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About > From the Tree to the Cup

from the tree to your cup

Organic Farming and Our Kona Coffee Trees

Our family-owned Kona coffee plantation is located on the volcanic slopes in Captain Cook, Hawaii. We currently have 80 acres of Kona coffee and farm-manage an additional 300 acres. The specific varietal of coffee tree that we plant and care for is called Arabica Typica. Our coffee grows on the leeward side of Mauna Loa volcano at approximately 2,600 feet and because of this high elevation location; we continually produce a larger percentage of the highest and most preferred grades of Kona coffee.

We employ organic farming practices to foster the ideal conditions for the trees to grow. First, the trees are planted in rich, fertile volcanic soil combined with a blend of natural nutrients and minerals. Each year, we selectively prune each tree to strengthen them and to encourage a larger production and facilitate harvesting. The pruned branches become the mulch, which helps hold moisture and deter weeds.

Of equal importance, three to four times a year we fertilize using a combination of traditional methods and the cherry skins, a by-product of the wet-milling process, to naturally fertilize and nourish our trees. Likewise, we use the husks (a by-product of dry-milling) around the trees that also provide nutrients to the soil as well as deter weed growth.

Hand-picking our Kona Coffee Beans

We selectively hand-harvest each coffee cherry at their peak of ripeness. With handpicking, we are able to choose only the ripe cherries and the trees are not damaged in any way. Not only does handpicking make coffee cultivation more labor intensive in Kona than in most other coffee growing regions in the world but also because coffee blossoms appear over a several month period due Kona's steady rainfall and different elevations. That is, coffee cherries ripen at varying times causing our typical Kona harvest season to extend from August to April. We continually explore our farms seeking ripe cherries up to eight times in a season to allow the beans to mature before picking.

Wet-method Processed

Once the coffee cherries have been picked, they must undergo processing to remove the outer layers of the skin and expose the coffee beans inside. When the coffee cherries arrive at our mill, they are always inspected for freshness and color before being sent into the cherry pulper, processing occurs within hours of their arrival. The pulper machine has rotating discs that remove the pulp (outer skin) by squeezing the cherry until the skin splits. The machine separates the beans and the pulp and protects the parchment (a thin protective membrane protecting the bean). It is these outer skins that are used to fertilize our trees. In 2002, we became the first farm in Kona to use a revolutionary wet-processing system from Columbia that is ecologically and environmentally efficient by lessening water usage (average of 80%) and contamination of our water supply. We believe that this new process contributed to our winning of the 2002 Kona Cupping Contest.


After our wet-mill process, we use a new and sophisticated combination drying system to insure quality and enhance the bean flavor. First, the beans are carted out onto our drying deck to be sun dried. Specifically, beans are spread out on a flat platform known by its Japanese name, hoshidana, and exposed to the sun. Our beans are shifted and raked often for uniform drying by the sun. Since Kona experiences many cloudy days, which could alter the profile of the bean, we also employ special mechanical dryers from Central and South America. When the beans are dried and reach certain moisture content (11.5%-12%), the coffee is called "parchment coffee", due to their stiff, white parchment-like skin.

Dry Milling

The next step in the milling process after drying is called dry milling. At this stage, we remove the parchment and silver-skin, leaving the beans without any other protective coating called "green beans." Our dry mill utilizes several machines that take the coffee from parchment to green bean. First, the huller is the machine that removes the parchment skin from the actual beans. Next, the green beans are placed in the sorter to be sized. This process separates the beans into different grades of Kona coffee. The primary grades of Kona coffee are Peaberry, Extra Fancy, Fancy, #1, Select and Prime. Next, the beans of each specific grade/size are placed on the gravity table (See Kona Coffee Grading). Density is directly proportional to the quality of the bean. The gravity machine ensures that the denser beans rise to the top of the table while the lower denser beans fall to the bottom. This allows us to find the gems in our coffee and offer the best to our customers. We then package the beans in one hundred pound bags to be state certified (See Kona Coffee Grading)


Both our parchment and green bean are stored in temperature and humidity controlled rooms. This preserves the ideal flavor profile of the green coffees. We have found that coffee stored outside of climate and humidity control rooms begin to fade in color, lose its acidity, flatten out and lose its original flavor profile.

Our roasting

Roasting is one of the factors that distinguishes the individual characteristics of Kona Coffee. Our 100% pure Kona Coffee is meticulously roasted and packaged while still warm from the oven in protective foil bags which are specifically designed to prevent the entrance of air and moisture. We roast to order so that coffee arrives within just days of being roasted. When you open a bag of Kona Coffee from our plantation, our hope is that you experience the taste and aroma that Prize winning Kona coffee is known for and you will be back again and again.

Kona Coffee is renowned for its rich flavor, exceptional aroma, smooth taste and delicate acidity. To achieve this, our preferred roast is a Full City Roast. The beans are roasted more deeply than a medium roast to bring out the maximum body without roasting out the specific characteristics inherent from the microclimate from where it is grown.

We stop the roast at the beginning of the second crack to produce beans that are chestnut brown with a slight shimmer of oils on the surface. We also offer custom roasts, recognizing the distinguished coffee palates of our customers.

With our passion for Kona coffee excellence, we offer you our award winning Kona coffee that is consistently smooth with a rich, well-balanced flavor - the Finest Coffee in the World.

Enjoy, from all of us at Koa Coffee Plantation

» Extra fancy? Prime? Learn about coffee grading

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P.O. Box 38, Captain Cook, HI 96704-0038
Phone: (808) 328-8803 Fax: (808) 328-9803
Call Toll Free: 866-koa-java (866-562-5282)
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