Ye Dusty Olde Sweet Maria's Coffee Review Archive
2012-present -
2008-2011 -
2007 -
2005 -2006 -
2003 -2004 -
2001-2002 -
Pre-2000 -
Our Current Review Pages:


You are browsing the 2008-2011 Archived Reviews

Hawaii

  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Ka'anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen

We bought this amazing and amusing small-bean coffee years ago, a distinct cultivar grown on the island of Maui. This is a larger 16 screen version of the Maui Moka: the earlier lot we had was 11 screen; extremely tiny! The farm was originally a part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation since 1860, which diversified the land out of sugar cane into coffee in 1988 under the name Ka'anapali Estate Coffee. The farm was the product of careful research, and they chose to plant four coffee varieties: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and Moka variety. It is a unique farm in other respects, irrigated with a drip system and planted in precise rows to facilitate mechanical processing of the fruit. Given the flaws of this type of harvesting, additional steps must be taken at the mill to carefully sort out unripe coffee cherries that were picked by the machine. All this took serious capital investment to set up, and over time the project proved unsustainable; parts of the farm were sold for residential and resort development. However a portion of the remaining coffee estate is under the care of one of the original farmers, Kimo Falconer, and his new business called Maui Grown. With this, the Moka is now available in both washed and natural types. This is the natural (Dry-Process; DP) coffee, and I admit that 80% of the character here must be attributed to the process, since the elevations this is grown at are quite low, even by Hawaiian standards. But it is a tribute to the farm and their methods that they are even able to pick and process such small seeds! It requires extra care and specialized equipment. Having tried the wet-process version of the Moka, it pales in comparison to this DP lot.

Dry fragrance from this coffee has a muted fruity quality, with a dusting of cocoa powder. The lightest roast I did had a bit of sweet hay in the wet aroma, but at City+ to Full City this turned to a sweet grain, maple syrup, dark honey, and a Cocoa Puffs chocolate note. On the break there is a bit of sweet melted butter and a touch of chamomile tea. The cup has very low acidity, and may seem a bit imbalanced and flat. The positive qualities compensate well though: rustic sweetness, intense sweet fruit, and oily body. It has honey and maple sugar flavors, and a nice grain note, like honey wheat puffs. There is a muted, mild chocolate flavor, more like milk chocolate syrup, which is underscored by the thick body. This is much larger than the tiny, tiny 11 screen lot we had earlier ... it is still small since the shape is so rounded, but this grades out as 16 screen. It is hard to hear the 1st Crack and a bit hard to judge the color as well. I think air roasters might be the best option, since you can see the roast a bit better. In a Behmor, use the small grid Behmor roaster drum, and keep an eye on this coffee!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
The farm at Kaanapali
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Estate Grade
Region: Maui
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: May 2011 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16 screen
Varietal: Moka cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Low acidity, rustic sweetness, body
Roast: See the roast notes above! Because it is a natural coffee and smaller round bean, and color is hard to judge, this can be a challenge to roast. Behmor owners note the small size
Compare to: Yemen Moka cultivar grown in Hawaii - it's not exactly like either coffee though!
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm JBM Cultivar

This is a unique lot because it is from the Jamaica Blue Mountain cultivar, which is an old original Typica type that developed unique characteristics in Jamaica. It has a more rounded bean form, whereas classic Typica is quite elongated with a distinctive shape to the folding crease in the centerline of the bean. The seed was distributed from a selection at the University of Hawaii (UH) some time ago, to see how it compared to the Guatemala-derived Typica planted widely in Kona. When I last visited the farm, the difference in fruit and tree form was easily discernible with the JBM plants versus the Guatemala Typica, although the plants were rather inconsistent. There is some disagreement on the "Jamaican-ness" of this cultivar. While ti came from UH tagged as such, it seems to have characteristics of Mokka and the Guatemala Typica as well. Yet I can discern the cup differences in blind tasting quite easily, as well as the seed shape before and after roasting. This coffee is from the Kowali farm. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is in the Honaunau area of South Kona coast, and has the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides with dramatic ocean views below. They received the seeds for this coffee from UH and it represents a very small amount of their total production.

The cup is really nice! The dry fragrance at City to City+ is wonderfully floral and sweet. The wet aroma has honeysuckle floral scents, malty sweet notes, a powdered ginger accent, and cherry-like fruited hints. The cup has light body, with a crisp brightness and (was with the aromatics) clear floral notes. I preferred the lightest City roasts I did, with hints of hazelnut, juicy mouthfeel and slightly piney accent. It's nice, sweet coffee, a grain-like sweet bread flavor. The body is light, but suits the cup well. It's an expensive but very satisfying SO espresso, when roasted a bit more, to the Full City range.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Jamaica Blue Mountain type of Typica, grown at Kowali farm, Kona, Hawaii.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy/Extra Fancy Mix
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau district
Processing: Wet Process type
Arrival Date: Late March 2011 Arrival, GrainPro bags
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 18 Screen
Varietal: Jamaica Blue Mountain Typica
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-to-Medium intensity / Floral, mild, sweet
Roast: City+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right when the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
Compare to: Sweet, floral cup, a classic mild "Island coffee" flavor profile, with great aromatics!
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona - Moki's Farm

