Kona Coffee on my in-laws farm is truly a labor of love. Except for the husking and roasting the rest of the process is 100% manual. When we were visiting last week we had a chance to help harvest some of the trees. They have a small stand of some 50 or so, and can produce a fair share of real Kona Coffee right here on the Kona Coast each year. It’s a pretty cool process to watch and participate in (although I really only watched), my wife and daughter did all the harvesting.
After the cherries are harvested, they are run though a pulper that will take the husk off the cherry and separate the seed.
Once that is completed the husks are washed away and any bad seeds float to the surface to be discarded. This type of attention to detail is what truly separates a quality estate grown product from a large production facility. Most growers will skip the water separation and use all beans regardless of quality.
Then the beans are air dried for up to three weeks depending on how quickly the seeds dry. Again large productions will dry them in machines, but in this case they are done on large screens. Sorry I forgot to take pictures. Finally you have a bag of beens, but still not close to being ready to drink, let alone even smell like the real deal.
Now they go to the roaster who will take off the parchment, this is a fine layer of paper that is between the seed and husk. At this stage the coffee is called “green”. Finally it’s time to roast and enjoy.