Kona Coffee Tours - Serving Aloha on the Big Island
One name is synonymous with both the Big Island and everyone's favorite morning wake up call, and that's the word "Kona". We're talking about one of the world's best known and most revered coffee beans and they're grown right here on the largest of the island chain. The scent of 100% Kona coffee demands a deep, eyes closed, inhale whether you have just been handed your beverage from a cafe barista or simply walking by a local Hawaiian coffee shop. You can then imagine the exquisite aroma sensory overload experienced upon visiting an authentic Kona Coffee plantation with the additional visuals provided by the backdrop of the mountainous region that blesses the landscape of the Big Island. To be considered 100% Kona and not some rip off blend that only uses a portion of the real thing, the coffee must be grown within the hill sides of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts, which narrows down to an approximate 3 by 7 mile stretch of the Big Island of Hawaii. In other words, rarity makes this bean so sought after and tours of the plantations that farm the indigenous product beckon coffee connoisseurs from all over the planet.
Even though the Kona Coffee Belt is relegated to a relatively small area there are hundreds of farms to choose from when planning a tour of the region and thus we narrowed down the guess work to a few reputable locations worth visiting below.
Side Note: If coffee is really your cup of tea, then we suggest planning your trip to the Big Island in the late fall for the Kona Coffee Festival, which takes places this year from November 2 - 11, 2013.
Kona Coffee Tours - Serving Aloha on the Big Island
Mount Hualalai locations: 73-1944 Hao Street in Kaloko Mauka, Kona, Hawaii OR 79-7469 Hawaii Belt Road in Kealakekua, Hawaii
Mountain Thunder is dramatic in both name and persona. This kona coffee plantation tour has been featured numerous times on network television with programs ranging from the Food Network to the Discovery Channel. They also direct Gevalia's Kona Coffee Cultural Festival's Cupping Contest. That kind of exposure garners quite the reputation and you can thank their multiple award winning Organic Cloud Forest Estate 100% Kona Coffee for most of the accolades.
The highly attentive, expertly guided, free tour takes you through the entire process at Mountain Thunder (where everything is done "in-house") from growing to roasting to bagging. On site, you will get to view Mountain Thunder's appearance on the Discovery Channel and identify elements of the exact same experience as witnessed on the show. Sites, sounds, and process aside, the highlight of show is the official tasting where sipping on Mountain Thunder's 100% Premium Private Reserve (brewed as a 6 oz Americano) against the backdrop of the home it comes from sends visitors into coffee heaven. If you ask, you'll even get a few tips on how to best duplicate the brew in your own home, although the flavor accented by the experience could never be quite the same. Private VIP Tours are also available for those that want the whole enchilada, or bean in this instance.
Mountain Thunder opens at 9 am, and tours start on the hour, every hour, from 10am-4pm. The last tour begins at 4pm. Tours are available Monday through Saturday at the Kaloko location and Monday through Sunday at the Kainaliu location. VIP tours start at 10:00am. Japanese language tours are available at the Kaloko farm every Tuesday and Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Kona Mountain Coffee Plantation
Store Address: 73-4038 Hulikoa Drive, Suite 5, Kailua Kona, Hawaii - Visitors will receive assistance at the store for getting to the farm.
Visitors to the other high traffic island of Oahu may be familiar with the Kona Mountain Coffee brand and its retail stores in the Hilton Hawaiian Village and on the ground floor of Hilton's Grand Waikikian Tower. Their stores are a fantastic way to treat yourself to the best Kona produced souvenir (after the memories), be it the Kona Coffee Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts, Kona Korn Krunch (don't abbreviate that one!) and of course the 100% pure coffee.
The 90 acre (approximate) farm is one of the largest in the Kona Coffee Belt with an mountain elevation reaching 2400 feet. The landscape is blanketed with a lush green hue being that it is one of the few plantations with a grass covered base, making it more pleasant for pickers and those touring the grounds, especially photographers looking for that screensaver worthy shot.
Private Tours of the Kona Mountain Farm are available by contacting them via information request form. Fill out the necessary info and you'll be whisked away up to the prized Kona Mountain in no time. Meanwhile, feel free to peak at their online store and ship an order to your home to get you through until your next journey to the Big Island.
Koa Coffee Plantation
82-1213 Greenwell Mountain Road, Captain Cook, HI 96704
An excuse to visit to the quaint town of Captain Cook is reason enough to make the trip to the Koa Coffee Plantation which is perfectly situation on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano at 2,500 feet. We didn't forget to add an "n" to the name of this brand, the name koa comes from the other most revered natural ingredient to the Hawaiian Island's rich culture and keepsake building block- the koa tree. Everything about this farm exudes the spirit of Aloha, right down to the personable private tours available by contacting the plantation here.