Moki’s Farm is near the town of Captain Cook on the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii. At 2000 ft, is a “mauka farm”, located on the upper or mountain side of the highway that transects the Kona coffee belt. The elevation at Moki’s assures the ideal amount of rain to water the coffee and sun to ripen and later dry the coffee while volcanic soils nurtures the coffee trees and provide great drainage for the roots. It has been a small privately owned family operated coffee farm for over 100 years. Unfortunately the widower of the coffee farmer was not able to maintain the farm and during the late 1980s and 90s the farm suffered from neglect. In January of 2000, Vivian and Roger Rittenhouse purchased the farm realizing their dream to own property in Hawaii and become part of its diverse culture and economy. Because of the condition of the farm and trees at the time of purchase, the Rittenhouse's made the difficult decision to remove most of the existing trees and replant. They were however, able to save approximately 50 trees that are 100 years old, to use as seed stock into the future. Roger's coffee is well-prepared, showing care in harvest and milling of the coffee. I became aware of this very small farm (just 2.1 acres) at the 2004 Kona Cupping Competition. It was a personal favorite, and upon returning to the mainland I contacted Roger to see if he was interested in offering us green coffee. We have been working together on shipping small lots of his coffee to California as they become "mature" (fully rested in parchment down to 12% moisture or less). It' s a bit pricey to deal with these small amounts, and ship a little at a time, but I cup each lot Roger sends and am really impressed with the consistent high quality. I guess that's why Moki's was the #2 coffee at the competition in '04, and has had honorable mentions or made the finals nearly every year since. Now, Moki's has hit it's peak in terms of cup quality.

I tested this lot at different roast levels and found chocolate, ranging from milk chocolate to more bittersweet types, at every roast level. There's a bit of dry coconut and almond in the light roast fragrance, and a caramelly sweetness. To these scents, the wet aroma adds dark raisin fruit notes, and a touch of molasses at FC roast. This is definitely another "up" year for Moki's in terms of cup quality. It has slight floral flavors in the light roast an attractive silky body. I did some roasts that were very light, City roast truly, and have sweet plum notes, along with the hibiscus floral aspects I mentioned. The roast taste has an almond nutty quality, and this is a flavor that dominated the nice SO espresso I made from Moki's. FC to FC+ have more of a raisin fruit, evident as it cools, and mild dark chocolate tangy flavors.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
A branch of coffee cherry at Moki's farm with green unripe, red, and over-ripe fruit.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: April 2011 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala type)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica balanced and mild character, chocolate-nut roast taste, floral in the light roasts
Roast: A very light City roast is ideal for drip brew, with plum and floral flavors. FC roast has silky body and sweet chocolate. I am very impressed with the single-Estate espresso I get from a Full City+ roast of this coffee.
Compare to: Estate grade Kona from one of the higher elevation farms.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Ka'u "Rusty's Hawaiian"

Rusty's Hawaiian is the name of a seminal farm in the Ka'u district on the big island of Hawaii. Ka'u is a highland region on the southern coast of the big island, Hawaii. If you drive through the Kona regions on the west coast, eventually you will wrap around on a gentle south-southeast heading and Ka'u will be on the plateau above you. It's about 30 miles from Kailua Kona as the crow flies, but 70 miles by the road. Rusty and Lorie Obra started planting coffee on this old, 12 acre abandoned sugar cane farm in 1999. Rusty organized local farmers to form the Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative, to help sell their coffee together and to get the word out: Kona was not the only coffee from the Big Island. Sadly, Rusty passed away in 2006. Lorie decided the best tribute to his legacy was to continue with the plan they had made to put Ka'u coffee on the map, to refine their unique quality control procedures, and to promote the Coop. Rusty's picks ripe cherry, sorts the cherry before pulping off the skin, re-sorts the parchment coffee while it dries on raised screens. All this results in a cleaner cup. Rusty's uses dry fermentation method, meaning that they let the coffee ferment without adding water, to achieve a vigorous and even fermentation throughout the batch. Along with Lorie, R. Miguel Meza has been working with Rusty's and Ka'u farmers to hone their process, separate and cup each harvest batch, and experiment with processing and roast to bring the most out of the coffee. This lot is 100% Typica cultivar.

The dry fragrance from the ground coffee has toasted barley malt quality, hazelnut, mild honey and a hint of honeysuckle. These scents are most clear in lighter roasts, City to City+. Each slightly different roast level has a unique aroma. My lightest roast has honey and toasted sunflower seed, while just a shade darker has caramel and malt. Light roasts have a brisk lemon tea (think Snapple) flavor that gives the cup a nice, refreshing quality. Slight floral hints emerge as it cools a bit; hawthorn seems the nearest floral descriptor. The body is light but I find a really pleasant, silky, mouth-coating quality in this coffee. It delivers a delicate and long lasting sweet aftertaste. The coffee is not intense. It's persistent yet subtle.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Rusty's Hawaiian from Ka'u, Big Island
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Fancy/XF
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Ka'u District
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: April 2011 Arrival, GrainPro Bags
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17+ screen
Varietal: Typica
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Delicate aromatics and flavors, light and silky mouthfeel
Roast: I admit I did not experiment much with darker roast levels. City to City+ produced such nice cups, I felt no need to go darker (and fear I would only lose the delicate cup qualities).
Compare to: Compares to higher grown Kona quite well. In fact, some will tell you much Ka'u coffee used to be sold as Kona... So maybe you HAVE tasted Ka'u coffee before!
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona Maragogype

Maragogype is a very large bean coffee varietal, a natural mutation of Typica coffee that was discovered in Brazil. It has been called the "Elephant Bean coffee," and the unique appearance made it historically popular in Europe. The Maragogype is a large plant with big leaves as well, and has low fruit production. It would surprise many in the coffee trade to know there is Maragogype grown in the Island! The Kainaliu Kona farm is above the town of Kainaliu, and is 20 acres or so with the top 2 acres planted in Maragogype. It is said this lot was planted quite by accident! The seeds came from the University of Hawaii coffee breeding program, but exactly how they were planted rather than the traditional Typica is unclear. But when Migel Meza sent me the sample and I cupped it, I was certainly glad they made this mistake. It's a great coffee. The harvest the coffee separately and use a hybrid process by removing some of the fruit layer on the seed mechanically (forced demucilage), while the remaining 10-20% of fruit is removed by fermentation over night. This lot is a blend of two separate harvest dates from November and December.

