coffee daily. Onyx doubled its revenue from 2020 to 2021 in a pandemic rebound and is on pace to grow 20% from last year.
“From my own opinion and travels, the most sustainable form of coffee is a high-end, specialty coffee,” he said. “The top of the top is where I think the most change can happen, and it can inform the rest of the coffee industry beyond specialty. Serving and highlighting quality coffee has always been the pinnacle, I think, of what we’ve done.”
In the next 10 years, Allen hopes Onyx continues to evolve.
“To be processing the next coffee, the next variety, the next form of roasting and that we are always pushing ourselves,” he said. “It’s very easy around this time, I think, to rest on your laurels. We want to keep that drive and that hunger.”