We flew to Kona on the Big Island this past weekend, and being the coffee lover that I am, could not pass up the chance of visiting one of the many coffee farms this side of the island. So I dragged P along for the ride, ending up at Greenwell Farms, located in Kealakekua, near Kona.
Once out of the car, we were immediately greeted by Chai, the enthusiastic tour guide on the farm and coffee maven. She gave us an awesome tour of the coffee estate, starting with the little plot of land where Mr. Henry Nicholas Greenwell, who, back in the 1800s, planted his first set of Kona coffee trees. The fourth generation of Greenwells owns and operates the land to this day.
Kona snow refers to the sprays of coffee cherry blossoms. Fun fact: Kona coffee trees are related to the gardenia plant – their leaves look exactly like gardenia leaves and the flowers smell beautifully fragrant.
The coffee cherries bear fruit for about 4-5 months starting in February (we came at the right time!). After they’re harvested, their outer skin gets peeled, revealing a slimy bean inside. It has a slightly sweet flavor at this point.
A machine removes the “parchment,” the next two layers of skin, and then the beans get roasted for their different uses. The difference between regular roasted beans versus beans like espresso, I learned, was not in the bean itself, buy the varying degrees of temperatures and duration that the beans are roasted. Pretty cool beans if you ask me.
The farm itself is pretty neat. It’s overflowing with orange, avocado, banana, papaya, mango, and macadamia nut trees. And at the end of the tour, you’re led to a little store filled with 100% Kona coffee goodies (watch out for the chocolate-covered espresso beans, they are mighty delicious!), as well as other specialties like Big Island Bees honey. I couldn’t leave without getting a bag of 100% Kona coffee (Greenwell’s doesn’t sell in stores, just through their farm or online) and some Big Island Bees Honey made from macadamia nut tree flowers. Chai told me their honey is also organic. I sampled the honey varieties from the Lehua, macadamia nut, and Wililaiki blossoms. Delicious.
What cool food finds are unique to your region?
**disclaimer: I’m just writing this because I visited the farm and it’s what I do when I visit new places. And no, I was not paid to review it or the honey. Just sayin’.