The lighter roasts have a very sweet peach cobbler fruited scent, with an overlay of almond and ginger. There's a hint of tropical fruit (guava, passionfruit) on the break. In the slightly darker roast the wet aroma has a flame grape scent as well. With the right roast, this coffee has such a sweet fruit nectar character in the cup. Apricot and peach come out in the lightest roast, and as it cools off a bit, violet floral notes emerge. At City+ the coffee has a meyer lemon (sweet, not tart) that comes to the front, with that fruit nectar-like taste and corresponding mouthfeel. The acidity is muted, and at lighter roasts it is possible to confuse the brighter fruit flavors for acidity. This is such a sweet and exotic coffee, not quite like any Maragogype I have cupped before, and definitely not like any Kona coffee I have tasted!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Green, unripe Maragogype cherry shows it's unique shape and size.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Estate
Region: Kainaliu Kona, Big Island, Kona
Processing: Wet-Process Style
Arrival Date: April 2011 Arrival, GrainPro Bags
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 19+ screen
Varietal: Maragogype
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Very sweet, fruited, nectar-like mouthfeel, floral.
Roast: A unique coffee from City+ to Full City range. Roasting can be difficult (not to mention feeding it into grinder burrs!), but sometimes Maragos can be fantastic. It benefits from gentle warm-up in the roaster, and long, gentle roast times temperature profiles.
Compare to: An outlier ... not like other Maragogypes, not like a Kona, but a fantastic sweet and fruited cup.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm Typica

Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown on other islands (Kauai, Maui, Oahu), it does not generally receive the same care and attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a moderate-sized Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional coffee. Skip and Rita Cowell are the owners of this 12 acre farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona and placed in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me a long time back, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" Last year she did enter it, and won first prize in the category for "larger" farms ... which is all relative. By all measures, Kowali is very small. The coffee is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. It has been recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage, the higher altitude than the farms down in the flatter areas, and the cultivar (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in 1892).

This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. Dry fragrance has honey-on-toast sweetness, chocolate biscuits, and a slight floral sweetness at lighter roast levels. I get hibiscus floral qualities from the wet aromatics too, while darker FC roast has a nice milk chocolate scent. The body is light but has a nice silky quality. And it has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral accent to the cup. A refined, elegant sweetness prevails, vanilla-laced honey that lasts through the crystal clear flavors in the finish. I found this real "sweet spot" at City+. But I appreciate taking it towards second crack too, and made a nice SO Espresso from that roast level. Mild island coffees like this, moderate in acidity and so well-balanced, are a great choice for un-blended espresso experiments.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Rita Cowell next to one of her towering coffee trees.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy/ Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: Late March 2011 Arrival, GrainPro bags
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala type)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica character, balanced, sweet, floral
Roast: City+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right before the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast.
Compare to: Classic Kona cup character, accented with floral notes and a refined sweetness. A consistently top-notch Kona.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm Typica -Dec 2010

Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown on other islands (Kauai, Maui, Oahu), it does not generally receive the same care and attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a moderate-sized Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me a long time back, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" Last year she did enter it, and won first prize in the category for "larger" farms ... which is all relative. By all measures, Kowali is very small. The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. It has been recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude.

This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. Dry fragrance has honey sweetness, mild chocolates, and a slight floral nectar sweetness at lighter roast levels. I get hibiscus floral qualities from the wet aromatics too, while darker FC roast has a nice milk chocolate scent. The body is light but has a nice silky quality. And it has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral accent to the cup. A refined, elegant sweetness prevails, vanilla-laced honey that lasts through the crystal clear flavors in the finish. I found this real "sweet spot" at City+. But I appreciate taking it towards second crack too, and made a nice SO Espresso from that roast level. Mild island coffees like this, moderate in acidity and so well-balanced, are a great choice for unblended espresso experiments.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Rita Cowell next to one of her towering coffee trees.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy/ Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: Late December 2010 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica character, balanced, sweet, floral
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right before the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast.
Compare to: Classic Kona cup character, accented with floral notes and a refined sweetness. A consistently top-notch Kona.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm Typica -May 2010

Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a smaller, more remote Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me a long time back, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" Well, this year she did enter it, and won first prize in the category for "larger" farms ... which is all relative. By all measures, Kowali is very small. The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. It has been recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude. This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. Dry fragrance has maple syrup, mild chocolates, and a floral nectar sweetness at lighter roast levels. I get floral qualities from the wet aromatics too, while darker FC roast has milk chocolate. The body is light but has a nice silky quality. And it has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral accent to the cup. While there is a very attractive cup at an FC roast on this coffee, I found a real "sweet spot" at City+, caramel-honey flavors. It is a delicate sweetness, with jasmine-hibiscus floral flavors, mild tea notes, light body (but silky), and a brief-yet-refined finish.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Rita Cowell next to one of her towering coffee trees.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy / Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: May 2010 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica character at the lighter roasts, very sweet and floral.
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right before the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast.
Compare to: Classic Kona cup character, simple and attractive, accented with floral notes and a refined sweetness. Kowali is consistently top-notch Kona.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Ka'anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen

