Kona Cof­fee Belt

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - KONA COFFEE BELT -

Take a Break in Honoka‘a

Take 600 spe­cialty cof­fee farms, add a smat­ter­ing of mills, roast­ers, re­tail out­lets and mu­se­ums, then clus­ter them along 20 miles of scenic coun­try roads, and you’ve got the mak­ings of a self-guided cof­fee-tast­ing tour.

Most peo­ple be­gin their tour from Kailua-Kona and head north on Palani Road (High­way 190). If Moun­tain Thun­der Kona Cof­fee Plan­ta­tion is your first stop, drive on Palani for about 4.5 miles and turn right on Kaloko Drive. Then go 3 miles to the third sign for Hao Street. Turn right again and fol­low Hao for about 1 mile. Moun­tain Thun­der will be on the right side of the street.

To con­tinue the tour, re­turn to Palani Road, then back to the junc­tion of High­ways 180/190 and head south to the old Ma­mala­hoa High­way to­ward Holu­aloa Town.

Be­fore you reach the tiny moun­tain vil­lage of Holu­aloa, you’ll find Ueshima Cof­fee Com­pany’s Kona Cof­fee Es­tate. Down the road, you’ll come to Kona Blue Sky Cof­fee Com­pany, a large 500-acre es­tate. Holu­aloa Kona Cof­fee Com­pany is fur­ther south on High­way 180.

End your tour at the Kona Cof­fee Liv­ing His­tory Farm on Ma­mala­hoa High­way in Cap­tain Cook, which pro­vides a wealth of in­for­ma­tion about the unique life­style of Kona’s cof­fee pioneers.

Roast Your Own Pri­vate La­bel

Stop for a cup of cof­fee and a chat at Ueshima Cof­fee (UCC Hawai‘i) Corp., a pic­turesque cof­fee es­tate just north of Holu­aloa Vil­lage. The 26-acre hill­side prop­erty is crowned with a grand view of Kailua-Kona and the sparkling Pa­cific Ocean.

Ueshima Cof­fee (UCC Hawai‘i) Corp. of­fers free farm tours and hot Kona cof­fee to vis­i­tors who stop at the road­side kiosk near the en­try to the prop­erty. The com­pany’s sig­na­ture Roast­mas­ter Tour is now avail­able at the Ma­mala­hoa High­way kiosk, where you can try roast­ing a “one-of-a-kind” pri­vate Kona cof­fee re­serve. Th­ese orig­i­nal la­bels make great keep­sakes or gifts for spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

• Ueshima Cof­fee (UCC Hawai‘i) Corp. (808) 322-3789 or toll-free (888) 822-5662

Go Or­ganic

The largest or­ganic cof­fee farm in the United States is lo­cated 3,200 feet above sea level in a mist-cooled rain­for­est about seven miles from Kailua-Kona. Trent Bate­man, a Main­land trans­plant who left a ca­reer in en­gi­neer­ing to come to Hawai‘i, is grow­ing award-win­ning Kona cof­fee on his farm and break­ing all the rules.

For starters, the prop­erty he pur­chased didn’t fit the mold—it was too high above sea level. Then, he de­cided to grow or­ganic cof­fee. He and his fam­ily hand-tilled the soil, and then pur­chased some Chi­nese geese, St. Croix sheep and Kona Nightin­gale don­keys to han­dle weed con­trol and pro­vide or­ganic fer­til­izer. To­day, both Hawai’i and Cal­i­for­nia reg­u­la­tory agen­cies have cer­ti­fied Moun­tain Thun­der Kona Cof­fee Plan­ta­tion or­ganic.

Call for tour times and other cof­fee ac­tiv­i­ties at Moun­tain Thun­der.

• Moun­tain Thun­der Kona Cof­fee Plan­ta­tion

(808) 325-2136

A Town Built Around Cof­fee

A slight de­tour off High­way 11 leads to the funky, up­coun­try vil­lage of Holu­aloa. For a true taste of old Hawai­iana, check out this eclec­tic lit­tle town.

You’ll know you’ve reached Holu­aloa when you see a flu­o­res­cent-pink build­ing called the Kona Ho­tel. Built in 1926, the ho­tel is still main­tained by its found­ing fam­ily mem­bers. With the ex­cep­tion of the ex­te­rior paint job, there’s not much to in­di­cate the pas­sage of time—it has main­tained its orig­i­nal early 1900s style. The homey, 11-unit es­tab­lish­ment of­fers rooms with shared bath­rooms at rates that range from $20 to $30 a night.

In Holu­aloa, you’ll find an in­ter­est­ing blend of ar­ti­sans and crafters. The half-mile stretch of Ma­mala­hoa High­way (180) that is Holu­aloa Vil­lage features over a dozen his­tor­i­cal old build­ings that have now be­come world-class art gal­leries, stu­dios and shops, along with a cafe and restau­rant, bed & break­fast Inns that range from cozy to ex­clu­sive and gen­eral store that features farm-fresh Kona cof­fee and pro­duce. A three-mile wind­ing drive up the moun­tain­side re­veals a cool, lush Kona that most vis­i­tors never see. A step back in time to a life­style cen­tered around art, cof­fee and his­tory.

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