Our Kona Coffee
Here is how our farm's Kona Coffee is Made. This may be the page I want you to see the most.
How does the red fruit of coffee become that blissful sip? ...I summarized it from my experience. Please enjoy the story of how the red fruit of Kona Coffee becomes a cup.
The coffee flower season lasts from January to April. A lot of white flowers bloom and please the fragrance.
Every year, the coffee berries begin to turn red from around June, and the fruits ripen and turn red like in this photo, and they are picked one by one.
Therefore, the harvest season starts around July every year and continues until around December of the year. If we don't pick the fruit at the right timing, it won't turn out to be a delicious coffee bean.
The harvester is always dressed like this. We usually wear sunglasses to protect my eyes because the branches bend like a whip and can smack our eyes and face if we aren't careful. We hang a basket with a strap across our stomachs - it can hold more than 25 pounds when full. We drop only the rip, red fruits in this. When the bucket is full, we transfer the fruits to a jute bag. We repeat this all day long from morning to evening. Each person can harvest about 3 bags (approximately 120 kg) to 5 bags (approximately 210 kg) in a day.
We peel cherries the same day we pick them. This machine is a pulper - it separates the fruit (pulp) from the seeds (coffee beans). On large coffee farms, they use large electric machines, but our farm prefers to use very small hand-cranked machines for a human touch.
The seeds (beans) that come out of the pulper are surrounded by sugar called "mucilage". We soak them in water and use the power of fermentation to remove the sugars, then wash the beans. Some farms dry their beans with slimy mucilage, which coffee shops market as "natural."
In order to bring out the refreshing acidity that is characteristic of Kona coffee, most farms here use the pulping and washing method.
This is the fermenter we use. Recently, many farms are quickly removing mucilage with the power of science and chemistry, using machines and chemicals. However, we prefer the fermenting method, similar to the production of miso and sake, which uses the power of living bacteria. This is wisdom inherited from my seniors living on the island of Hawai'i, and we are proud to continue using this traditional method on Pine Village Small Farm.
We rinse the beans that have risen from the fermented layer well and leave them on a drainer for a day to remove excess moisture. Because the humidity is high some days - particularly during the rainy season - we will apply a large fan in order to remove moisture well.
Once the water is removed, it's time for full-fledged drying. Our farm of course sun-dries our beans. Since the island has so much sun, rather than relying on propane dryers, we build drying racks and spread out the beans to leisurelydry them.
As an aside, this shelf for drying coffee beans called "hoshi-dana" in Japanese is also called "hoshi-dana" by Hawaiians. It is one of the words of the Japanese language that has blended into the culture of Hawaii.
In addition, the hook-shaped stick that I hold in my left hand in the photo is called "kagi". This is a tool for hooking and bending long coffee branches at the time of harvesting.
We dry the beans in the sun while we are mindful of sudden rain, and we cover the beans at night to avoid dew. We stop drying the beans when the water content of the beans reaches about 12%, usually in 10-14 days. Of course, we measure the water content properly with a machine, but the timing is fairly obvious, as the beans will be hard like pebbles if you chew them.
When the parchment is finally ready, we put the beans back in jute bags and carefully store them indoors. Parchment can be stored in a better condition than raw beans, and after that, parchment is turned into green beans every time a customer orders. This work is exactly the same as threshing rice. Most farms use a machine called a huller to remove the outer skin of the parchment, but our farm does not have this machine yet. Right now, we take our coffee to a friend's nearby coffee refinery to do this work. Beans that have just had their parchment peeled off have a breathtakingly beautiful green color, which is why we call them "green" beans.
The beans look beautiful, but the moisture content of each coffee bean is still different, so we leave them as-is for several more days. In the meantime, Sachiyo and I will thoroughly remove the defective beans and check the size of each bean by hand. We will divide them into Extra Fancy, Peaberry, and Fancy.
Our goal is to reduce the rate of defective beans every year and gradually increase the rate of Extra Fancy. Try this blend when you visit if you haven't yet - you'll love its smooth taste!
After a few days, the moisture content of all the beans will be almost even, and the green color will settle down a bit, so the beans are ready for roasting. This is a picture of the defective beans. →
The farm's coffee beans have finally become green. Thank you for reading this far. Let's roast the finished green beans with the farm's retro roaster.
The structure is a “hot air” roaster. In Japan, semi-hot air and direct-fire roasters are popular, but because the beans are roasted with hot air, they may chaff. This is when residues of cuticles left over from roasting coffee beans cause uneven roasting. Smoke doesn't get stuck in our kiln, and it very evenly bakes our beans.
It doesn't look fancy like the roasting machine that you often see in coffee shops, but so far it has served us well, and we would like to continue to use it for a long time to come.
We immediately cool the baked beans, then inspect them again to remove the defective beans. Then it's time to package the beans!
The bag that we use for the coffee beans is the “face” of the farm, so we spent some time designing it. First of all, regarding the design, I asked Erika Akagi, an illustrator whom I met on the island of Hawai'i, to develop the artwork. And since it is a coffee farm run by Japanese people, I really wanted to include kanji in the design. Kimiko, an artist in my neighborhood who is always willing to help, fulfilled my request. It's the perfect design for us. The label expresses the image of a simple farm as a stamp type rather than a sticker.
We will continue to devote ourselves to producing even more delicious coffee. We hope you enjoy it!
Thank you very much. Aloha.
-Pine Village Small Farm