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Posted June 8, 2011 by samuek in Blog Archive

Kona Coffee – Greenwell Farms, Hawaii

 Been to Kona or any other coffee destination?  Let me know!

Greenwell farms is one of the largest suppliers of Kona coffee to the world.  As with most of the best coffee in the world, volcanic environments are what produce the most exceptional coffee beans.  Now I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker prior to the Hawaii trip but after tasting Kona and only Kona everyday and fresh from the supplier I was hooked.  One could say I am a coffee junkie now.

I took the tour of Greenwell’s facility and this is what I learned.

Coffee beans are actually the seeds of coffee cherry trees.  These are the original trees from circa 1850 that are too mature to harvest coffee anymore.

The green are the unripened cherries and the red are ripened and ready to harvest.

Each cherry has two coffee beans.  This is the 2 coffee beans removed from their cherry.

The process of making coffee requires that you separate the red cherry through a process called pulping.  Here is a container with the removed red cherries.

STUFF 101:  Did you know that the coffee cherry can be eaten?  Well it can and is a good idea as it has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any known fruit.
The cherries once removed are called ‘wet parchment.”  The “wet parchment” is put into a fermentation tank  to soak for 12 to 14 hours.  This is done to remove the husk called the “muscilage layer.”  What also will happen is that “bad” beans will float to the top.  Why do bad beans float?  Bad beans float because they are lighter then the other beans.  They are lighter because insects have eaten part of the bean.  Cool eh?

Once the outer layer has been removed, the beans are washed then set out to dry.  At Greenwell they put the beans on the roofs and let the sun do all the work.  The red roof you see moves to cover the beans if there is any rain and rain is evil for dry coffee beans.  If rain hits the beans while they are drying it causes them to ferment, which changes the flavour profile of the bean and ultimately produces a sour, musty tasting coffee.  Not fun.

After drying the husk has to be removed to expose the bean.  This is one bean with its husk removed.  The beans are then sorted by size to ensure roasting is done evenly
STUFF 101:  Ever heard the term “Peaberry?”  Peaberry is a classification coffee bean.  Peaberry beans are when the 2 beans within a cherry fuse together to make one oval bean.  It is a mutation of sorts that is very rare and actually makes a more flavourful coffee.  I prefer the Peaberry when it can be found.

These are bags the coffee is transported in.  Many large coffee suppliers both grow and buy coffee cherries.  Throughout the tour many trucks pulled up with locals looking to sell their Kona coffee cherries.  Locals will buy a small piece of land and grow and farm the coffee trees.  They will pick the cherries when ripe and sell them to the different coffee suppliers for income.  
Hope you enjoyed this!  Let me know if you have visited a coffee source.




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