KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii, September 3, 2011—With more than 800 coffee farms in this quaint island town it is no wonder the Kona brand of coffee has become an industry standard worldwide.
A highly respected, and sought after product it’s obvious these islanders take their coffee production seriously, island style of course.
The history of Kona coffee dates back 180 years as the first tree arrived in 1828 from Africa. Since, it has become a backbone of Kona’s local economy as a leading agricultural export.
This success is understandable given the island as a whole represents 13 of the 15 known climactic regions on earth providing soil that produces a diverse and rich environment for flora, and fauna to exist and offering uniquely ideal conditions for coffee growing.
On my recent trip to Kailua-Kona, I visited Mountain Thunder. While sipping some of Kona’s finest organic brew, I was escorted around the plantation. Mountain Thunder is a family owned and operated farm.
Visitors feel feel at home, and connected to the land, while sharing in Mountain Thunders authentic, and continued commitment to coffee production.
This farm’s commitment begins with the delicate and patient growing process and continues with specific and detailed selection, production, and roasting procedures. Determined to grow the finest quality bean with highly engineered production and roasting techniques – every bean is first selected based on its greatest potential to produce distinct flavors.
The machines and staff categorize and select the purest and healthiest beans assessing weight, size, and texture. Even the ‘bad’ beans are cycled back into the soil to enhance the overall nutrient content. In the end, presenting only the most ideal beans to be packaged and shared for the world to enjoy.
Mountain Thunder beans are harvested at 3,200-feet which initially many local growers thought was somewhat risky. However, as proven, this environment further creates distinct weather patterns of sunny mornings, cloudy afternoons, and often a short rainfall late in the day, ideal growing conditions. During the growing process, farmers are able to avoid using pesticides and instead weed plants by hand taking into consideration the additional temperature and seasonal fluctuations at higher elevation.
This extra attention to detail is actually beneficial in what would otherwise be considered more extreme conditions of altitude.
Mountain Thunder coffee is GOCA (Guaranteed Organic Certification Agency) certified and carries the official stamp of 100% Kona with a Seal of Quality from the state of Hawaii. Kona coffee has become a ‘brand’ of coffee built on integrity as it is of the highest quality standards and is specifically farmed within a particular area of the island.
Mountain Thunder takes it a step further by insuring ‘everything’ produced is used even back to the skin of the bean which is broken down for its tremendous antioxidant properties.
The qualified staff at Mountain Thunder understand organic farming and maintain this holistic approach throughout.
During my visit I met Judy who works on the farm. She is a skilled organic farmer. Moving to Hawaii and having worked at Mountain Thunder for over 20 years. She also works part time at the kava bar, Kanaka Kava, in Kona where patrons (including myself) enjoy fresh kava juice extracted directly from the root, served in coconut shells.
Judy’s passion and knowledge of organic farming is evident as she entertains and educates us on what is required to truly create the finest and most authentic gourmet Kona coffees.
Mountain Thunder has become a visitors’ paradise, within paradise, offering tours, activities, and samplings. With Kona coffees rich history, the uniqueness and beauty of this town, and the Kona coffee brand being so highly regarded worldwide many folks are thrilled to come for a visit. They come to see this magnificent island and learn about and experience the magic and science behind Kona’s abundance of coffee farms. To share in the experience of immersing oneself in the smells, tastes, and beauty of the farms landscape, and the freedom of the island as roosters, wild birds, and lizards roam the plantation.
So if you’re looking for a fall, winter or even early spring getaway and love to travel with a purpose, stop off in Kona. Learn about coffee and organic farming, more of the history of the Hawaiian islands, and just how Kona has come to produce some of the best brew the world has tasted, catching a caffeine buzz on your way out.
Written by Ty Stevens
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