Coffee Tour

I’m on the dry side of the big island in Hawaii right now, and the Kona cost is an amazing place for coffee dorks; I took a tour of the Greenwell Farms Coffee Plantation, a 150 year old traditional (but not modern definition organic) coffee operation in the heart of the Kona coffee band today, and subsequently spent a ridiculous amount on coffee both for me and to spread around as gifts.

Some pictures from the tour:

A grove of coffee trees, of Guatemalan ancestry, grafted onto hardier Tanzanian root stock. Picture is taken down one of the idled rows that was chopped short last season to encourage fruiting instead of growing the tree
A nice close up of some unripe (green) and (roughly) ripe (red) coffee cherries.

A dissected cherry in-hand. Whole cherry has a texture and appearance sort of like a cranberry. The skin is very firm and a bit bitter, the greenish pulpy flesh is very similar to a pomegranate kernel in texture and flavor, with the hard coffee bean inside. Coffee cherries have a shelf-life measured in hours, and virtually no meat, so you can’t get them away from the farm, but apparently in addition to being delicious, possess a variety of healthy properties – So much so that a company has finally figured out how to stabilize a juice product, and are marketing it as KonaRed, as some kind of super-dose antioxidant. Greenwell happens to be the sole source for cherries for manufacturing the stuff. I bought a bottle, and a couple packets of dehydrated, but haven’t tried it yet. I have high hopes for deliciousness.

A bed of green coffee, in a hoshidana (sliding roof) to protect it from the daily rain, drying in the sun.

The tasting on the tour is the most effective sales pitch imaginable, as several of their products are absolutely delicious. I found the single-source estate coffee to be a little earthier than I like, but their Peaberry is spectacular, and the classic for Kona medium roast is exemplary. The fun specialty is roasted chocolate coated peaberry beans that make normal chocolate covered beans seem unpleasant, and are about 4-5 beans to the cup of coffee in terms of caffiene content, making them a significant threat to my continued wellbeing.
One of the big things I hoped to get to here, and a great way to spend an afternoon.

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