Well, no exclamation for that one; however, we have decided that we need
to pass on the cost increases that we have suffered in the last year.
Recently we have been hit with a substantial increase in
our shipping charges, which pretty much covers our new higher prices. Also,
our workers, mostly pickers, have demanded and received higher payment per
pound of cherry picked for each of the past 3 years. Finally, fertilizer
prices have continued to increase.
So there you have it. Kona coffee is higher priced than most other coffees; however,
our workers earn as much per hour as they may earn per day in most coffee regions,
and our recently increased shipping costs to get our product throughout the 50 states
are from 10 to 20% of the final price depending on the quantity purchased. We are not
complaining. We are just stating ‘how it is’ in the world of Kona coffee farming.
So, regretfully we have raised prices. We hope you understand our situation.
COFFEE CONTINUES TO BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.
We are thrilled that the long dry spell here in Kona has ended. We are getting
cloud cover almost every afternoon, which is the normal wet season pattern here in
Kona. We have also experienced several light rainfalls which have set into motion
the coffee bloom cycle. The trees are flowering and setting coffee at last.
Coffee is unique in that it will not flower unless water falls onto the plants from above.
For some that means overhead irrigation; however, for most of Kona coffee farmers, it
means that we are dependent on rainfall. No rain means no flowers.
The bad news is that due to the prolonged drought we expect this year’s coffee harvest
to be light and will start later than normal.
Meanwhile we still have available much of last fall’s harvest and expect to have coffee
available throughout this year.
A few of you may have experienced coffee with a little different roast. There was a batch which was roasted to more of a Vienna roast evel which a few of you received. Then we did an experiemental roast which we cut off when the coffee reached a 445 rather than the normal 450 degrees. This resulted in a nutty medium roast which we enjoyed; however, we have gone back to our long preferred medium dark (full city or full city plus according to some experts) roast, and that is what you should expect unless you place a special order for something different.
MAHALO FOR YOUR CONTINUED PATRONAGE. COFFEE IS AVAILABLE NOW.
We hope that you all enjoyed a joyful and peaceful holiday season.
Kona is well into its normal winter dry season. We have not had a significant rain for perhaps 6 weeks. This is fine, and we will not start worrying about it until the end of February. If by then, there is no rain,
we will be worried!
Coffee is a native of Ethiopa, which is a land well known for extensive droughts and famine. The trees are well adapted to survive the dry. In addition, coffee trees only bloom in response to rainfall. IOW, if one irrigated their coffee, with no rain, there would be no flowers. There are a few growers in Kona who actually use overhead sprinklers in an attempt to defy this unique coffee characteristic. The rest of us just wait for the rains to come. With the rain them will come the coffee flowers which with the help of pollinating bees become the next
seasons coffee cherries.
Some years the drought is short and the rains come early. As a result the coffee harvest also comes early. Last year was one such season and we started our coffee
harvest in July and it peaked in October. Most years we start our harvest in late August and the harvest peaks in November at the time of the annual Kona Coffee Festival. We are so busy at that time that we seldom find time to attend the festivities.
So it is dry here. WE CONTINUE TO HAVE COFFEE AVAILABLE FOR SALE. Due to increased postal rates along with pickers demanding increased compensation, we have raised our prices slightly.
A moment to reflect: Coffee harvest is done for the year! We had a good harvest that was unusually early. This was brought on by an early flower and the well above normal amount of rainfall we experienced during the growing season. The rainfall promoted rapid growth and bean development.
The same rain in September caused substantial flood damage to some of the farms in our neighborhood. While we experienced minor flooding in areas, there was no erosion or flood damage on our farm. We attribute this to the fact that we mow our fields and allow ground cover to grow along with the coffee. In this instance, the cover held the dirt and stopped the soil erosion which we would have experienced if we didn’t allow the grass and herbs to grow in competition with our coffee trees.
ABOUT OUR COFFEE! We are gearing up for what should be a very busy holiday season. We expect to be roasting several times a week during this period, and we can normally get your order out within 24 hours. Our coffee makes a great gift that will very likely be consumed and appreciated, fwiw. Our experience is that the postal service always does a great job of getting our priority mailed packages delivered within 3 work days. This
has held right through past Christmas and New Years holidays.
So it’s never too late to order for the holidays! We hope to hear from you soon.
Lots to say. We have had an ‘el nino’ summer with temperatures well above normal for the
months of August, September, and October and perhaps July as well. I forget when it all
Along with the heat we experienced storm after storm. The hurricanes which threatened Hawaii never seemed to get here; however, moisture and lightning associated with the storms arrived again and again. We never had the ‘monster’ wind or rain, but we had repeated 2″ in 24 hour rainfalls. Mauka Kona experienced perhaps 25″ of rain in September alone! This is unlike anything we have previously experienced here in Kona, where 65″ in a year is about normal.
The surprising thing is that the coffee came through this in fine condition. Harvest started in August and has been ongoing ever since. We have a bumper crop of what seems to be very good coffee, the oldest of which we are starting to blend into what remains of last year’s harvest. We enjoyed a few cups of this coffee this morning.
We look forward to hearing from you!
We are back online. We apologize to those who have not been able to access
our website for the past week.
