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Kona Coffee Farm Tours in Hawaii: From Plantation to Cup

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The best things in life are often the perfect combination of several important factors. This is exactly the case with Kona Coffee. Located on the western slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, Kona has a magical climate for growing coffee.

Not forgetting the soil. The volcanic soil in Kona is rich in minerals and well drained, making it an ideal growing environment for coffee beans. It’s as if this perfect layer of soil encourages coffee plants to grow and thrive every day.

The combination of this unique climate and rich volcanic soil creates coffee beans that are full-bodied, rich and have a great flavor profile you won’t find anywhere else. Every sip feels like inhaling a Hawaiian sunset – every sip is a warm hug for your soul.

Coffee Farms That Organize Tours on The Big Island

For the coffee lovers and caffeine-curious among us, touring a coffee farm is akin to a pilgrimage. When it comes to Hawaii’s Big Island, you’re in for an extra special treat. Let’s break it down by region.

Kona Coffee Tours (Near Kona)

  • Kona Coffee Living History Farm: Get ready to step back in time! This is the only living history coffee farm in the nation. Admission is charged, and trust me, it’s worth every penny. Get a unique perspective on the history of Kona coffee farming right.
  • Greenwell Farms: Who doesn’t love a freebie? Greenwell Farms offers free guided farm tours throughout the day. You’ll learn loads and have a blast.
  • Rooster Farms: The granddaddy of organic Kona Coffee farms, Rooster Farms has been certified organic for over 30 years. They even snagged the 2016 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Contest. Tours are free but require a reservation and include coffee tasting.
  • Kuaiwi Farm: This farm doesn’t just stop at coffee; they also grow cacao! Tours last about two hours and cost $15 per adult. Make sure to schedule in advance.
  • Sunshower Coffee Farm: Private tours, in-depth cupping sessions, and even a roasting lesson! What more could you ask for? Tours need to be scheduled in advance, costing $25 per tasting.
  • Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farms: With hourly tours running from Monday to Saturday, there’s no excuse to miss out on this one. Tours start at $15 and end with a tasting session.
  • Mountain Thunder Kona Coffee: Offering both free and VIP tours, Mountain Thunder welcomes you seven days a week with tours starting every hour.
  • Buddha’s Cup: Award-winning coffee, need we say more? Tours and tastings are available for a fee.
  • Hala Tree Coffee: Organic and free? Yes, please! They offer 1-hour tours and also paid coffee-roasting tours.
  • Ueshima Coffee (UCC): Reservations are needed for these fantastic tours.
  • Holualoa Kona Coffee Company: They offer self-guided tours from Monday to Thursday.
  • Hula Daddy Kona Coffee: Another Monday to Friday option, tours last an hour and are $35 per person.

Coffee Tours Close to Hilo

  • Hilo Coffee Mill: Pre-scheduling is required for these tours.

Coffee Tours in Kaʻu

  • Kaʻu Coffee Mill: This mill offers free 20-minute tours of their orchards twice a day.

What to Expect on a Kona Coffee Tour

A Kona Coffee tour – an experience that brings your morning coffee to a tropical paradise. Most tours start with a walk through the plantation. You see the coffee plants in various stages of growth. Then, you learn how a coffee bean makes its way to your cup. Drying, processing and roasting. Each step is crucial; think of it as a kind of rite of passage for coffee.

Most tours end with a tasting session, usually held near a showroom or visitor center. Here, you can buy some of that delicious Kona Coffee.

Tours usually last 30 minutes and don’t require a lot of walking. Some require advance planning, while others allow you to arrive and start tasting.

Planning Your Own Kona Coffee Tou

Visiting one or several coffee farms can turn into an enlightening and caffeine-filled day trip. If you want a little sightseeing, you have a full day program.

For example, combining a coffee farm visit with a trip to Puʻuhonua O Honaunau National Park is quite practical. Or if you want to go diving, Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau Bay are great places and very close by.

All these farms are conveniently located along or near scenic country roads. Add a few local shops and cafes, maybe a colorfully painted church.

Allow about one to two hours for each farm visit. Some farms require you to plan ahead, so be sure to check the details for your preferred farm.

What is the Best Month to Go on a Coffee Tour?

Timing is key to making a trip a success. You can visit coffee farms on the Big Island year-round, but that doesn’t mean you can go whenever you want. Of course you can do that, but coffee plantations have their own “final season”.

First of all, coffee farms are open for tours all year round, and yes, the coffee offered for free tastings is always fresh. However, different times of the year can offer different experiences that will make your trip more special.

  • See the Kona Snow: If you visit in February and March, you’ll be greeted by fields of coffee plants covered with small, white, fragrant flowers. The view is so breathtaking that they call it “Kona Snow”.
  • Witness the Berries Turn into Cherries: Starting in April, those beautiful flowers begin to turn into small green berries. Fast forward a few months and these berries become similar to delicious red cherries. From August to January, hand picking takes place more than once.

Best Time of Day for a Kona Coffee Tour

In terms of weather, coffee trees are a bit like Goldilocks – they love both sun and rain. Mornings in South Kona are usually sunny, while afternoons bring clouds and rain. If you’re chasing the sun, aim for a morning tour.

Conclusion

There you have it—your ultimate guide to Kona Coffee farm tours in Hawaii. Each farm, each plantation has its own story, its own unique charm, and of course, its own delicious cup of coffee waiting just for you.