Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee time in Kona Hawaii

As the Coffee Festival in Kona comes to a close, we are reflecting on everything we have learned about how to make the best cup of coffee during the past two years from festival activities and visits to coffee plantations in the area. Coffee is a big deal to us; we start each day with a pot or two. We have become very discriminating about the taste and prefer our coffee mild and non-acidic. The best coffee cherries in Kona are grown on the cool, upper slopes of the Hualalai Volcano. Hula Daddy, Lee Patterson, has a coffee plantation on the slopes and you can tell from the video we took of him and his workers that he is passionate about his coffee.



Once the coffee cherries ripen, they are picked by hand and hand sorted to get the very best cherries with the right size and color.



The cherries are then dried in the sun and hulled. Then the beans are sorted and graded into different classifications, the bigger the better.



Next, they are roasted in a high-tech coffee roaster. A difference of only 10 degrees F and 30 seconds makes a major difference in flavor from light to dark roast.




The quality of the roast must be verified by “cupping”, which is basically slurping to taste and validate the result. Once approved, the resulting beans are bagged and ready for purchase.



Bringing home the roasted beans is just the beginning of creating the perfect cup of coffee. The grinding and brewing must be just right.

We have used a “blade” grinder for years and had the problem that every grinding was different depending on how long it was ground and how awake we were. We had heard the claims that a “burr mill” grinder makes good coffee taste better by grinding the beans evenly each time.. We bought a “Mr. Coffee Burr Mill Grinder” at Targets in Kona. There is no doubt that it does a substantially better job grinding the beans and it smells fantastic as it is grinding.




We prefer coffee pots that come with a metal carafe that keeps the coffee hot for a long time. We bought a Zojirushi, Japanese coffee pot that got great reviews online and had the right carafe. We had to buy it online at targets.com. One of the main improvements that this coffee pot has is that it uses cone type filters (instead of the flat type) which forces the water through all of the coffee grounds for a richer flavor. Last, but not least, we use the best water for our coffee. The tap water in Hawaii tends to be acidic and salty, so we use our favorite bottled water.

Using handpicked, perfectly roasted coffee cherries from the slopes of our volcano, ground by an burr mill, brewed in a great coffee pot using excellent water makes us look forward to waking up every morning for our many cups of Kona coffee.

4 comments:

Liz said...

Those videos were really cool. I always thought coffee beans came off the plant pretty much the way they look when we buy them, and was surprised to learn that technically they're cherries. The whole process is pretty fascinating.

Someday I'll have to go to the Kona Coffee Festival. I would love to see Hawaii in general, but I think I'd really enjoy that.

Tropic Tiki said...

I've been up to the Hula Daddy store front but didn't have the privilege to meet with Mr. Lee Patterson, we did however enjoyed time with Karen. The coffee they have is wonderful and very good quality. I grow coffee in Florida, but nothing like Kona! Thank you for sharing this delightful place few in this world get to see! Mahalo, Stuart / Bradenton FL

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