We bought this amazing and amusing small-bean coffee years ago, a distinct cultivar grown on the island of Maui. This is a larger 16 screen version of the Maui Moka: the earlier lot we had was 11 screen; extremely tiny! The farm was originally a part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation since 1860, which diversified the land out of sugar cane into coffee in 1988 under the name Ka'anapali Estate Coffee. The farm was the product of careful research, and they chose to plant four coffee varieties: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and Moka variety. It is a unique farm in other respects, irrigated with a drip system and planted in precise rows to facilitate mechanical processing of the fruit. Given the flaws of this type of harvesting, additional steps must be taken at the mill to carefully sort out unripe coffee cherries that were picked by the machine. All this took serious capital investment to set up, and over time the project proved unsustainable; parts of the farm were sold for residential and resort development. However a portion of the remaining coffee estate is under the care of one of the original farmers, Kimo Falconer, and his new business called Maui Grown. With this, the Moka is now available in both washed and natural types. This is the natural (Dry-Process; DP) coffee, and I admit that 80% of the character here must be attributed to the process, since the elevations this is grown at are quite low, even by Hawaiian standards. But it is a tribute to the farm and their methods that they are even able to pick and process such small seeds! It requires extra care and specialized equipment. Having tried the wet-process version of the Moka, it pales in comparison to this DP lot. Dry fragrance from this coffee has a muted fruity quality, with a dusting of cocoa powder. The lightest roast I did had a bit of hay in the wet aroma, but at City+ to Full City this turned to a sweet grain, maple syrup, dark honey, and a Cocoa Puffs chocolate note. On the break there is a bit of sweet melted butter and a touch of chamomile tea. The cup has very low acidity, and may seem a bit imbalanced and flat. The positive qualities compensate well though: rustic sweetness, sweet fruit, and oily body. It has honey and maple sugar flavors, and a nice grain note, like honey wheat puffs. There is a muted, mild chocolate flavor, more like milk chocolate syrup, which is underscored by the thick body. This is much larger than the tiny, tiny 11 screen lot we had earlier ... it is still small since the shape is so rounded, but this grades out as 16 screen. It is hard to hear the 1st Crack and a bit hard to judge the color as well. I think air roasters might be the best option, since you can see the roast a bit better. In a Behmor, use the small grid Behmor roaster drum, and keep an eye on this coffee!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
The farm at Kaanapali
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Estate Grade
Region: Maui
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: June 2010 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16 screen
Varietal: Moka cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Low acidity, rustic sweetness, body
Roast: See the roast notes above! Because it is a natural coffee and smaller round bean, and color is hard to judge, this can be a challenge to roast. Behmor owners beware of the small size! City+ to FC roast had the best cup results.
Compare to: Yemen Moka cultivar grown in Hawaii - it's not exactly like either coffee though!
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona - Moki's Farm 2010

Moki’s Farm is near the town of Captain Cook on the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii. At 2000 ft, is a “mauka farm”, located on the upper or mountain side of the highway that transects the Kona coffee belt. The elevation at Moki’s assures the ideal amount of rain to water the coffee and sun to ripen and later dry the coffee while volcanic soils nurtures the coffee trees and provide great drainage for the roots. It has been a small privately owned family operated coffee farm for over 100 years. Unfortunately the widower of the coffee farmer was not able to maintain the farm and during the late 1980s and 90s the farm suffered from neglect. In January of 2000, Vivian and Roger Rittenhouse purchased the farm realizing their dream to own property in Hawaii and become part of its diverse culture and economy. Because of the condition of the farm and trees at the time of purchase, the Rittenhouse's made the difficult decision to remove most of the existing trees and replant. They were however, able to save approximately 50 trees that are 100 years old, to use as seed stock into the future. Roger's coffee is extremely well prepared, showing care in harvest and milling of the coffee. I became aware of this very small farm (just 2.1 acres) at the 2004 Kona Cupping Competition. It was a personal favorite, and upon returning to the mainland I contacted Roger to see if he was interested in offering us green coffee. We have been working together on shipping small lots of his coffee to California as they become "mature" (fully rested in parchment down to 12% moisture or less). It' s a bit pricey to deal with these small amounts, and ship a little at a time, but I cup each lot Roger sends and am really impressed with the consistent high quality. I guess that's why Moki's was the #2 coffee at the competition in '04, and has had honorable mentions or made the finals every year since. Now, Moki's has hit it's peak in terms of cup quality. I tested this lot at different roast levels and found chocolate, ranging from milk to bittersweet types, at every roast level. There's a bit of dry coconut and almond in the light roast fragrance, and a caramelly sweetness. To these scents, the wet aroma adds dark raisin fruit notes, and a touch of molasses at FC roast. This is definitely an "up" year for Moki's in terms of cup quality. It has more floral flavors in the light roast an attractive silky body. I did some roasts that were very light, City roast truly, and have sweet plum notes, along with the hibiscus floral aspects I mentioned. The roast taste has an almond nutty quality, and this is a flavor that dominated the nice SO espresso I made from Moki's. FC to FC+ have more of a raisin fruit, evident as it cools, and mild dark chocolate tangy flavors.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Ripe Typica coffee cherry at Moki's, from my last trip there ...
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: April 2010 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala type)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica balanced and mild character, chocolate-nut roast taste, floral in the light roasts
Roast: A very light City roast is ideal for drip brew, with plum and floral flavors. FC roast has silky body and sweet chocolate. I am very impressed with the single-Estate espresso I get from a Full City+ roast of this coffee.
Compare to: Estate grade Kona from one of the higher elevation farms. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Ka'anapali DP Maui Moka 11 Screen

