The Coffee Farm, part 2
Leise and I stuck around the booth a bit that week and the following and learned more about the coffee. John had sold coffee for 2 years working with a friend from “South Island,” an area called Ka’u. He had samples of this as well. Likewise, fantastic coffee. The Javaloha label was from the northern part of the island on the Hamakua Coast. What’s the difference? Ka’u is grown on the side of the volcanic mountain Mauna Loa, Javaloha is grown on the side of Mauna Kea. The difference is a quarter million years in soil development. Mauna Kea being the older, thus much deeper soils. Just like the soils from one region to the next can make a difference in the character of a wine, the soils will affect the flavors of coffee. Ka’u coffee has hints of cocoa and floral. Javaloha has cocoa, caramel, and vanilla. In contrast, the more well known and highly marketed, Kona coffee, grown on the side of Hualalai Mountain, has hints of cocoa and citrus. Kona soils are younger and less developed like Mauna Loa. On top of all this, the Javaloha coffee from the Hamakua Coast has a truly smooth finish. There is no bitter or acidic bite at the end of each sip. The flavors are rich and full like a dessert coffee. The flavors are so great that I find myself desiring a cup almost daily.
After coming back for 3 weeks to the farmers market and sampling the Javaloha coffee I came to the conclusion that I will not be disappointed by this coffee. Finally, I had the opportunity to meet Dave Steiner the farmer, CEO, and owner of White Mountain Coffee Co. When we arrived Saturday morning, for what was fast becoming our ritualistic Saturday cup of coffee, there was a new face behind the table. I heard this blonde haired man wearing wire-rimmed glasses and an unshaven beard talking about coffee. He was deeply engaged with a guest as he explained the subtle nuances of different coffees from different parts of the island. He discussed the different stages of coffee production and why certain techniques are critical to the perfect cup of coffee. He freely shared his knowledge. The man was Dave Steiner. While listening to him speak, I was blown away by his depth of knowledge. As I had my turn to speak with him and ask him some of the many questions I had about the coffee industry, I was still further impressed. I shared with Dave my interest in some day owning a coffee farm. He did not withhold any information, except his specific roasting techniques. I shared with him how I would love to work with him and pick his brain for knowledge. He accepted my offer and I am learning the coffee trade, slowly but surely.