Spring Break In a Cup: Finding Great Coffee Roasters In Coastal Communities

Spring Break In a Cup: Finding Great Coffee Roasters In Coastal Communities

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Hala Tree Farm, Kona, Hawaii

One of Hala Tree Coffee’s farms in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. Courtesy of Hala Tree Coffee.

Every yr, Coffee Review organizes a report specializing in roasting corporations from numerous areas of the U.S.: in 2018, the Mountain States, in 2019, New England, and in 2020, the Northwest. Given that it’s been a tough winter, to say the least, this month’s report celebrates coffees roasted in U.S. coastal communities, notably seaside cities and vacationer locations. We put out our basic name for samples, augmented by ordering coffees from roasters not on our e-mail record however located in U.S. seaside communities identified for his or her trip attraction.

We ended up with 40 coffees. Once they got here off the desk, we found, partly to our chagrin, that a number of normal suspects had risen to the highest — specifically, roasters we all know from Hawaii and San Diego, together with one in Florida and one in coastal Connecticut.

Hawaii and San Diego are, maybe, no shock. Both are long-established coffee communities, though the previous is best identified for rising coffee than for roasting it. In this month’s report, we’ll have a look at 10 coffees that rated between 91 and 96, and we’ll speak with a number of the roasters (in three instances, additionally the farmer) about why they selected these explicit coffees to spotlight amongst their respective choices.

A Rare Kona-Grown Variety

We ought to have seen this one coming. It’s a uncommon coffee, and it’s grown and roasted on the mountainside above the city of Kailua-Kona, one in every of Hawaii’s most celebrated trip cities. Every yr since 2016, we’ve blind-tested Hula Daddy’s estate-grown Kona Mocca® selection and rated it at 95 or 96 factors, a testomony to each its high quality and consistency. Mocca is a tiny-beaned number of Arabica commercially produced on solely a handful of the world’s coffee farms. This yr’s Hula Daddy (96) was as nice as these from earlier years, a lyrically candy, luxuriously chocolaty cup with notes of fudge, tamarind, sandalwood, narcissus, and an intriguing trace of wine barrel from intentional (candy) fermentation throughout the strategy of sun-drying in the entire fruit.

Hula Daddy

Coffee drying on raised beds at Hula Daddy Kona Coffee in Holualoa, Hawaii. Courtesy of Hula Daddy.

Lee Paterson, co-owner of Hula Daddy’s Kona farms, says, “Kona Mocca is a problem at each step of rising, choosing, processing and roasting, however the result’s value it.” He recounts that the primary time his staff roasted the Mocca harvest, the (very tiny) beans fell out of the roaster. Now, the Mocca is one in every of Hula Daddy’s most sought-after coffees, out there solely to these on the roaster’s allocation record.

A Panama Classic

While the Lamastus household’s Elida Estate is a luxury-coffee pioneer, identified the world over for its Geisha coffees processed by a spread of strategies, from traditional washed to experimental anaerobic methods, this month’s Green-Tip La Torre ASD (anaerobic slow-dry course of) has attracted explicit consideration amongst specialty roasters for its fruit-laden aroma and palate.

Willoughby Coffee and Tea’s version (rated at 95) is evocative of the tropics, with notes of lychee, pineapple, cocoa nib, lemon verbena and ginger blossom — onerous to not love and an exhilarating antidote to winter restraint. Like the Hula Daddy Mocca, it’s a uncommon and expensive coffee, but it surely does provide repeated morning doses of tropical exuberance for, say, the price of a few hours of tall drinks and fancy pupus at a tiki bar.

Of this coffee, Willoughby’s proprietor Barry Levine says, “I’ve had the privilege of tasting Elida’s stellar La Torre Geisha Natural ASD each as a contest juror and because the coffee purchaser for our firm. I’ve watched different jurors grasp to seek out superlatives for this coffee when it’s at its greatest. The Lamastuses are good, detailed, science-minded, wonderful cuppers in their very own proper, and stewards of the land they personal. They, together with a collegial group of their coffee-producing friends, have remodeled the Panama Highlands from producing good, stable, on a regular basis coffees to the head of world coffee high quality in a comparatively brief interval, thanks partly to coffee like this.” And sure, Willoughby’s Branford, Connecticut location is coastal and a vacationer vacation spot, only a mile from Long Island Sound and the historic Thimble Islands.