We bought this amazing and amusing small-bean coffee years ago, a distinct cultivar grown on the island of Maui. The farm was originally a part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation since 1860, which diversified the land out of sugar cane into coffee in 1988 under the name Ka'anapali Estate Coffee. The farm was the product of careful research, and they chose to plant four coffee varieties: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and Moka variety. It is a unique farm in other respects, irrigated with a drip system and planted in precise rows to facilitate mechanical processing of the fruit. Given the flaws of this type of harvesting, additional steps must be taken at the mill to carefully sort out unripe coffee cherries that were picked by the machine. All this took serious capital investment to set up, and over time the project proved unsustainable; parts of the farm were sold for residential and resort development. However a portion of the remaining coffee estate is under the care of one of the original farmers, Kimo Falconer, and his new business called Maui Grown. With this, the Moka is now available in both washed and natural types. This is the natural (Dry-Process; DP) coffee, and I admit that 80% of the character here must be attributed to the process, since the elevations this is grown at are quite low, even by Hawaiian standards. But it is a tribute to the farm and their methods that they are even able to pick and process such small seeds! It requires extra care and specialized equipment. Having tried the wet-process version of the Moka, it pales in comparison to this DP lot. Dry fragrance from this coffee has a muted fruity quality, with a dusting of cocoa powder. The lightest roast I did had a bit of hay in the wet aroma, but at City+ to Full City this turned to a sweet grain, maple syrup, dark honey, and a Cocoa Puffs chocolate note. On the break there is a bit of sweet melted butter and a touch of chamomile tea. The cup has very low acidity, and may seem a bit imbalanced and flat. The positive qualities compensate well though: rustic sweetness and oily body. It has honey and maple sugar flavors, and a nice grain note, like honey wheat puffs. There is a muted, mild chocolate flavor, more like milk chocolate syrup, which is underscored by the thick body. This is not an easy coffee to roast because of the extremely small bean size (11 screen - the smallest we have ever received!). It is hard to hear the 1st Crack and a bit hard to judge the color as well. I think air roasters might be the best option, since you can see the roast a bit better. In a Behmor, even with the small grid Behmor roaster drum, I think the coffee can be extra challenging! Some will pass through the small grid Behmor drum and there will be more smoke than usual. But it is do-able ... just keep a close watch on it.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Maui Moka 11 Screen next to a Nic Pacamara Natural 17-21 screen. Like a Chihuahua and a Mastiff together. Are they both really c
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Estate Grade
Region: Maui
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: August 2010 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 11 screen
Varietal: Moka cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Low acidity, rustic sweetness, body
Roast: See the roast notes above! Because it is a small bean, and color is hard to judge, this can be a challenge to roast. Behmor owners beware of the small size! City+ to FC roast had the best cup results.
Compare to: Yemen Moka cultivar grown in Hawaii - it's not exactly like either coffee though!
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona XF Greenwell Farms

Greenwell Farms is more of a coffee mill than a farm. They are one of the old coffee families on the Big Island, and they still have trees of their own, but they save all that for their own roasting operation. What they do is buy local coffee cherry from all the small producers in the Captain Cook area, wet-process it, dry it, mill it, and offer it under their brand. It's difficult to know exactly where the coffee is from, except that Greenwell seems to be very good at buying quality red, ripe cherry, and has some of the best milling practices in Kona. They know what they're doing ... yet buying Greenwell can be a bit "hit or miss." You just have to cup the lots and look for something good. And that's why you see it on our offer list every other year or so. It just depends on what samples I see and how they cup. Well, this time around it's a very early offering, rather than January or February when most of our small farm Kona coffees start to become available. This particular lot is really charming, sweet, mild, balanced, with a slight floral accent. This cup has a sweet dry fragrance, with a hint of caramel malt, and mildly floral in the light roasts. It really opens up when you add hot water, with more pronounced floral tones, caramel cookie, sweet malt grain, and, in the darker roast levels, soft milk chocolate notes. At City+ roast this cup has a lively tea-like floral note, a hint of jasmine. It's a caramelly, balanced cup with silky body, At FC to FC+ roast levels, flavors become more sharp and tangy, with aromatic cedar, chocolate oreo cookie, clove and cinnamon stock spice. Both roasts are excellent, with very balanced attributes and rounded mouthfeel.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Hawaii Kona Typica, which is derived from Guatemala types.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: Late November 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ Screen
Varietal: Kona Typica
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-to-Medium intensity / Balanced, mild, good body, floral hint
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right when the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
Compare to: A classic mild "Island coffee" flavor profile, with floral hints in the lighter roasts
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Ka'anapali Estate DP Maui Moka

We bought this amazing small-bean coffee years ago, a distinct cultivar grown on the island of Maui. The farm was originally a part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation since 1860, which diversified the land out of sugar cane into coffee in 1988 under the name Kaanapali Estate Coffee. The farm was the product of careful research, and they chose to plant four coffee varieties: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and Moka variety. It is a unique farm in other repects, irrigated with a drip system and planted in precise rows to facilitate mechanical processing of the fruit. Given the flaws of this type of harvesting, additional steps must be taken at the mill to carefully sort out unripe coffee cherries that were picked by the machine. All this took serious capital investment to set up, and over time the project proved unsustainable; parts of the farm were sold for residential and resort development. However a portion of the remaining coffee estate are under the care of one of the original farmers, Kimo Falconer, and his new business called Maui Grown. With this, the Moka is now available in both washed and natural types. This is the natural (Dry-Process; DP) coffee, and I admit that 80% of the character here must be attributed to the process, since the elevations this is grown at are quite low, even by Hawaiian standards. But it is a tribute to the farm and their methods that they are even able to pick and process such small seeds! It requires extra care and specialized equipment. Having tried the wet-process version of the Moka, it pales in comparison the this DP lot. Dry fragrance from this coffee has a muted fruity quality, with a dusting of cocoa powder. The lightest roast I did had a bit of hay in the wet aroma, but at City+ to Full City this turned to a sweet grain, maple syrup, dark honey, and a Cocoa Puffs chocolate note. On the break there is a bit of sweet melted butter and a touch of chamomile tea. The cup has very low acidity, and may seem a bit imbalanced and flat. The positive qualities compensate well though: rustic sweetness and oily body. It has honey and maple sugar flavors, and a nice grain note, like honey wheat puffs. There is a muted, mild chocolate flavor, more like milk chocolate syrup, which is underscored by the thick body. This is not an easy coffee to roast because of the extremely small bean size (13-14 screen). It is hard to hear the 1st Crack and a bit hard to judge the color as well. I think air roasters might be the best option, since you can see the roast a bit better. In a Behmor, even with the small grid Behmor roaster drum, I think the coffee can be extra challenging! But what fun it is to roast these tiny round little beans!



