These days, there is more than Kona coffee from the Big Island.
They grow coffee in several districts on the Big Island. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find coffee also from Oahu, Moloka’i and the other islands of Hawaii. Hence a cupping was necessary to compare, contrast and appreciate them all. Picked up several coffees from Whole Foods, Kahala Mall recently and brought them back to Singapore. Thanks are in order to Leon of Papa Pahleta, for setting up the tasting.
Maui Yellow Caturra – as the name suggests, the bean turns yellow when ripe (instead of the usual red). This was a truly full bodied, low acid and astringency coffee with very strong smoke and dark chocolate flavours. Espresso lovers would not say no to this drip!
Rusty’s Hawaiian Ka’u Classic Dark Roast (Big Island)- medium-dark roasted Arabica Typica beans from the southern slope of Mauna Loa volcano. Coffee plants from the Ka’u district (next to the famous Kona district) is cultivated on small hill-side and valleys. The fruit is pulped and fermented in their own juices; the beans are then washed and sun dried. Medium acidity with chocolate, nut and honey and hint of citrus fruit. Complex, racy and refined.
Waialua Peaberry Coffee (Oahu) – Grown at 650 ft elevation, these Arabica Typica peaberry beans proved to be the smallest (and cutest) looking amongst the rest. I just loved the floral, milk chocolate notes of this coffee. Waialua is owned by the Dole Food company (of pineapple fame). When the sugar plantation was closed in 1996, Dole planted up coffee. See pic of plantation.
Moloka’i Muleskinner – Dark roasted beans from the North Shore of the island. Named after the Muleskinners who traversed a trail of switchbacks from 2000 feet down to the sea. (not confirmed: could be Red Catuai beans from mid-high altitude).
Wings of the Morning, hand-picked Kona (Big Island) – The farm takes its name after Ka Io a native hawk. The coffee is processed using a traditional Japanese coffee farm wet method – “coffee beans are carefully fermented in a soaking tank overnight before being washed in clear water and dried. We are still drying our coffee on the hoshidana deck and raking the beans by hand to insure even drying”. This is my kind of coffee – complex yet subtle, with layers of flavour and good balance!