It’s coffee harvest on Hawaii’s Big Island and the trees at Holualoa Inn are overflowing with cherries! On a windless day, we can hear the happy chatter of pickers out in the orchards and the tink-tinking sound of beans landing in buckets. With the recent rains from Hurricanes Iselle and Ana, the 2014 crop promises to be another stellar “vintage” for 100% Kona Coffee lovers.
So what makes Kona Coffee sought after by coffee gourmands around the world?
Kona Coffee Belt-It is just 2 miles wide by 30 miles long, yet this area is the most ideal year-round growing region that a coffee farmer could wish for. Mineral-rich volcanic soil, sunny mornings, misty afternoons and the cool elevation make the slopes of Mt. Hualalai and Mauna Loa the ideal topography and climate to produce the perfect bean.
Legacy of the Farms-There are roughly 600 farms in the coffee belt, nearly all of them modest family-run businesses. Originally homesteaded by immigrant workers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the farms represent the cultural landscape of Hawaii. Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiians, Filipinos and descendents of missionaries all bring a strong work ethic and individual traditions to the small farm operations. These families take great pride in producing coffee through established growing and harvesting techniques that have been passed down for generations.
Producing Premium Product-From the first “Kona Snow” blossoms in the spring to the hand-picking of coffee cherries August -January, the nurturing of the beans is a meticulous affair. Coffee cherries ripen at varying times, requiring each tree to be combed through several times, and all by hand. This process guarantees that beans are allowed to ripen to their fullest potential. Picking is just the beginning of the bean’s journey as they move on to be pulped, washed, dried, parchment-removed, milled and finally roasted.
Considering the labor of love our farmers invest every year into their crop, a celebration is due! It’s time for the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Hawaii’s oldest food and cultural event: “Since its inception in 1970 the Festival has sought to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s nearly 200-year coffee heritage. The Festival features 10 days of festivities honoring pioneers, farmers, artisans & coffee!”
Although we are partial to the Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll there are over 40 different events to choose from between November 8-14 including:
- Coffee Cupping Competition
- Coffee Quilting Contest and Display
- Living History Farm Tours
- Farm & Mill Tours
- Miss Kona Coffee Beauty Contest
Plan your trip to Holualoa Inn any time of year and settle into the heart of Kona Coffee Country.