By Judy Sweetland
Coffee. For some it is simply what makes the world go round. If you are one of those people, or, if you know someone who is, you know exactly what I mean. Mornings are the worst. I know, because I live with one. Don’t speak. Don’t stand in their path. And for God’s sake don’t look them in the eye.
Coffee. The last legal addictive stimulant known to man. Some people would travel the world for the perfect cup. How far would you go? I did some investigating and found most people are die-hard fans of Kona Coffee on the Big Island of Hawaii, where the coffee is grown in the north and south Kona district. It is said that the high elevation, combined with the near constant cloud cover, and rich volcanic soil from the Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes come together to grow the perfect bean.
There are several wonderful coffee plantations located on the Kohala Coast just up from the famed Four Seasons Hualalai, a 5-Star resort with luxury villa rentals perfect for families, or three coffee-loving
couples traveling together. Visitors of the coffee plantation can witness and learn the diligent process involved from bud to brew, then sit down and enjoy a freshly-made, steaming aromatic cup at a ‘cupping’ or tasting.
One great coffee plantation is ROOSTERS ORGANIC FARM. This small, friendly, award-winning farm offers free tours which last about 30-60 minutes and includes a complimentary cup of coffee. There’s a
store onsite, so if you don’t have time for the tour, then stop by for a steaming cup and a bag to go. Tours are by appointment only, so call at least 24-hours in advance. KUAIWI FARM is another certified organic farm with tours and tastings available. While this farm charges $15 for the tour (5 and under is free), it is well worth it for the two hours you will spend viewing, sipping, and tasting the coffee, chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocados, bananas, pineapple and tea! The newly-added chocolate making class is available by appointment. KONA COFFEE LIVING FARM is a ‘must see’ and an educational experience for people of all ages. As you walk among the coffee trees you will seamlessly travel back in time as history comes to life by costumed interpreters making rice for the farmers lunch, or washing clothes on a washboard. Kona Historical Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization and all proceeds from admission go directly to educational programs and preservation projects. Other farms include WAILELE ESTATES PLANTATION with free tours during harvest season (July-November), MOUNTAIN THUNDER KONA COFFEE offers both free and VIP tours, and KONA SUNSHINE FARMS has an intimate feel with small group tours and tastings given by the owners.
The 2017 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is a 10-day event, and is another ‘must’ for coffee lovers. The event,
which takes place November 3-12, offers great food, music, dance, tours, and well, coffee, of course. Last year, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee was the big winner in the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition Classic Division (say that 5-times fast, whew!), and Kona Gold Rum Coffee Company won the Kona Crown Competition Division. Both farms offer tours, tastings and delectable temptations, and well worth penciling into your itinerary.
When purchasing Kona Coffee to bring home, (let’s face it, after the first sip you’ll definitely need a bag or two ‘to go’), don’t be misled by marketing hooks like ‘Kona Roast’ and ‘Kona Style,’ which may not have any Kona coffee in them at all. Likewise, be aware of bags that say 10% Kona blend. Although the price tag will be a bit steeper, you should only buy the best, which is 100% Kona coffee. You won’t be disappointed.
So, we want to know . . . if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go (or where have you gone) to enjoy your perfect cup, and what makes that Destination special? Submit your short story, with permission to use on our website and social media, to Judy Sweetland at email@example.com. The winner will receive a Molton Brown Gift Set and a package of Kona Coffee. All stories must be received by September 30, 2017. Be sure to include your first and last name, phone number, address, and email so we can notify you. I can’t wait to hear your coffee story!