We believe that all our ‘tech’ difficulties are behind us. We still have the same fine coffee
from the 2014-15 fall and winter harvest.
This coffee is now aged to an ideal condition as is ready to go!
We pride ourselves in following the ‘best practices of the modern Kona coffee industry.
We hand pick our crop many times during the season. Each time we pick only the ripe ‘cherries’.
These cherries are then pulped and floated to remove all but the solid beans.
The coffee beans are then sun dried on a solar deck until they have reached the ideal 11% moisture stage.
At that point they are stored in grain storage bags in a cool room until needed.
When needed, this parchment coffee has its outer skin removed and the remaining green
beans are sorted on a gravity sorting machine.
The ‘green’ is then ready to roast and is stored until needed.
So there are many steps in making our coffee the finest product that we can produce.
Mahalo for your support!
Howard & Melody Hill
June 6, 2015
WE ARE BACK FROM OUR ANNUAL R&R. Spring is the best time for us as to travel
as we are between harvests and it is also the slow season for our coffee sales.
And while we live on a beautiful island which we love, we enjoy and benefit from
an occasional getaway.
This is the same fine estate grown Kona coffee that we have been selling
from our 2014 fall & winter harvest.
Good rains continue and we are looking forward to a bigger harvest this year
than for the past several years. We are learning more about the recently arrived
‘la broca’ or bean borer, and have refined our techniques of dealing with it. Thus the
overall quality of our coffee beans continuesto improve. Note that we are doing with
without the use of pesticides on our coffee.
We have heard much about the unfortunate drought that continues in California. Our good fortune
is that Hawaii has been blessed with abundant rainfall for the past 2 years. Thus our coffee
trees have flowered several times and are now sporting what looks to be a very good harvest.
Did you know that coffee trees bloom about 2 weeks after each good rain. Irrigation won’t do the trick.
They need water on the trees. This bloom may start at year end and extend as late as May. We prefer January through
March. The down side of this is that each round of ‘cherries’ ripens separately. Thus we have a long
harvest that runs from September into January. This all varies depending on elevation and gthe rainfall pattern
that occurs that winter. No rainfall, no flowers. That the way it is. Our trees are not irrigated. They depend on
the approximately 60 inches of rain we get each year.
WE ARE CURRENTLY TAKING A BREAK FROM OUR NORMAL RETAIL SALES. WE EXPECT TO BE START SELLING OUR
100% ESTATE KONA COFFEE AGAIN AT THE BEGINNING OF JUNE. PLEASE CHECK BACK THEN.
January 24, 2015
Coffee harvest is over after nearly 5 months of continual harvests. We have a modest harvest which we hope will last for most of this year, 2015. Now is the time when we are pruning our trees for the desired shape and size to enable large production and easier harvesting in future years.
Kona coffee farmers are each year improving their methods of dealing with la broca, or coffee bean borers, which arrived in Hawaii a few years ago. With each year we learn a little more about the problem which, left untreated, results in a huge loss for the coffee cherry farmer.
We have learned to treat frequently with a fungus which attacks and kills the borers prior to their entering the coffee beans. We have also improved our techniques for application of said fungus. You should be aware that we use no toxic pesticides on our coffee.
With this in mind we expect that 2015 will be a good year and that the percentage of high quality Kona coffee beans produced will continue to improve.
Mahalo for your continued support!
Howard and Melody Hill
Coffee harvest season is winding down. We have harvested perhaps 95% of the fall crop, and it is a good one.
We have on hand enough new coffee to last until next fall and we are ready to roast and deliver upon your request. Priority mail still takes usually no more than 3 days; however, we realize that after December 15 it may take a little longer.
Due to many requests we are now offering green whole beans for both the home roaster and the gourmet coffee outlet that wants to offer a premium quality product to their customers; however, it remains true that the best size shipments, cost wise, are the 2# and 6# boxes of roasted 1# gold foil bags. For the green beans, the 2# and 10# remain the best quantities.
We continue to not cut corners and try to offer the finest product possible. Our farm is well situated at 1800′ elevation which is ideal for Kona coffee. We make no claims to be the very best; however, we do claim to sell very good 100$ estate grade Kona coffee.
We look forward to hearing from you.
We’ve received some questions about Hurricane Iselle which a few weeks ago slammed into the Big Island and did significant damage. Damage was mostly caused by the combination of high winds and rain which knocked over many huge old albizia trees in the Puna district of the island. Albizia is an invasive species which I believe was first brought to the islands for experimental reforestation efforts.
But what about Kona? Amazingly, the storm failed to produced wind or rain in Kona and did zero damage to our developing coffee crop. The big mountains, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea, fended off the storm and reduced it to less then hurricane level and Iselle veered north thus avoiding Kona and much of the normally breezy Ka’u district. Following the storm, we’ve had signicant rain in Kona but always at less than flood producing levels.
It is now late August, and the harvest of our new crop Kona coffee is well underway. There is an abundant and early crop this year. We expect to personally have a record harvest, and I’m sure the same is true of many other Kona coffee farmers.
I’ll say it again: THERE WAS NO DAMAGE TO OUR FALL 2014 COFFEE CROP!