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Full of Beans

Full of Beans

Now that they’ve got their new roaster up and running, it’s safe to tell the world. Until a few months ago, it was only available by mail subscription, word of mouth marketing. If there wasn’t enough, tough luck, get on the waiting list.  I got a regular monthly subscription, which bumped up my seniority.

It is truly the best coffee I’ve ever had. I have friends in Europe who say it’s the best, and not too delicately suggest it as a holiday gift. A friend from Sydney subscribed.

OK, and why is a raving locavore who lives in Hawai’i’s coffee capital, Holualoa, Kona, gushing about coffee grown on the other side of the island?

In all other respects Hawaiian Cloud Forest Coffee (not the catchiest name, but I certainly prefer it to some of my regional ones like “Haole Boy” and “Donkey Balls”) is the poster child for a sustainable business.

Erik and Hillery Gunther have been farming in Hamakua for decades.  Off grid. Organic. Shade grown.  All power, including the new roasting mill is solar and natural gas.  They recently added 64 PV panels to accommodate the new machinery.  Don’t tell me sustainable ag on a small scale isn’t profitable.  Sure, they aren’t living in luxury, they live in beauty.  They hand built their house, a marvel of comfort and efficiency.  Besides farming, he hand makes wooden objects like koa bookmarks, and she makes beautiful jewelry.  They are really fabulous human beings too.

If I’d never met them, visited their farm, or known anything besides what it tastes like, Hawaiian Cloud would still be my #1 coffee.  I’ve been assuaging my conscience about supporting the local community by trying area estate coffees from time to time. Most are very good, but not that good.

I always get the dark roast now, but for about the first year I got the blend of dark and . . medium? I can’t remember, but it is really good too.  I did see it at Island Naturals recently, so the cherry red bag might be available retail elsewhere.  It’s so much more fun to get the package by mail.  To order: http://www.hawaiiancloudforestcoffee.com/

Erik and Hillery

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