HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Non-Kona Big Island coffee (3 msgs / 86 lines)
1) From: Douglas Strait
Until recently, when I thought Hawaiian coffee the two coffees that 
came to mind are Kona [sometimes very good, always over priced] and 
Kauai [also overpriced and often not good].
For those who are not geographers; the Big Island of Hawaii is all one 
county [Hawaii county] but is subdivided into smaller political 
districts including the North and South Kona districts. The Kona 
coffee growers have some legal protection that coffee sold as Kona 
must be grown in either the North or South Kona district.
This Spring, having not purchased a plane ticket yet this Millenium, I 
decided to treat myself to a trip to the Big Island. I spent most of 
the Month of March there with no preplanned agenda. I of course took 
some homeroast with me. [I can imagine Mike McK thinking "coals to 
Newcastle". I did end up drinking a lot of Hawaiian Big Island coffee 
[all of it received as gifts] but not a drop of Kona. One of the 
acquaintances I made while there was that of an older retired 
gentleman who proved to be a fellow coffee afficianado. He has a 
second home in the Ka'u district which lies to the South of the North 
and South Kona districts. He invited me to come by and see his coffee 
grove [hobby size, about 25 trees] and also offered the use of his 
home.  I did make use of his home for 4-5 nights over the course of 
the Month. On one of those occasions he arranged for one of his 
neighbors who has a 3000 tree operation as well as the local 
processing facility for the smaller growers to give me a tour of her 
operation.
All of the Ka'u district coffee that I drank while there was *very 
unlike* what I remember the Kona flavor profile to be. These Ka'u 
coffees had less brightness and more body than what I remember of the 
Konas I've had [though it has been years since I have had any Kona]. 
They seemed more like Indonesians. I determined to buy some Ka'u 
greens and left some money with my new friend to make it happen. For 
various reasons it didn't happen before I left for home. Finally a few 
weeks ago a box with 7 lbs of Ka'u greens arrived. Visually, my first 
impression was that the prep was very poor in terms of defect count. 
This is the first coffee I have ever culled defects from prior to 
roasting and that includes some of Tom's Puro Scuro which sometimes 
can look pretty funky. This proved to be one of those coffees that 
took me awhile to decide whether in was unusually good or just 
unusual. Finally after four roasts I have decided upon unusally good, 
especially for what amounted to a "crap shoot" purchase. It is very 
"un-Kona", with moderately low acid and huge body which holds up well 
even well into a Vienna roast. Like the coffees that I had while 
there, it is somewhat suggestive of Indonesians but somehow different. 
So far, I've only brewed it as SO but I suspect that it will be very 
good as a blending component which is how I mostly use my Indonesians.
Out of curiosity, I read through Tom's archived coffee reviews and it 
appears that he has never stocked a Ka'u coffee. I would surmise this 
is likely that this is due to the total coffee production in the Ka'u 
district being small relative to the Kona districts.
That's my Hawaiian coffee adventure story. Back to lucking.
Doug

2) From: Woody DeCasere
thnks for the story, interesting, being uneducated about hawaiin cofees i
didnt know about the KONA is only from this district thing, hmmmmm. I have
had some Kauai that was fantastic and some that was so so, but i just
assumed all hawaiin coffee was Kona, interesting, so i have roasted Kauai
thinking it was Kona and now realize it wasn't, well now i have to take back
my kona comments, but i will have to wait a while to order some the cost is
prohibitive right now, but i will order some and roast it up and see if i
change my mind.
Is true kona that different from Kauai??
On 6/21/06, Douglas Strait  wrote:
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-- 
"Good night, and Good Coffee"

3) From: Larry English
To the best of my knowledge, all Kauai coffee is grown at low elevation.
All that I've had has been unimpressive (i.e. boring).
The Ka'u story is interesting - wonder what varieties they are growing?
Also what elevation?  My (flawed) memory of the Big Island is that Ka'u is
mostly lava and very windy - maybe the areas Douglas visited are cozied up
to South Kona, i.e. just E or SE of that district ???
Larry
On 6/21/06, Woody DeCasere  wrote:
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