Sunday, September 13, 2009

Coffee Country

We've done tours of wine country in several different parts of the world...New York, California, Italy... Its always fun going from winery to winery tasting different wines. You have to be a bit careful though, because the driver has to stop tasting after a while, or at least use the spit bucket, and the passenger will get sleepy and just drift off.

This is NOT what happens when you tour coffee country. You go from estate to estate, and every one has big pots of freshly brewed Kona coffee you can taste. Oh, and they all have public restrooms. And the longer you go, the more wired you get, till you're bouncing off the walls! And you've bought too much coffee, and the car smells of freshly roasted coffee....

Anyways, Friday morning we set out to explore Kona and the coffee growing area.

Our first stop was the town of Holuakoa. This is a very cute, small heritage town, with historic shops and a few galleries. There is not a lot here, but its fun to visit. The galleries are mostly run by the artists themselves, and they are all pretty chatty. We visit a few and talk with the owners and learn a bit about their craft.

There is one guy who makes decorated gourds, using an ancient dying technique, where he carves the design on the outside of the gourd, then puts the dye inside. Its pretty neat looking:

My favorite is the Ukelele workshop. This guy not only makes ukes, he teaches others how to make their own in his tiny workshop. Here's the workshop:

And here he is giving Todd a ukelele lesson:

Of course, there is a coffee shop in town. There's also this interesting old hotel:

We drive on to a small coffee estate called Blue Sky Coffee. We decided to pass on their garden tour, but taste their Kona coffee and its very good.we buy another pound.

We drive south through the hills above Kealakaku and the south Kona coast. We stop at Greenwell Coffee farm. Here we take the short tour of the facilities, taking a look at some coffee trees and the harvesting operation.

Here are some coffee cherries, some are ready to pick:

ANd then, of course, they are picked and put in sacks like these:

We stopped for lunch in Captain Cook, at a lovely little restaurant called the Ke'ei cafe. Its nicer than we expected. We have excellent fish tacos, and mushroom fettucine. And lillikoi ice tea (definitely couldn't drink any more coffee at this point!).


  1. I'm so glad you included Greenwell Farms & Ke'ei Cafe'in your tour. We enjoyed them both as well, when we visited. You really could be a professional photographer. I especially love the one of the bags of coffee.

  2. Reta, it was because of your recommendation that we stopped at Greenwell for the tour, I remembered that you said how much you enjoyed it.

    we also bought the cutest little christmas ornament's an angel holding a sack of coffee cherries :)