Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ahhh, smell the coffee!

At the Mountain Thunder Coffee Farm at Kona, Trent Bateman showed us the basics of coffee farming. It takes 3000 of coffee cherries to make one pound of coffee. His trees are grown on the mountain at  3200 ft. which stresses the plant but makes for a phenomenal taste. He said that rust is not a problem but they do have a beetle  borer that likes to eat the beans and has destroyed 25 percent of the world's coffee.  The plant takes 5 years to get to full production and some trees are 100 years old.  The cherries are picked by hand. They also grow Mamaki tea that has antioxidants and is considered like 'chicken soup' by the natives. They have 20 acres of that tree, both wild and propagated. Trent also showed how coffee was graded, dried and roasted. 

The next day, we visited Hilo Coffee Mill which is on the north side of the island and gets much more rain. Small coffee farms are prospering in East Hawaii. This company provides milling for local farmers that includes processing, packaging and marketing.  No batch is too small. .