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
The dried Moka coffee cherry "pods" ready to be hulled.
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Estate Grade
Region: Maui
Processing: Dry Process
Arrival Date: August 2009 Arrival
Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 12-14 screen
Varietal: Moka cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Low acidity, rustic sweetness, body
Roast: See the roast notes above! Because it is a small bean, and color is hard to judge, this can be a challenge to roast. Behmor owners beware of the small size! City+ to FC roast had the best cup results.
Compare to:
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm JBM Cultivar 2009

Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is in the Honaunau area of South Kona coast, and has the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides with dramaric ocean views below. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition, and 1st place in the "larger farm" category this year! The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. This is a unique lot because it is from the Jamaica Blue Mountain cultivar, which is an old original Typica type that developed unique characteristics in Jamaica. It has a more rounded bean form, whereas classic Typica is quite elongated with a distinctive shape to the folding crease in the centerline of the bean. The seed was distributed from a pure selection at the University of Hawaii some time ago, to see how it compared to the Guatemala-derived Typica planted widely in Kona. When I last visited the farm, the difference in fruit and tree form was easily discernible with the JBM plants versus the Guatemala Typica. The cup is exceptional! The dry fragrance at City to City+ is wonderfully floral and sweet. The wet aroma has honeysuckle floral scents, malty sweet notes, a powdered ginger accent, and cherry-like fruited hints. The cup has light body, with a crisp brightness and (was with the aromatics) clear floral notes. I preferred the lightest City roasts I did, with hints of hazelnut, and slightly piney accent. It's very sweet coffee, a grain-like sweet bread flavor. The body is light, but suits the cup well. It's an expensive but very satisfying SO espresso, when roasted a bit more, to FC/FC+



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Jamaica Blue Mountain cultivar of Typica, grown at Kowali farm, Kona, Hawaii.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy/Extra Fancy Mix
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau district
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: June 2009 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 18 Screen
Varietal: Jamaica Blue Mountain cultivar
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-to-Medium intensity / Floral, mild, sweet
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right when the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
Compare to: Sweet, floral cup, a classic mild "Island coffee" flavor profile, with great aromatics!
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm Typica 2009

Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a smaller, more remote Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me a long time back, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" Well, this year she did enter it, and won first prize in the category for "larger" farms ... which is all relative. By all measures, Kowali is very small. The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. It has been recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude.

This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. Dry fragrance has maple syrup, mild chocolates, and a floral nectar sweetness at lighter roast levels. I get floral qualities from the wet aromatics too, while darker FC roast has milk chocolate. The body is light but has a nice silky quality. And it has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral accent to the cup. While there is a very attractive cup at an FC roast on this coffee, I found a real "sweet spot" at City+. A refined, elegant sweetness prevails, with jasmine floral flavors, mild tea flavors, light body (but silky), and a brief-yet-refined finish.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Rita Cowell next to one of her towering coffee trees.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy/ Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: June 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica character at the lighter roasts, very sweet and floral.
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right before the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast.
Compare to: Classic Kona cup character, accented with floral notes and a refined sweetness. A consistently top-notch Kona.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona - Moki's Farm 2008

Moki’s Farm is near the town of Captain Cook on the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii. At 2000 ft, is a “mauka farm”, located on the upper or mountain side of the highway that transects the Kona coffee belt. The elevation at Moki’s assures the ideal amount of rain to water the coffee and sun to ripen and later dry the coffee while volcanic soils nurtures the coffee trees and provide great drainage for the roots. It has been a small privately owned family operated coffee farm for over 100 years. Unfortunately the widower of the coffee farmer was not able to maintain the farm and during the late 1980s and 90s the farm suffered from neglect. In January of 2000, Vivian and Roger Rittenhouse purchased the farm realizing their dream to own property in Hawaii and become part of its diverse culture and economy. Because of the condition of the farm and trees at the time of purchase, the Rittenhouses made the difficult decision to remove most of the existing trees and replant. They were however, able to save approximately 50 trees that are 100 years old, to use as seedstock into the future. Roger's coffee is extremely well prepared, showing care in harvest and milling of the coffee. I became aware of this very small farm (just 2.1 acres) at the 2004 Kona Cupping Competition. It was a personal favorite, and upon returning to the mainland I contacted Roger to see if he was interested in offering us green coffee. We have been working together on shipping small lots of his coffee to California as they become "mature" (fully rested in parchment down to 12% moisture or less). It' s a bit pricey to deal with these small amounts, and ship a little at a time, but I cup each lot Roger sends and am really impressed with the consistent high quality. I guess that's why Moki's was the #2 coffee at the competition in 04, and has had honorable mentions previously, and why in each round of the competition I scored this coffee consistently high. In 2005, the crop matured late in the Moki's area, and it wasn't really ready for the competition. This is a problem with events like this; some farms suffer because the cupping is held too early in the crop cycle. Now, Moki's has hit it's peak in terms of cup quality. I tested this lot at 5 different roast levels and found myself liking the darker roasts (Full City, Full City+) this year. There are floral notes in the lighter roasts, but the slightly darker roast had more complexity, balance, body. I was especially excited about these roast for espresso. With a proper rest of 48+ hours, this was great single farm ristretto type espresso.





