Latest Posts

  1. Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea is often lumped in with Indonesian coffees. But it is distinct in nearly every way.

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  2. Flores


    Flores is small by island standards, just about 360 kilometers end to end. It is in the Indonesian archipelago, between Sumbawa and Timor islands.

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  3. Costa Rica

    Costa Rica

    If there is a problem with Costa Rica coffee, it's the fact that it can lack distinction; it is straightforward, clean, softly acidic, mild.

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  4. Dominican Republic

    Dominican Republic

    Good news, Sammy Sosa ...the Dominican produces more than mild cigars. It has a tradition of coffee production that dates back several centuries now.

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  5. Mexico


    Mexican coffee originates from South-central to Southern regions of the country.

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  6. Uganda


    he variety of wild Robusta coffee still growing today in Uganda's rain forests are thought to be some of the rarest examples of naturally occurring coffee trees anywhere in the world.

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  7. Nicaragua


    Nicaraguan coffees have a wide range of flavor attributes. Some cup like Mexican coffees from Oaxaca, others have a more pronounced acidity.

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  8. El Salvador

    El Salvador

    El Salvador coffee had a poor reputation for years, marred mostly by the inability to deliver coffee of high quality within an unstable social climate.

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  9. Panama


    Coffee from Panama was once overlooked and under-rated, but not any longer.

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  10. Ethiopia


    Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that Coffea Arabica grew wild.

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  11. Decaf


    Green coffee is decaffeinated before roasting. This process changes the color of the green coffee: it varies from light brown (Natural and CO-2) to green-brown (MC and Swiss Water Process -SWP- decafs).

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  12. Australia


    Okay, it is a continent and an island. But how do you classify Australian coffee?

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Hawaii... what a nice place. They grow nuts, fruit, and coffee. The coffee is expensive. It is mild (sometimes too mild). It can be terrible and flat, or it can be wonderful! The best coffees cost a lot and the worst cost way too much. So the goal with Hawaiians is to quit thinking that all Hawaiian coffee is good, and to realize that only a handful of coffees deserve the high price in terms of cup quality (you can easily argue that all deserve a high price in terms of the care and labor expended in producing them). And frankly, you must pay quite a bit for the truly great small-farm Kona.


Beyond Kona

We had occasionally offered coffees from Maui, Molokai, and Kauai. But these are not usually grown like true small farm Estate grade coffees from the Big Island, nor do they taste like them. Kona isn't grown at impressive altitudes compared to other coffee origins, but on Maui and Kauai coffee is grown at exceptionally low elevations, sometimes near tide pool level! Also, much Kona is an older coffee variety, Typica, a traditional type that cannot be grown at the lowest elevations. Recently, we found out that Ka'u coffees have come a long way, and can be excellent. So Ka'u is a region with credible quality potential.

In a historical sense, coffees like Kona are the pinnacle of a particular definition of what "good coffee" is: clean, pleasant, mild, good aftertaste. This is a notion of "good coffee" handed down from a time when low-grade coffee was called Brazil Rio and it had a seriously foul, dirty taste (so distinctly awful it is still called Rioy in defective coffee terminology). The best coffees were considered the polar opposite; island coffees -- mild, delicate and clean.

Certain exotic coffee origins we appreciate as intense and unusual flavor profiles, such as Yemeni coffees, Ethiopian Harar, and wet-hulled Sumatras for example, would be considered defective in this definition. If you love those intense coffees, Kona may seem too timid, too simple, too mild. With scores in the mid-80s, they don't rate like the best Kenyas or Ethiopias, but the descriptors indicate balance and clean cup quality. Consider this when you taste good Hawaiian coffees.


Hawaii Coffee Pricing

The famously fragile ecology of Hawaii has been shattered; along with other invasive species and insects, the recent appearance of Broca, the Coffee Berry Borer insect, has had a huge negative effect on the farms of Hawaii. Coffee is being downgraded before export, and can't fetch the prices it used to as an Extra Fancy grade when it gets knocked down to Kona No. 1 Grade. The affected beans do affect cup quality, but can be sorted out. Yet this takes labor, and in an expensive market that is just not feasible. Still, we are landing some really nice small-farm coffees, and paying prices to offset the losses the farms are experiencing from this latest crisis.


A Whole Lot More About Hawaii Coffee

2005 Kona Travelogue


Hawaii coffee offerings

Back to coffee origins page