Touchdown in Kona Hawai’i

in Buying Coffee

   Today, we touched down in Kona, Hawai’i.  I’m here with my old friends from London, Canada’s Fire Roasted Coffee Company, owner Dave Cook and head roaster Patrick Dunham. 

Read: My posts on Fire Roasted Coffee Company

It’s great how this all came together.  I live in Portland, Oregon which this year hosted the Specialty Coffee Association of America‘s 2012 industry trade show that Dave and Pat were attending.  Since they planned to fly here in Hawai’i when the show ended so that they could meet with coffee growers in the area, I jumped at the chance to join them.

 

   There is great coffee available throughout Hawai’i, but coffee from the Kona Districts is often the most lauded.  A blend made up of 100% Kona beans can fetch a price triple what other more standard coffees cost.  Unfortunately for the area and its reputation, the laws here in Hawai’i that dictate how the area is referenced on labels and menus don’t apply to the Mainland.  And that’s why Jack in the Box can sell something called a Kona Blend, that is a disservice to this area.

There are over 600 farms in Kona, and this week, I will have the chance to visit at least a couple with Dave and Pat.  They will be assessing whether they want to carry that particular farm’s product, and I’ll be along for the ride to drink great coffee, enjoy this beautiful part of the world, and learn more about the source of coffee.  It is the second time that I visit this area, and was fortunate last time to get a tour of one of the Kona farms.

Read: Profile Ueshida Coffee Corp (Hawaii)

 The reason that Kona coffee is one of the most expensive in the world owes to the growing conditions of the area.  On the slopes of Hawai’i’s Big Island is a mineral-rich volcanic soil, and high elevation.  One of the first things I ever remember reading about Kona coffee is that weather conditions are consistent on an almost daily basis.  Sunny mornings, cloud cover with possible rain in the afternoon, and mild nights are almost like clockwork to produce a consistently strong quality.

I am looking forward to this learning experience.  The chance for me to learn from Dave and Pat, as they learn from growers in the area, will give me an even greater appreciation for coffee, and everything that goes into its quality.

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