Four at 94

Four coffees landed solidly at 94, three roasted on the Big Island of Hawaii (and two of them additionally farmed there) and one from the enduring seaside metropolis of San Diego.

Of the Kona Peaberry from new Kona Hills Farm, roaster Kelleigh Stewart of Big Island Coffee Roasters says, “The producer and farm are in contrast to something I’ve seen [before] on the Big Island.”

Picking coffee cherries at Kona Hills Farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. Courtesy of Big Island Coffee Roasters.

Stewart says she was astonished to be taught, after Mark McCormick, managing member of Kona Hills, drove her to the primary coffee tree he planted in 2017, that at this time the farm has planted 398,000 coffee timber — all hand-harvested, all irrigated with rainwater. And the farm is within the strategy of constructing 100 employee properties, has established a nursery with 400,000 coffee seedlings, and has constructed 3.5 million gallons of rainwater storage. (Note: The sheer measurement and ambition of the Kona Hills farm and its funding from mainland investor teams created controversy within the native Kona coffee neighborhood about three years in the past. The controversy seems to have quieted since. The pattern we cupped is a nice coffee in a really conventional Kona fashion.)

Coffee with a view at Windansea Beach in San Diego. Courtesy of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.

Jeff and Maritza Taylor, of Bird Rock Coffee in San Diego, submitted a Panama Catuaí from one other admired producer, Graciano Cruz, Sr., whose meticulous processing at Finca Los Lajones impressed the Taylors. The end result within the cup impressed us, too, with concentrated aromatics in a undoubtedly tropical-leaning profile with vibrant, citrusy acidity and a posh candy herbaceousness beneath.

Focusing on Variety

Farmer-roasters Jean and Danielle Orlowski of Hala Tree Kona Coffee are rising their profitable enterprise each by specializing in USDA-certified natural manufacturing in addition to on coffee from unusual tree varieties. Their submission, produced from the well-known  Kenya SL28 number of Arabica, was crisply sweet-tart, balanced and vibrant, with notes of nectarine, narcissus, Meyer lemon zest, nougat and cedar. If requested to blind-identify this coffee’s origin, our staff would have pegged it as a Kenya, proof of the care the Orlowskis have taken to respect this selection and let it converse of its personal lineage.

And then we’ve a beautiful Bourbon Pointu Laurina from Kraig and Leslie Lee of Kona Farm Direct, grown at an elevation of 1,550 toes on the Lee Family’s property on the slopes of Kona’s Hualalai Mountain. The Pointu Laurina number of Arabica is a pure mutation of the well-known Bourbon selection that was found on Reunion (Bourbon) Island within the Indian Ocean and identified for its naturally low ranges of caffeine and unusually small, pointed beans.

Leslie and Kraig Lee of Kona Farm Direct on the Big Island of Hawaii. Courtesy of Kona Farm Direct.

Leslie and Kraig Lee of Kona Farm Direct on the Big Island of Hawaii. Courtesy of Kona Farm Direct.

Kraig Lee says, “This distinctive coffee is particular to us as a result of it’s so completely different from some other selection. We personally germinate every tree we develop from seed, then switch to particular person cells the place they’ll proceed to be nurtured for one yr previous to being planted in our subject. Unlike many coffee varieties, these timber don’t develop aggressively giant however are relatively dwarf-like with tight, small branches and tiny leaves that shield the hidden reward discovered deep inside. Each tree is slowly and thoroughly harvested, roughly 10 occasions every season, choosing solely the brightest, juicy-red cherries.” Lee dries the coffee in the entire fruit, and places explicit emphasis on cautious hulling, or removing of the dried fruit residue, in order to not harm the bean. Each bean is finally hand-sorted previous to being roasted.

A Ka’u Roasted on Maui

While the aforementioned Hawaii coffees are all produced within the Kona area of the Big Island, we additionally cupped a beautiful Yellow Caturra (93) grown by Miranda’s Farms within the Ka’u District, natural-processed with the addition of a fermentation step utilizing wine yeasts.

Yellow Bourbon coffee growing on Miranda's Farms in the Ka'u growing region of Hawaii's Big Island. Courtesy of Origin Maui.

