One of Hawaii's most rapidly increasing types of tourism is the agritourism (or ag-tourism) market which brings visitors to the farms where many of the products that they will consume on their vacation are grown and harvested.
Once centered in the Kona area of Hawaii Island (the Big Island), Hawaiian coffee is today also grown in the Hamakua, Ka'u and Puna regions of the island as well as on the islands of Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu. Still, however, the Kona area is the most famous and even today has more than 630 farms.
Hawaii is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown. Hawaii hosts a thriving coffee industry with 11 major regions on five islands, producing more than seven million pounds of coffee each year.
An indispensable companion for any visitor who wants to experience the breadth of the Hawaiian coffee industry is The Hawai'i Coffee Book: A Gourmet's Guide from Kona to Kaua'i.
About the Author
Don't let the lofty degree worry you. The book is written in a way that it appeals to both the novice agritourist as well as those familiar with Hawaiian coffee who want more detailed information on the role of science in the industry.
Overview of the Book
Without question, The Hawai'i Coffee Book is the definitive work on the subject of Hawaiian coffee. It includes a region-by-region guide to Hawaiian coffee and flavor profiles of the major varieties grown in the islands. The photography throughout the book is superb.
Readers will be surprised to learn that the first coffee grown in Hawaii was not in Kona on the Big Island, but rather on the island of Oahu in the Manoa Valley in 1825. That's just one of the small tidbits of information that you'll learn when reading the book.
The The Hawai'i Coffee Book is a unique book in that it is not only a great companion book to take with you when you're in Hawaii, but it is also a book that you're sure to refer to often when you're back home as you try one or more of the 20 coffee-inspired recipes that are included in the book. These recipes were created by some of the most prestigious chefs in the islands and include entrees, desserts and drinks.
For the Agritourist
For at agritourist, the book includes an extensive island-by-island and region-by-region guide to all of the roasters, retailers and farms, many of which offer tours. Addresses, phones numbers and website addresses are provided for each. It also included a chapter detailing annual events such as the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.
Visitors planning to tour one or more of the farms should be sure to read the chapters that discuss the growing, harvesting and processing of coffee and the art and science of roasting coffee. These chapters will help you better understand much of what you'll see on your tours, since the methods used to produce the final product can vary significantly within the same region. What you'll see on your tour at one farm may be significantly different from what you'll see at a farm down the road just a mile.
This is especially the case in the process of transforming coffee cherries into what is called "parchment coffee." It is in this process that the seed (often referred to as the coffee bean) is removed from the fruit and prepared for drying. In Hawaii, three different methods of completing this process are still practiced, a wet method, a dry method and a "mechanical demucilaging."
Additional chapters in the book explore other aspects of coffee culture including grinding the beans, brewing coffee, and tasting coffee as well as a chapter on what the author calls "coffee ethics" dealing with issues of sustainability, economics and social awareness.