Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kona, land of great coffee

Today's adventure was south to the area of Kailua-Kona, the city nearest the airport and the area known for Kona's fabulous coffee.  We had lunch at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Factory (disappointing food, but unique atmosphere) we headed up the mountain (well, Mauna Loa volcano truly) through the VOG and into the moist cool climate at 3500'.  Home of the Mountain Thunder organic coffee plantation and roasting mill.  The smell of roasting coffee was the first thing we noticed, and we joined a tour with a sample of their Premium blend in hand.    Can't beat that for freshness, just roasted today!

The coffee trees were very interesting, blooming after every rain and producing "cherries" for three years.  Certified organic means this farm cannot use Round-up or any other chemical weed control, so they have NeNes (native Hawaiian geese) running around munching on the invasive vines that take over the crops.  Everything is hand picked making it very labor intensive, which explains the 4-7 acres that keeps them busy full time.  To supplement, they roast and package coffee for other growers, and charge premium pricing for the Kona organic label.  Well worth it, as the coffee was not at all bitter, nor were the chocolate covered coffee beans...mmmm. They win awards for their medium roast (which is apparently more indicative of good quality production as the flavor of the bean is not altered by the longer dark roasting procedure).  So, my dear potential coffee-snobs, the best  coffee you could drink would be Extra Fancy 19 size screen organic with less than .2% dark or mishaped beans, full green color prior to roasting, and Estate blend, meaning the Peabody beans are mixed in to allow for extra taste.... all this for a mere $56/lb at the door, shipping extra.  We poor coffee schleps from Safeway probably drink the beans that missed the bag on the way to the bin... but hey, as long as it has caffeine, at 6 am I don't think I would notice any difference at all.

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