Yellow Bourbon coffee rising on Miranda’s Farms within the Ka’u rising area of Hawaii’s Big Island. Courtesy of Origin Maui.

Heather Brisson-Lutz of Origin Coffee on Maui, who roasted the Miranda’s Farms Ka’u (and who additionally roasts inexperienced coffees from non-Hawaiian origins), says, “Owning and working a coffee roasting firm on Maui, I’ve felt a way of isolation from the remainder of my friends within the business. It has been 4 years since my transfer from Bird Rock [in San Diego] to discovered my very own enterprise right here, and, in some ways, Origin Coffee is paving the way in which with a number of others to carry a extra ‘fashionable Hawaiian’ coffee scene to the floor, one that’s passionate about our native farmers and that works onerous to spotlight their onerous work. All enterprise homeowners on the island face greater value of products, delivery, labor and lease than the remainder of the nation and need to be revolutionary to stay aggressive.”

The Miranda’s Farms Yellow Caturra is deeply sweet-savory, berry-toned, with notes of mulberry, brown sugar, Meyer lemon zest, darkish chocolate, and appealingly bittersweet hop flowers.

Two from Honduras

Our record rounds out with two stellar Honduras coffees, one roasted by Amavida in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and the opposite by the extremely regarded brewery and coffee roaster Modern Times in San Diego.

The Amavida Cosma Honduras (93) is a gently fruit-forward honey-process with notes of dried stone fruit, vanilla, and spicy florals. Owner Martin Trejo shared his ideas about what is exclusive to being a coastal roaster in a resort city, saying, “Our economic system right here is nearly solely pushed by tourism. In the low season, it may be difficult for some companies right here to maintain the doorways open, however once we are busy, we’re very busy. Learning to stability that inflow of consumers can put loads of stress on a enterprise and its workers. We’ve been doing this for 15 years, so I assume you possibly can say we’ve gotten fairly good on the balancing act.”

He provides, “We additionally need to struggle clients’ disposable mindset whereas they’re on the seaside. They need to take their drinks with them to allow them to benefit from the outdoor on their trip. As a lot as we want we might serve each drink in porcelain, we’ve to fulfill our clients midway. We use all compostable cups and sleeves, in addition to paper straws to assist scale back plastic waste.”  Amavida additionally has gone one step additional by turning into 100% plastic-neutral (licensed by means of rePurpose Global), offsetting all the plastic waste it produces as a enterprise. Trejo says, “Being a resident of this coastal neighborhood for over 25 years, I’ve seen far an excessive amount of plastic waste find yourself in our waters. It has been fantastic to seek out methods to scale back waste in our neighborhood and throughout the globe.”

Modern Times Honduras natural coffee roasted in San Diego. Courtesy of Modern TImes Coffee.

Modern Times Honduras pure coffee roasted in San Diego. Courtesy of Modern Times Coffee.

Of the natural-processed Honduras submitted by Modern Times of San Diego (93), roastery supervisor Seancarlo Ohlin says, “We’re fortunate to exist in not solely a craft beer mecca but in addition a blooming coffee scene. Over the final 5 years, we’ve seen a number of new micro-roasters set up themselves in San Diego. While all of us do issues a bit in another way, we do have one factor in frequent. Collaboration. The business can typically be unique, and data feels proprietary. Something in regards to the laid-back vibe of our seaside city actually helps drive collaboration and innovation.”This is the third yr Modern Times has bought this sweetly tart, juicy-rich coffee produced by David Lopez of Los Amigos Farm. Ohlin says, “This yr’s model of Los Amigos is kind of spectacular. The taste within the cup when brewed sizzling is stuffed with pink fruit — assume cherry, strawberry and raspberry jam. The pure processing lends it a little bit of pink winey-ness, and it has an aroma just like port or an beautiful darkish chocolate.”

Islamorada Coffee Roasters is a community-based specialty roaster with the type of warmly breezy salt-air location we imagined once we got here up with this report thought. Situated within the Florida Keys, Islamorada is “The Only Coffee Roaster between Miami and Key West” as its web site factors out. We evaluation its richly low-toned and chocolaty-sweet Uganda Sipi Falls here at 91.

Finally, when the world opens up for journey once more, and we return to taking precise holidays to seaside cities, we’ll have some thought of the place to move for the nice coffee.

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