View Cupping Scores
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Estate Grade (F and XF)
Region: Big Island
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: May 2008 Arrival
Appearance: ..4 d/300gr, 17+ scr
Varietal: Kona Typica
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium / Balance, subtlety
Roast: I like Full City roast, and a good 48 hour rest on this coffee. Many people like a heavier roast on Konas. Actually, a Vienna roast is a pretty neat cup and I am very impressed with the single-Estate espresso I get from a Full City+ roast of this coffee.
Compare to: Estate grade Kona from one of the higher elevation farms.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona Purple Mountain

This is a coffee that is uniquely Kona, with that soft "island profile" cup character. There are flavors very specific to Kona coffees grown on the handful of farms that actually have the right altitude and the right soils to grow coffee that demands the premium Kona price. The biggest problem with Hawaiian island coffee is not that these few small-farm Konas command a high price, it's that a lot of poor quality coffees and non-Kona coffees are priced according to the reputation of the deserving ones. Some excellent Konas are sold directly by the mills in Kona and they can be quite good too, but they vary to a greater degree than actual farm-specific lots. Judging by the cup, Purple Mountain immediately struck me as the kind of coffee that is true small-farm Kona, where the coffee is clearly farmed for quality and not quantity.. In fact, at 2000 feet in the well-drained volcanic soils of Honaunau region of Kona, and the farm has certainly hit its stride in this their 25th year. The coffee is pesticide-free (not organic certified but all by all measures they practice organic farming), hand-picked and totally sun-dried. The farm is limited to 8 acres, and the Stiles family that own and farm it are active participants in the Kona cupping competitions. The coffee is usually milled by the well-known Tom Greenwell of Greenwell Farms, but there can still be an occasional broken bean, or partial defect bean in this coffee. Remove this before roasting for the best cup results. The cup ... The KPM has a sweet, soft aroma with a hint of jasmine floral note in some cups, and aromatic woody notes. The cup has nice body, a little creamy, and a clean sweet snap to the cup right off the bat. Initially, the dry grounds have macademia nut and vanilla touches, and these come through as in the flavor too, as the cup cools down. With the lighter roast (City) the acidity is mildly citric, floral, and the roast taste is malty-sweet. City + roast did not work for this coffee last year ( I preferred the darker roasts only)r, but this year I am enjoying the light roast treatment immensely. Purple Mountain also works great at FC+ roast - it has a nice, bittersweet roast taste at that level with no loss in body, and perhaps greater dark roast intensity than the other Konas.





View Cupping Scores
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy/Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Captain Cook, Kona
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: March 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Kona Typica (Guatemala-origin)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Balanced, good floral aroma, nice chocolate (FC+)
Roast: City+ produces really nice cups with the more delicate floral notes; FC to FC+ has great chocolate character. FC+ to Vienna makes great S.O. espresso!
Compare to: Clean, mild, floral Kona. It's an "island profile coffee" with nice delicate floral notes. We buy only the Fancy and Extra Fancy graded lots, all of it. If you ever see someone else's KPM, it's the lower grade No.1
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona Kowali Farm EXTRA FANCY

This is the same review as the FANCY because the difference here is bean size. Extra Fancy is the larger bean, 19/64ths and up. Fancy is 17-18 screen size. While you can argue that larger beans have a different heat transfer, they are the same coffee and will cup the same. Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a smaller, more remote Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. In 1998 the farm was recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District as the co-operator of the year for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude. This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. The body is silky, and (oh it sounds like a cliche, but I must use it) ... smooth! It really is! It has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral aromatic accent to the cup. Earlier this season, I prefered an FC roast on this coffee, but with this micro-lot I found a real "sweet spot" at City+.





View Cupping Scores
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau district
Processing: Wet Process
Arrival Date: January 2008 Arrival
Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 19+ Screen
Varietal: Kona Typica
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Classic Kona Typica character: silky body, clean, floral brightness
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right when the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
Compare to: Sweet, juicy, classic Kona cup character, accented with bright floral notes. A luscious and attractive cup.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona - Moki's Farm 2009

Moki’s Farm is near the town of Captain Cook on the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii. At 2000 ft, is a “mauka farm”, located on the upper or mountain side of the highway that transects the Kona coffee belt. The elevation at Moki’s assures the ideal amount of rain to water the coffee and sun to ripen and later dry the coffee while volcanic soils nurtures the coffee trees and provide great drainage for the roots. It has been a small privately owned family operated coffee farm for over 100 years. Unfortunately the widower of the coffee farmer was not able to maintain the farm and during the late 1980s and 90s the farm suffered from neglect. In January of 2000, Vivian and Roger Rittenhouse purchased the farm realizing their dream to own property in Hawaii and become part of its diverse culture and economy. Because of the condition of the farm and trees at the time of purchase, the Rittenhouse's made the difficult decision to remove most of the existing trees and replant. They were however, able to save approximately 50 trees that are 100 years old, to use as seed stock into the future. Roger's coffee is extremely well prepared, showing care in harvest and milling of the coffee. I became aware of this very small farm (just 2.1 acres) at the 2004 Kona Cupping Competition. It was a personal favorite, and upon returning to the mainland I contacted Roger to see if he was interested in offering us green coffee. We have been working together on shipping small lots of his coffee to California as they become "mature" (fully rested in parchment down to 12% moisture or less). It' s a bit pricey to deal with these small amounts, and ship a little at a time, but I cup each lot Roger sends and am really impressed with the consistent high quality. I guess that's why Moki's was the #2 coffee at the competition in '04, and has had honorable mentions or made the finals every year since. Now, Moki's has hit it's peak in terms of cup quality. I tested this lot at different roast levels and found chocolate, ranging from milk to bittersweet types, at every roast level. There's a bit of dry coconut and almond in the light roast fragrance. To this, the wet aroma adds dark raisin fruit notes, and a touch of molasses at FC roast. I think this is the best Moki's farm we've ever had. It has more floral flavors than I can remember at lighter roast settings and a silky body. I did some roasts that were very light, City roast truly, and have really sweet plum notes, along with the floral aspects I mentioned. FC to FC+ have more of a raisin fruit, evident as it cools, and mild dark chocolate tangy flavors.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Ripe Typica coffee cherry at Moki's, from my last trip there ...
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: January 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica balanced and mild character, chocolate, floral in the light roasts
Roast: A very light city roast is ideal for drip brew, with plum and floral flavors. FC roast has silky body and sweet chocolate. I am very impressed with the single-Estate espresso I get from a Full City+ roast of this coffee.
Compare to: Estate grade Kona from one of the higher elevation farms. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona XF -Kowali Farm Typica

Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a smaller, more remote Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me a long time back, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" Well, this year she did enter it, and won first prize in the category for "larger" farms ... which is all relative. By all measures, Kowali is very small. The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. It has been recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude. This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. Dry fragrance has maple syrup, mild chocolates, and a floral nectar sweetness at lighter roast levels. I get floral qualities from the wet aromatics too, while darker FC roast has milk chocolate. The body is silky, and (oh it sounds like a cliche, but I must use it) ... smooth ... it really is! It has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral accent to the cup. While there is a very attractive cup at an FC roast on this coffee, I found a real "sweet spot" at City+. A refined, elegant sweetness prevails, with jasmine floral flavors, mild tea flavors, light body (but silky), and a brief-yet-refined finish.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
Rita Cowell next to one of her towering coffee trees.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau distric
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: January 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Ideal Kona Typica character at the lighter roasts, very sweet and floral.
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right before the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
Compare to: Classic Kona cup character, accented with floral notes and a refined sweetness. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Kona Lehuula Farm

Lehuula Farms lies on the western slope of Hualalai Mountain at approximately 1400 feet. This area features a unique combination of volcanic soils, temperature, rainfall, sunshine, and cloud cover. It's a 4-acre coffee farm, with more than 4,000 coffee trees many of which are 90 or more years old. The coffee orchard pruned in accordance to the Beaumont – Fukunaga Vertical Pruning System using a 3-year rotation, in which the farmer removes all of the verticals from trees in every third row. They have an advanced ecological friendly mill as well, a processing system uses only a fraction of the water of regular wet-process pulpers, and therefore produces less water contaminated with the fermented coffee fruit. Bob Nelson, the owner, has been a finalist in the Kona coffee competition several times, and again in this crop. I had received a few samples from them in the off season and was really impressed by the sweetness and delicate floral notes, what I look for in great small-farm Kona coffees. The dry fragrance has caramel and suggestion of sweet root beer. The wet aroma is where I start to get floral notes of mild jasmine. The cup has a dry acidity paired with tropical flowers, a touch of hibiscus tea (Jamaica), and caramel. The body is light, as with many Konas. While I like the lighter roasts, FC had great qualities; chocolate bittersweets emerge, and the body seems more substantial. I also made some nice Single Origin espresso from the FC+ roast, with excellent, persistent crema and a long finish.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
The Lehuula Farm Kona coffee label.
Country: Hawaii, United States
Grade: Extra Fancy and Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: January 2009 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Floral brightness, dry acidity, mild chocolate.
Roast: City+ roast has the brightest cup with more floral character. Full City and Full City+ were my favorite roasts, more balanced, and also resulted in nice SO espresso
Compare to: Floral Kona Typica, balanced at FC roast as well. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
View Cupping Scores
 
 
  Bookmark and Share
Hawaii Ka'u - Will & Grace Farm

Ka'u is a highland region on the southern coast of the big island, Hawaii. If you drive through the Kona regions on the west coast, eventually you will wrap around on a gentle south-southwest heading and Ka'u will be on the plateau above you. It's about 30-40 miles from Kailua Kona. This lot is from a 7-acre farm of Will and Grace Tabios, who have been gaining attention submitting their coffees to the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Roasters Guild Cupping Pavilion Competition. They won 6th place in 2007 among all origins ... not bad for a coffee grown at 1500 feet competing against those from 1500 meters or more! I panned Ka'u coffees years ago, when I received initial samples. They seemed mundane, a facsimile of mediocore Kona coffees. And the bias of the Kona farmers against any non-Kona coffees did not inspire further investigation with Ka'u producers. In fact, a lot of coffee is grown on other islands and other zones than Kona, and it rarely adds up to anything more than a flat, low-grown, insipid cup. So the samples from this particular Ka'u farm, Will and Grace (I know, it's like "Seinfeld Estate" or something), took me by surprise. They were well-prepped and sweet, with a rounded mouthfeel. It reminded me of the best of small farm Konas. Certainly, Ka'u has progressed. I will focus on the excellent wet-processed lot, but we have trace amounts of pulp natural and natural dry-process to offer on a very, very limited basis. The dry fragrance has a malt syrup and caramel sweet aspect, and some minor winey fruit hint to the cup. The wet aroma adds to this a nice, lush floral scent at C+ roast levels. It's a classic Kona-type coffee in many respects, with that intrepidly balanced flavor profile, the triangle of brightness-body-flavor in moderate and equal amounts. There are drying nut flavors (macademia, brazil nut), toasted bread, silky light mouthfeel, and a soft floral-tinted sweetness. As it cools, the roast notes get more chocolate-like and drying, with a somewhat minty sharpness At a slightly darker roast (FC - FC+) the coffee is pungent, peppery, with tangy dark roast bittersweetness. The body is a bit thinner as the roast progresses, but this can be offset by resting the coffee 24+ hours after roasting.



This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.

View Cupping Scores
green coffee bean
Country: Hawaii
Grade: Extra Fancy
Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Ka'u District
Processing: Wet-Process
Arrival Date: August 2008 Arrival
Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen
Varietal: Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Balanced, good aroma, mild
Roast: City+ has a classic, mild "Island Coffee" character, whereas FC has a nice tangy bittersweet cup. A melange blend of the lighter and darker roasts draws out depth from the coffee.
Compare to: Kona, of course. At FC+ this coffee produces a great SO espresso. This coffee is part of our direct trade Farm Gate pricing transparency program.
View Cupping Scores