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DAY 5: John Marra's Hawaiian Holiday

Situated on the steep side of a volcanic flow that created the islands
in the first place, the Kona Joe's Coffee Company is a relatively new
coffee farm.

What sets it off from the many other coffee farms on the island of
Hawaii is the fact that they are the only coffee farm that trellises
their trees. Matter of fact, they have a US patent that disallows any
other coffee farm from using their system of growing coffee.

Trees trellised in this manner produce more coffee, they are easier to
pick and certainly easier to maintain.

The coffee is picked when the fruit called "Cherries" are red. Harvesting usually occurs over a four month period because the coffee develops slowly having flowers and many maturing stages of the bean on the same limb at the same time.

Coffee is picked usually from August to December and averages 1,200
pounds per acre. It's interesting that after a good year's harvest,
they can usually expect a reduced harvest the next year. During the
productive years, they prune their trees knowing pruning will also
reduce harvest that following same year.

Our tour was able to taste the smooth richness of Kona coffee, a
richness only exhibited by coffee grown in the area and known
worldwide as KONA COFFEE.

You pay the price for this coffee because it goes for nearly $50 a pound.

We listened as our tour guide explained how coffee was grown,
harvested and made into this unique coffee. After the beans are
harvested and dried, they are roasted to give that delicious mild,
medium and dark characteristic that the coffee drinker desires.

Roasting time for mild coffee is about 16 minutes, while dark coffee
remains in the roaster for around 24 minutes here at Kona Joe's.

Our group kept asking the guide to remove the lid on several of the
storage coffee containers. Keep in mind that our tour started early in
the morning for many of the coffee drinkers and when the guide lifted
the lid on that newly roasted box of nearly 50 pounds, the air was
unbelievable.

We learned something new from the guide; don't put coffee in the frig or even attempt to freeze it. It severely reduces the quality of the
coffee they emphasized strongly. They went as far as to highly
recommend that you use up an opened container of coffee within 3 weeks.

After writing this story, I'm off to the coffee shop in our
hotel for obvious reasons.

Tomorrow, it's traveling to perhaps the most beautiful island in the Hawaiian chain, MAUI.

Keep your green thumb growing!
-John Marra


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