Are you a coffee lover or are you with someone who is? On your next vacation trip to the Big Island, plan on spending some time getting to know the Kona region and tasting the coffee it is famous for. There are over 4,000 acres of prime Kona land in coffee production, owned by about 750 coffee farms!
To narrow down your kona coffee search and begin your adventure, you need a treasure map that shows you where all of the valuable cups of Kona coffee are located. Lucky for all of us, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival produces such a map. You can probably pick one up at your Big Island hotel's concierge's desk, or download the PDF version directly from the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.
These Kona coffee farm locations are not as generic looking and convenient as a Starbuck's drive thru window, but I did say it was an adventure:) If you can, rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle for the day instead of driving your nice clean rental car. Some of these farms are located on true country roads, meaning unpaved dusty or muddy (depending on the weather) pot holed roads. Also not all of these rural area roads may be marked, so be patient and allow for plenty of time, and bring your cell phone in case you get lost.
It really does make sense to call ahead because things can change from the time of printing, such as hours and days of operation. You can also ask about road conditions and some places may take, and even prefer if you made an appointment.
If you take your Kona coffee country driving tour during the spring, you will see millions of tiny white fragrant coffee blossoms laden on the coffee tree branches. The Big Islanders call this beautiful sight "Kona snow."
If you come during the months of August to March, you will see red ripe "cherries" growing from the coffee trees -- within each cherry fruit hides a prized coffee bean. This harvest period depends on rainfall but this is the general picking time. The green coffee fruits do not ripen at the same time, and only the red cherries are picked by hand -- a process which takes several months.
Almost all of the coffee farms are run by families or small business owners, so you can get a real feel for the coffee farmer's way of life and pride that goes into their product. Taste free samples of coffee grown from the farm you are visiting, and learn what makes Kona coffee taste so good. Most importantly, don't forget to buy a couple bags of Kona coffee to take back home!
For more kona coffee related posts visit our kona coffee blog category.