New Years is different. It's a time for hope. Spring lurks over the horizon, and you can see a stretch in the evening. Who doesn't love that opportunity to start afresh? The dawning of a new year...
That's why I like mornings in general. A new day and a mini start over. Perhaps that is why I'm a morning person, or maybe it's just that I love, love, love coffee! So when we were in Hawaii (yes, I'm still banging on about this place!) we went on a coffee tasting tour, a couple of them in fact.
Our first stop was the Hilo Coffee Mills in Mountain View, Hawaii. I'd heard of Kona Coffee but not Hilo Coffee, and I was curious. Hilo Coffee Mills is an all women run business. They were great hosts and gave us a private tour, free and extremely educational. The coffee was delicious too.
We saw coffee trees growing in the grounds and some had cherries.
coffee tree died a few years back - over-watering.
We also visited a coffee plantation on the West side of the Island, the Kona side of the Island, called Mountain Thunder. It's near the airport and a good quick side trip between checking out of your hotel and checking in for your flight home (sob!) They give out free samples of delicious coffee and are an organic farm.
Keeping weeds at bay is a major problem. With the heat and copious amounts of water the weeds grew like..., em, weeds! At Mountain Thunder they employed an organic team of weeders to deal with the newly germinated sprouts each day.
Another problem is that the coffee cherries ripen at different times, so for maximum production and quality, the ripe berries need to be hand picked, leaving behind the less ripe cherries to ripen later.
The beans then need to be dried. This can be a challenge in Hawaii with its high humidity and frequent rain.
Interestingly, the Hawaiin coffees have a very light roast. This is because the high qualty of the beans allows for this. The longer and darker you roast coffee the less you taste coffee and the more you taste the roast. Most coffee houses start with an inferior bean and roast their coffee dark to mask the bad beans.
As you roast the bean you "burn" the coffee off. Lighter roasts of coffee have more caffeine in them. So even though an Italian or French roast seems to pack a bigger coffee punch, in fact it has less caffeine than a milder lighter roast that actually tastes of coffee.
Another thing that I learned was that many coffees are marketed as a Kona blend, but that just means that the coffee must have at least 10% Kona coffee beans...i.e. one in every ten beans is a Kona bean.
So my New Years resolution is to find a local supplier of 100% Kona coffee!
Happy New Year!