HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Non-Kona Big Island coffe (4 msgs / 115 lines)
1) From: Douglas Strait
Woody DeCasere wrote: 'Is true kona that different from Kauai??'
Yes. The Kona districts are on the Big Island which is volcanically 
very active. About 1/4 of the entire island has been resurfaced with 
new lava flows just since the time of European contact [1778]. Kauai 
is one of the oldest islands in the Hawaiian island chain. Volcanos 
there have been extinct for millions of years. Soils derived from 
recent volcanism are quite different from very aged volcanic soils. 
This could be one of the many factors that cause the coffees from the 
two locations to differ. Island chains such as Hawaii which are formed 
by movement of an ocean tectonic plate over a stationary mantle hot 
spot tend to have decreasing elevations as you more along the island 
chain away from the hot spot since those further away are older and 
have had more time elapse to both erode and sink back into the ocean 
by depressing the ocean plate under there own weight. The high point 
in Kauai is around 5000' as compared to the Big Island which has 
several summits over 13000'.
Larry Engish wrote: '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: South and Southeast. The lower elevations of Ka'u can in fact 
be very windy. The area down near Southpoint [the Sourthern most point 
in the US] is the location of most of the wind turbines on the Big 
Island. The area with the coffee that I looked at was not very windy 
at all. It was sandwiched between two ridges that must have afforded 
protection. The elevation was only about 2200' [730m]. This area is 
shown on maps as 'Wood Valley'.
Three or four varieties were pointed out to me. I remember that some 
was derived from Guatemalan sources and there was a yellow maturing 
variety of some sort. There was also one called Ka'u Special that is 
said to have been developed by the U of H for the Ka'u conditions.
I have since read Tom's discussion of Hawaiian coffee on the SM 
website where he does mention Ka'u coffee in passing "And in the 
districts of Kau and Hilo on the big island, they are trying to 
produce coffee."
Link to his discussion here:
http://www.sweetmarias.com/hawaii_kona_coffeeinfo.htm

2) From: Andy Thomas
Coffee is also grown on the Hamakua coast of the Big
Island -- that is the northern side of the island
where the coastline runs in a generally NW-SE
orientation. I have had green coffee from Hamakua that
was pretty good, but not outstanding. Maybe over time
they will figure out the "terroir" and the coffee will
improve.
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3) From: Larry English
  Any more details on Hamakua coffee, Andy?  We plan to be on the Big Island
next April/May and will be visiting Mountain Thunder (on Koloka Rd, North
Kona) but would be interested in other spots (other than the usual ones
around Captain Cook etc.).
  On Kauai - the coffee there is grown at very low elevations, and I don't
know of any plans for higher elevation farms.  IMHO - Kauai coffee sells
because it's Hawaii, not because it is anything special.
  Back to the Big Island - maybe we (this list) should put together a FAQ on
visiting coffee people there, plus recommended eating spots (don't miss Keei
Cafe in Captain Cook!).  Just a thought ...
Larry
On 7/22/06, Andy Thomas  wrote:
<Snip>

4) From: Ed Needham
Most of the Kauai coffee is huge agribusiness and there is little personal 
care that goes into the process.  Trees are tortured with a machine picker 
and green and ripe beans are stripped from the trees, to be sorted out at 
the mill.
I'll take the small Kona farmer and small mill operators with personal pride 
and integrity for their beans any day.
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************


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