Matti on assignment in deepest, darkest Kona.
The Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i, that is.
My wife and I came here because we had been exposed to the delights of Kona coffee before.
Many consider coffee grown here on slopes of Hualalei and Mauna Loa Volcano to be the finest in the world.
Taste is of course personal and even coffee “experts” disagree. Some say the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee ranks as #1.
Not to be deterred by such quibbling, we ventured forth…
But which of the 600 plus coffee plantations to visit?
We decided on the one many call the granddaddy of them all…Greenwell Farms.
So named because a Brit by the name of Henry Nicholas Greenwell created a world wide sensation with his plantation here in 1850.
To be called Kona, the coffee has to be in a narrowly defined strip of land between 500 and 1500 feet above level.
Our plantation guide explained many of the factors that give Kona coffee its unique taste. A taste devoid of the bitterness in the throat.
Among these factors, volcanic ash, the range of temperature, the soil and so on.
I, as a long time non coffee drinker, was first seduced by its allure when I drove the coast with my parents back in the 90s.
This pilgrimage was to discover if it still held its appeal at the source.
For me, the verdict is in.
Going forward, Greenwell Kona will be my main coffee. Sadly, I receive no compensation for saying so.
One exception is an instant coffee (horror of horrors) with coconut and medicinal mushroom. (Another story for another time.)
We bought a decent supply to bring back in our suitcases. We also expect to order more when we run out.
This was our first research project on our safari to the Big Island.
Two other equally interesting projects remain. Stay tuned.
P.S. If you go looking for it, you may suffer “sticker shock.” It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world.
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