Many of you know Chrissy and I recently took a trip to Kona, Hawaii. During our stay we had the pleasure to get personal tours of two different coffee farms. I set these tours up ahead of time hoping for some personal time with each owner and that is exactly what we got. I wanted to track down a coffee bean that fits Miami Creek Brewing Company’s ideal. While the coffee beans are not local, they are grown here in the U.S. and are, in my opinion, a superior coffee bean in all aspects.
Everyone who drinks coffee has heard of Kona Coffee and if you’ve had the opportunity to taste 100% pure Kona (not a Kona blend), you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Our first stop was to Lions Gate Farms where a lovely older woman welcomed us into her home. She mentioned that her daughter, Suzanne, ran the farm and offered for us to self-tour their property. Among the hundreds of coffee trees, we found orange, banana, and macadamia nut trees. A pick of a ripe coffee cherry, revealed a sweet and tart flavor that was amazing. It’s really a shame that this part of the coffee is turned into compost! After touring this farm, we headed to Suzanne’s property (the daughter/farm manager). Her property is also considered part of Lion Gate Farms.
Passing a sign reading “No Spray – Mahalo”, up a dirt road, and through a gate revealed a beautiful island property and a smiling friendly farmer that welcomed us onto her property. Suzanne showed us the coffee mill that is used to pulp (remove the outside skin) the coffee cherry. The bean is then water bathed and de-husked. The beans are then laid out on a rooftop which is protected with a sliding cover to protect the drying bean from the rain. Afterwards, we made our way to her office where we talked about the importance of supporting small businesses. It was nice to know that our thoughts and ideals aligned perfectly.
A little more on the roof system: Based on a Japanese design, the roof, on rollers, can be pulled over the drying beans when rain threatens. The action is smooth enough that one person can move the roof by themselves!
After the beans are dried, they are sorted based on size, roasted, and sold from their online store.
Suzanne’s property was equally impressive with the variety of edibles growing on it including an “ice cream bean” that when ripe has the flavor of vanilla ice cream!
We brought back a few pounds of green Kona beans from Suzanne. We’ll be roasting and cupping these beans very soon. We are extremely excited to bring these beans to our Coal Train Stout along with other brews that need roasted coffee as an ingredient. Please visit their website to learn more about Lions Gate Farms and their coffee! https://www.coffeeofkona.com/kona-coffee/
The following day we made our way to Lyman Kona Coffee Farms to meet Dr. Hans Eckert, the owner/operator of the Lyman estate. We were greeted again with smiles and a feeling of meeting a long lost friend. We sat with Hans and his bed and breakfast guests in a large gazebo. We enjoyed some coffee while discussing our brewery and his coffee while overlooking his farm and the ocean. I have yet to meet a person so incredibly passionate about coffee and the process used to brew the perfect cup.
All of the structures on this property were hand built by Hans and his love for the farm and property shines through!
The property boasts abundant flowers, several fruit and spice trees, and roughly 3200 coffee trees. Hans spent roughly 4 hours with us discussing all aspects of the coffee business and the economic impact it has to the Kona region. From planting, maintaining, and organically fighting pests, we talked about his roasting techniques, how the beans are graded, and the multiple awards that he has won with his coffee.
We brought back a few pounds of green coffee beans from Lyman Kona Coffee Farms as well. We’ll also be roasting and cupping these beans soon. Please visit their website to learn more about Hans and Lyman Kona Coffee Farms: http://www.lymankonacoffee.com/about-us.html
It was a pleasure to meet both Hans and Suzanne and establish a relationship with them and their businesses. Rarely and unfortunately do we get an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the hard workers that are behind the products and foods we purchase. This aspect is very important to me as Miami Creek Brewing Company establishes itself as a new business and starts to earn a reputation. We will be working with both farms to help supply our Kona coffee needs. In fact, Hans and Suzanne will be the first to get a bottle or two of our Coal Train Stout as a small token of our appreciation for the hard work that they put into their Kona Coffee. Not only does their hard work shine in the coffee beans they produce, it’ll shine through in the beer that we produce for you!
Aloha and Cheers!