Growing Organically and Operating Sustainably
One of the early decisions the Barnes made was to grow Kona RainForest Farms' coffee organically. Cultivating organic coffee – less than 2% of all Kona coffee is grown this way – takes more effort. You can’t use conventional growing techniques. Kona RainForest Farms instead makes its own mulch, naturally enhanced fertilizer and uses a variety of natural methods for pest and weed control. Because of our commitment to ensuring high quality standards such as no contaminants like pesticide residues found in commercially-available coffees, our coffee is certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Unlike most agricultural products, getting coffee from the field to the aromatic product ready to brew into a flavorful beverage takes multiple steps. Kona RainForest Farms handles the steps in this traditional process so we can ensure complete quality control from planting to the final roasted product.
From Kona snow to red cherries
Currently, a large percentage of our 41-acre farm is planted for coffee production, a total of about 14,000 trees. Coffee is a recurring crop. Typically, the trees blossom two weeks after a rainfall and this may happen six to ten times a year. Each flowering covers our farm with jasmine-fragrant white blooms which are poetically referred to as “Kona snow.” This spectacle lasts only a few days before the blossoms fall off to reveal tiny green berries. Over the next seven months, these berries will ripen into a bright red fruit called “cherries.” During this time, we carefully tend the trees, making sure they have adequate water, and natural fertilizer and mulch to ensure a healthy harvest. Once ripe, we manually pick only the ripest red cherries and let the remaining orange, yellow or green berries continue to ripen for picking later.
Once we have harvested the coffee cherries, we start processing. The first step is pulping, or removing the soft outer fruit to reveal two coffee beans. These beans are then rinsed to remove a sticky covering, then transferred to a dryer. Once dry, the beans are called “parchment coffee,” which refers to the papery layer still surrounding the coffee seed. This parchment is removed in a special huller before the next step in the process – sorting the dry beans. Sorting is done by using a variety of screens with different size holes in order to take out beans which are too small or broken. Ensuring that all the beans are a uniform size is vital to creating an even, quality roast.
Coffee doesn’t really become coffee until it is roasted. Roasting beans is a very precise craft that can greatly affect the final taste of the coffee. We roast our Certified Organic 100% Kona coffee in small batches to an ideal temperature – one which we believe brings out the perfect balance of body and flavor. While we carefully watch over all the steps in growing and processing our products, we bring extra patience to roasting so that the coffee beans’ full-flavor potential is realized. Whenever you order coffee directly from us, you can be assured that after roasting the beans, we air ship them the next day. You are guaranteed unsurpassed freshness and flavor upon receiving your coffee.