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Author Topic: Coffee Farming on the Big Island  (Read 1103 times)
AKforza
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« on: October 26, 2014, 10:02:53 PM »

In my travels I am game to experience something new now and again and gain some appreciation for the how's it done folks. I have a friend in Kalaoa at about 1500 ft elevation with about 600 trees who needed help picking cherry ( ripe coffee beans ) before she left for the mainland. So I headed over to work with her Swiss neighbors to help with the processing. Thankfully it was partly cloudly as it was my second full day on the island. I was shortly educated in the refinement of picking and understanding the impacts of the borer beattle on the Island Kona Coffee production. The infestation now affects over some 30% of the island production and destroys the bean and the taste of good Kona coffee.  Good farmers go to great pains to insure their coffee is pure and they contain the spread of the infestation. This means you pick the good, bad and spent beans to get them off the tree and sort out the bad ones. Locals do this by floating, beans that sink are good those that float are discarded. To ensure spread of the bug is contained bad beans are bagged in black plastic with the pulp of processed beans and covered with a black tarp under the sun to ferment and kill off the bugs. Its a whole lot of work and effort when the field next to yours is no longer maintained and the bugs have taken over.


The machine is a pulper that strips the bean from the husk and seperates the bean in two. Its made in Columbia and takes the place of about twenty people on a table doing it by hand. We processed about 400 lbs in about two hours after soaking the beans for about 12 hours.







The beans sit out on the drying rack until the reach about 12 % moisture content and then the parchment can be removed and you will have finished green beans ready for roasting. Its a labor of love for the small farmer and there is no money in it even at $22 per lb for roasted coffee. It was fun but a whole lot of work. So would I do it again you ask? Like I said its a labor of love and I love my coffee.
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Kelly
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2014, 11:21:07 PM »

Looks like and interesting experience. 

I do hope they can control the bug infestation and keep the coffee coming.  My favorite blend is made with Kona beans and I would hate for the supply to dry up. 
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Craig
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2014, 11:27:12 PM »

Love Kona coffee!
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Expat47
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2014, 07:23:27 AM »

Farming is hard but rewarding work, period!
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 12:51:15 AM »

Where do I sign up?!
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Greg
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 12:54:18 AM »

We have a Juan Valdez among us! 
Anyone remember who he was?
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Greg
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 09:05:15 AM »

Yup, he's the guy that overburdened his donkey.
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billg
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2014, 05:51:16 PM »

Interesting insight and info.  Thanks!
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