Kona Coffee Recommendations?
September 13, 2011 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Visiting the big island in Hawaii, and I'm a coffee lover. Any recommendations on which specific coffee plantations I should visit in the Kailuna-Kona region?

I thought I would tour some of the coffee plantations in Hawaii while I was there, but I can't visit them all. I love coffee, but don't know much about specific Kona varieties, and I would like to visit the farms since I'll be so close to the source.

I'm looking for quality coffees for tasting moreso than a touristy experience.

Thanks for your recommendations!
posted by jabberjaw to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I recommend going to farmers markets, trying the coffees, and chatting with the people about tours/visiting based on how much you like their coffees. In particular, there were several coffee vendors at each of the the Waimea farmers markets (there are two, both on Saturday) when I was there in late July. All of the people at the booths are either the farmers themselves or intimately connected with the operations. The Big Island is a lot more casual than I expected, so I'd wager that really loving their coffees and wanting to get a look around at how they're grown will get you far. (Bonus: At the Hawaiian Homesteaders Association farmers market, you can get Auntie Aggie's malasadas to eat with your coffee. They are the best malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) I have ever eaten.)

(But avoid the Kailua-Kona farmers market, which is not really a farmers market, as far as I can tell.)
posted by purpleclover at 12:45 PM on September 13, 2011

There's a Kona Coffee Farmers Assoc that might be useful.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:03 PM on September 13, 2011

Kona Joe - this is hands down the best coffee in the world. Anyone who even suggests otherwise is only demonstrating their coffee ignorance.
posted by H. Roark at 1:13 PM on September 13, 2011

Greenwell Farms was great! You can taste a lot of coffee (there were many different Kona roasts) and, if you want, have a touristy experience. The tour was short but fun and pretty educational... and the coffee was excellent, IMHO.
posted by hooper4 at 1:53 PM on September 13, 2011

Seconding Kona Joe, we stopped by on the way to Kealakekua Bay to walk around the grounds and taste the fantastic coffee. Just don't expect a discount buying from the source, they were still charging $25/lb IIRC!
posted by TungstenChef at 2:59 PM on September 13, 2011

I think the Ka'u region is a lot less tourist-ified than the Kona, and I personally like the coffee better. If they do tours, they don't publicize it, but I'm sure their association would be able to help.
posted by Hither at 10:16 PM on September 13, 2011

I got some Greenwell Farms here on the East Coast about a year ago it is by far the most amazing Kona coffee I've ever had. Unfortunately the roaster around here doesn't stock it any more, but I've also made a lot of orders from Coffees of Hawaii. They seem to have lots of events and are a really fun company, so I'm definitely planning to visit them if I ever make it to Hawaii
posted by RobotNinja at 5:45 AM on September 14, 2011

I went to Kona Joe (fantastic coffee!), Greenwell (good coffee, great tour). If I could add to these great recommendations, try Mountain Thunder, which was actually the best Kona coffee I had on the Island. Highly recommended.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:18 AM on November 28, 2011

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