Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Big Island - Coffee Heaven

We spent our first morning on the big island taking a tour of the Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation. James isn't a coffee drinker at all, but he was a good sport about this tour and he enjoyed himself.

 At the bar, there were samples of their coffees and teas to try, along with some fresh pastries.

Before the tour began, they had a clip from the TV show "Dirty Jobs" that had been filmed there. Here is
part of it:

 This was my first time to see coffee growing. Above are the red coffee cherries, and below is a blossom from one of the coffee trees.

Coffee cherries, raw coffee beans or "parchment", green coffee beans, and peaberry coffee beans. I was unfamiliar with peaberries. It is a natural mutation that occurs in a small percentage of coffee cherries. Normally the beans grow two to a cherry, flat side to flat side. Occasionally, the bean will grow as one whole egg shaped bean. This is a peaberry, and they taste sweeter. At Mountain Thunder, peaberries are used in their chocolate covered coffee beans, and you can buy one pound of whole bean peaberry coffee for $46.09.  Take a moment to get over that sticker shock. No, we didn't buy any.

 We got to see a little of the production process.
 We learned that it takes a little over 6 pounds of coffee cherries to make one pound of roasted coffee beans.  The skins of the coffee cherries are used in a couple of ways at this plantation. One way is as fertilizer for the coffee trees, and the other way is in tea production. James and I sampled the tea that they make from the coffee cherry skins, and it was good. He bought a can of it, and it tastes nothing like roasted coffee.
And then we got to roast some coffee beans ourselves.
 We learned that the temperature at which the beans are roasted greatly effects the flavor. We choose to do our beans as a Vienna Roast. The beans are in the "green bean" stage before they are roasted.

 We could see the color of the beans change through this little window.

 All done! Now to weigh it out and bag it up.

  This sign was posted over the employee's desks. I thought it was funny. Apparently they process a lot of coffee for Costco.

 James was excited to weigh out exactly one pound. Haha.
 Vacuum sealing the bags.

 James wanted to eat lunch at "Da Poke Shack" He enjoyed his food very much. Poke is a salad consisting of raw meat that has been gutted, skinned, and deboned. It is served with traditional condiments such as sea salt and seaweed. I did sample it a few days prior at a deli, but I wasn't up for it. All I got here was pastry and water. I picked up a sandwich from a bar next door to our hotel later that afternoon.

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