Onyx Coffee Lab: El Salvador Finca Santa Rosa Lot 35 Honey Processed by Graham Hodge

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

I think people are beginning to realize they don't have to order coffee from a big name third wave coffee shop in California, Washington, or Oregon anymore. There is an uprising in the south and it's not one full of prejudice and ignorance -- it's an uprising of damn good coffee.

 A perfect example of this is Onyx Coffee Lab's honey processed coffee from El Salvador. The coffee comes from Jorge Raul Rivera's farm which is renown in the coffee industry after winning the Cup of Excellence in 2014 with another honey processed lot. The phrase honey process is a common misconception in the world of coffee. Many see it at a coffee shop and are sold on the idea of honey sweetness combined with a rich cup of coffee. Processing coffee can be very complex and overwhelming to explain. The best way to understand it quickly is to first know that coffee is a fruit! Coffee grows up to become a cherry. The seed beneath the skin and pulp is what eventually is roasted and consumed. The processes are ways in which coffee farmers de-pulp and prepare the coffee to be sold for roasting. During the honey process the coffee is dried with some of the mucilage or body of the coffee fruit still attached to the bean. This mucilage is sometimes sticky and wet, thus the phrase "honey" comes into play. This sort of processing allows the coffee to develop a medium level of acidity which ultimately means amazing flavors and body from the coffee!

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

I had this coffee back in September which means it may be difficult to find for the rest of the season, don't worry though. Coffee roasters will tend to put out similar coffee as the seasonal crops allow them to. My first brew was 6 days off roast and it only became more complex as I continued to enjoy it. I brewed this coffee three different ways in order to really get to know and enjoy the flavor possibilities. There are no hard rules to my parameters, they are just ways I found the coffee tasted best. 

Onyx Lab - El Salvador Finca Santa Rosa Lot 35: honey | 1700 Meters

Brew Method: Chemex | Grinder: Porlex Mini | Grind Size: Finely Course

Water Temperature: 197°F 

20 grams of coffee in

45 grams of water for a 40 second bloom

Total of 320 grams of water that finished drawing down at 5 minutes (best draw down time is 4-5 minutes depending on taste) 

Aroma: Sweet and Fruity

Tasting Notes: The first sip gave me chills. It was everything I was craving in a cup of coffee during an abnormally warm beginning of fall. The body was juicy and smooth with heavy fruit flavors. I experienced a citrus like acidity with subtle notes of sour berry (like pomegranate or cranberry). Imagine an orange peel infused dark chocolate bar. 

Brew Method: V60 (no stir) | Grinder: Porlex Mini | Grind Size: Medium Fine

Water Temperature: 199°F 

20 grams of coffee in

40 grams of water for a 30 second bloom

Total of 320 grams of water that finished drawing down at 3:10 minutes (best draw down time is 2:30-3:15 minutes depending on taste) 

Aroma: Light, Deep, and Floral

Tasting Notes: There was more of a milk chocolate taste on the front end with the V60, likely because of the thinner filter allowing more of the coffee body to show up in the tasting notes. The citrus flavor was mellow with muted fruit notes. While the flavors weren't as bright, the coffee was richer and could appeal to those that aren't as into the bright and floral acidity the Chemex brings out. 

Brew Method: Aeropress (inverted) | Grinder: Porlex Mini | Grind Size: Medium Course

Water Temperature: 195°F 

15 grams of coffee in

Pour 100 grams of water -> Stir for 26 seconds -> Pour 120 grams of water -> Steep for 25 seconds -> Flip Aeropress with vessel ready -> Plunge for 40 seconds -> Enjoy!

Total of 220 grams of water that finished drawing down at 1:15 minutes 

Aroma: Clean, Bright and Citrus

Tasting Notes: The aeropress brought out a combination of both citrus and bright fruit notes supported by that creamy dark chocolate finish. I use the aeropress typically near the bottom of my bag since it usually requires slightly less coffee for brewing. I also double or triple stack my paper filters to bring out the brighter notes a little better. 

This Aeropress recipe is called The Weaver and can be found on the Aeropress Timer App


This coffee pairs well with Andy Shauf's album, The Party, a wonderful concept album that takes one through the intricacies of high school relationships coming to a head in one evening. The Party is a perfect album to indulge in while enjoying a cup of this refreshing coffee. Please think of all the fall activities that are sure to ensue with family and friends while partaking in another great coffee from Onyx Coffee Lab. 

