Pure Kona coffee

100 Percent Pure Kona Coffee


Life on a Kona Coffee Farm

Our Family Kona Plantation

athenacoffeeATHENA of HAWAI’I is a small family farm and therefore we’re allowed to label my Hawaiian Kona coffee as ‘Estate Grown’. From August till January we as a family focus on picking and processing ripe red coffee cherries. The steep and rocky terrain of our Kona plantation does not lend itself well to mechanical cultivation or Kona coffee beans harvesting, so most of the work must be done by hand. The remainder of the year is spent pruning trees, planting new ones, spreading compost, maintaining our mill and home. But despite the year round labor, we love what we do and feel privileged to be able to work outdoors in an extremely pleasant island climate, while cultivating a product that is world-renowned amongst coffee drinkers.

Our Kona Coffee Trees

berriesThe coffee tree is one of the few plants that can simultaneously grow a blossom as well as a ripe fruit on the same branch. These trees develop a deep root system in our porous, deep and well-drained soil. Not really huge trees, they appear more like bushes with heavily ridged leaves and long whip like branches that bend toward the ground once heavy with fruit. Members of the gardenia family, they produce amazingly fragrant, brilliantly white flowers that coat my hill many times throughout the year. Over here we like to call these blooms ‘Hawaiian snow’. My century old coffee trees are handpicked to obtain the best flavor, assuring that only the reddest, ripest and finest cherries make it into your cup. Picking cherries too early or too late in the season will affect the taste of coffee, so only a trained eye knows exactly which fruit is at the right stage. Not many people know this, but the average Kona coffee tree yields about 13 pounds of raw cherry, which results in about 2 pounds of roasted coffee. So when you order 2 pounds of ATHENA of HAWAI’I from our Kona coffee farm, you’re actually buying the yearly fruit of an entire tree!

The Sun Drying

sundryDuring the pulping process the harvested red berries are soaked in the freshest and purest rainwater to ferment overnight. This labor-intense ‘wet method’ is the preferred way of processing high grown arabicas. The soaked skins and pulp are then removed from the beans, which are later washed and spread out to dry on a wooden drydeck. The moist beans are raked many times throughout the day so that the drying happens uniformly. Kona’s warm sun and gentle breezes dry the beans slowly to the perfect moisture level. Commercial grades of coffee utilize a mechanical drying method, which forces hot air over the beans to speed up the drying process. This method proves less labor intensive, therefore lowering the price. Sundried coffee maintains more of a delicate, mellow flavor--whereas kiln dried coffee will oftentimes lose some of the aromas Kona coffee is famous for. The only way to safely preserve coffee and its rich aromas for as long as possible is to keep it in its parchment form. Yet most coffee is processed very quickly to its green bean form in their respective country of origin. Once the green beans are exposed to air, light and humidity, the surface oxidizes and bacteria, yeasts and moulds start their deteriorating work. Many months journeys in the stuffy hold of a ship, various cargo trucks and warehouses go by before the green beans get to the roasters and ultimatively to your cup. I only hull the parchment of the beans before they are roasted. It's simply better, healthier, tastier.


The Kona Coffee Roasting

Only after roasting will the green coffee then look like the russet-tinted beans we’re accustomed to seeing in stores. The roasting process is also what gives coffee its aroma and distinctive taste. During this process the beans undergo a number of changes and lose about 20% of their moisture content. The typical flavor of coffee depends upon a minute quantity of aromatic, volatile oils called caffeol. Depending on the degree of roasting, the beans carbonize and the sugars inside the beans caramelize. The longer the beans are roasted, the darker and larger they become. Oils from within the bean come to the surface, giving it a shiny appearance, and the coffee then takes on more of a richer, bittersweet flavor. But it’s also important to know that too dark a roast emphasizes the bitter characteristics and removes some of the full body that Kona coffee is known for amongst connoisseurs. I always slowly and carefully roast my coffee to produce the finest batches of American (light), Vienna (medium) and French (dark) roasts.