(This post was made possible by the folks of + Coffee. They bring in coffee roasters from all over the south for the residents of Chattanooga to enjoy.)

If you have any questions about coffee, my brew methods, or just want to chat - feel free to comment below!

A review; Collective Care for Combination Skin by Graham Hodge

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

As many of you know, my wife and I spent quite a bit of time in southern California this past summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. After spending about a month and a half living in the desert with little relief from the heat and dirt, I came to appreciate little things I never cared about before - like washing my face. At the end of a long day there was nothing better than wetting my small pack towel with what little water I could spare and wiping off the dirt. Once we got back I began to dabble in a few face wash products and found I really appreciated the clean and relaxing feeling I received from washing my face before bed. 

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

It is important to know your skin type when looking into a skin care system. Some people have predominately oily skin, some have dry skin, and some have a combination of oily and dry skin. I have combination skin. I started experimenting with treating this with nicer products from my local Target. The Marlowe line of men's skincare products is a great starting point. After moving back to Chattanooga though I began to notice some issues. My face began to feel too oily almost all of the time; even after the whole face wash routine. After about two weeks of this I began to do further research and kept reading more about Aesop's products. Some reviews claimed their line didn't work the way they expected, but once browsing their website further I found a kit that was made specifically for combination skin. I had to try it. 

The first step and product to use is the Fabulous Face Cleanser. This cleanser is olive oil based and is a mild, gel face cleanser that works great for cleaning sensitive skin. I follow this with the B & Tea Balancing Toner that helps clean the skin and naturally remove excess oil and dirt that the face wash might have missed. Toners typically dry out the skin so it must be followed by a hydrating lotion of some kind. Aesop offers two kinds that work well for combination skin. The one I went with is way more affordable and works better for me. The Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream is a light hydrating cream that doesn't leave your face feeling like you've rubbed a bunch of lotion into it. It really soaks into your skin fast and has a very light citrus aroma. The more expensive option is the B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel. I was able to try the gel for a week with some samples Aesop sent me. For the most part, it was great. It dries quickly and hydrates more lightly than the Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream. Aesop recommends using it if you live in a humid climate and after living in the southeast for so long, I couldn't agree more. I would also recommend the B Triple C for those that deal with acne as it works well with the toner to regulate oil and dirt while lightly hydrating. 

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

The price of Aesop can be hard to swallow for many, but that price comes from excellent, scientifically sourced ingredients that even put vitamins back into your skin. While not all of these ingredients are organic, they are never going to include anything that is harmful. Instead, they use ingredients that are affective and tested to produce amazing results. One of the best ways to get into their products is to save up for a travel pack that includes a wide range of smaller bottles that are good for finding what works and doesn't work for you. They also sell kits and combination sets that make for great gifts during the holidays! 

The Collective Care for Combination Skin can be purchased here


(I want to thank Betty Law (aka Nana), my wonderful grandmother that listened to me talk about this and purchase me the combination skin set as a gift! See, I told you they make great gifts. Again, I was not paid for this review - I just wanted to tell you about a great experience I had with a new brand I've been wanting to try for a while.) 

Stay dry by Graham Hodge

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016

It's late summer here in Chattanooga, Tennessee which means everyone has been drowning in humidity and afternoon thundershowers. This combination leaves most everyone in the southeast feeling damp during the majority of their day. Luckily, Copenhagen, Denmark also experiences a lot of rain which I can only assume lead to the creation of Rains - a comfortable, fashion forward rainwear company. 

If you're like me, you've probably never treated yourself to a bomb-proof rain shell. They're expensive and often times overkill for random showers. There honestly aren't many gore-tex jackets on the market that look that great either, and if they do, you're going to pay a premium. That's where Rains comes into the picture. The polyurethane and polyester blend creates a soft inside texture while keeping you bone dry.

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016 

The best part about these jackets are the length. Parka's are becoming more relevant again. Not only do they look great, but they can keep the majority of your trousers dry. If you're not sure about committing to the longer parka, don't worry, they come in standard jacket lengths as well. Rains is also known for their assortment of totes and bags that are made of the same water proof material. Their minimal design and quiet colors allow them to seamlessly blend into your daily carrying needs. 

At the end of the day this is my rain jacket of choice. It's versatile and more importantly, looks good. The full gallery from my shoot of Rains for Scout can be viewed here.

Graham Hodge ©️ 2016


(This blog post was written based on my own personal experiences with these jackets. I was not paid to write this nor simply given the product. I just wanted to tell you about a great wardrobe piece. Thanks for reading!)