KTL Kona Coffee Farm

Kona Coffee Farm Belt- 100% Pure Kona Coffee-History Of The Farm

KTL Kona Coffee in the heart of the Kona Coffee Farm Belt is where we produce our 100% Pure Kona Coffee.

The Hokulea anchored off Ho'okena Beach, Captain Cook, Hawaii 2013
Ho’okena Beach in Captain Cook. Anchored off shore is the Hokulea ship on a stop over. The day included a welcome luau hosted by coffee farmers from farms located above the beach. July 2013.

In 1856, my ancestors were awarded land located in the middle of the Kona Coffee Farm Belt during the “Great Mahele.” The Mahele resulted in the abolition of the previous semi-feudal system.  Under this system, rule over an ahupua’a was given by the king to a chief.  The land began from the ocean to the mountain partitioned in narrow strips containing a lowland cultivated area and upland forested region. Everything needed to live completely off their land was there. Family living near the ocean traded fish for meat or taro root for sweet potato. My ancestors believed that the land, the sea, the clouds and all of nature were interconnected.  And it was important to use all of the resources around them to reach a balance in life.

My grandmother eventually inherited the land.  She then met and married my grandfather who had migrated to Hawaii from China.

He brought with him orange seeds from the province where he lived.  The trees from the seeds he planted would become living reminders of a land and life that he left behind.  He was a familiar sight tending his trees in the Ho’okena region of Captain Cook.  People passing began calling him “Alani” meaning orange in Hawaiian. He later adopted the name in place of his Chinese name.  My father’s brothers and sisters kept the Hawaiian name.  But my father choose the real Chinese name, Tung-Loong.

In 1913, my grandmother eventually decided to convey her land to her “keiki” (children) to effectively keep title within the family. She divided the land into 10-15 acre parcels for each. By this time. my family was growing coffee, oranges, and other exotic fruit.

100% Pure Kona Coffee From The Kona Coffee Farm Belt

konacoffeebelt1

Only 600 small farms are located in the Kona Coffee Farm Belt.  The location has the perfect environment for producing 100% Pure Kona Coffee:

  1. Volcanic fertile soil.
  2. 500 ft. to 3,000 ft. altitude.
  3. Morning sunshine and temperature never lower than 55 degrees F.
  4. Cloud cover or shade from intense sun by late afternoon.
  5. Mountain slope and lava rock for good drainage.
  6. The older and richer lava flow found in the “belt” not found elsewhere.

The Birth Of The Farm- Growing 100% Pure Kona Coffee

Trees after mulching 6-19-2016
Green waste mulch fertilize the trees on KTL Kona Coffee Farm growing 100% Pure Kona Coffee. The farm is in the heart of the Kona Coffee Farm Belt.

I began my 100% Pure Kona Coffee farm and business in 2009.  I began farming right after inheriting the land.  Ancient Arabica Guatemalan trees were already growing.  I began managing what was there and planting more.  The lower area of the farm now contains 1500 coffee trees.  The higher forest area will be preserved in the spirit of respect for balance and harmony.

Hawaii State regulations mandate that only coffee grown in the Kona Coffee Farm Belt can legally be called Kona Coffee. Coffee grown outside the belt must be called Hawaiian coffee.  Be sure the coffee your purchase is truly 100% Pure Kona Coffee.

100% Pure Kona Coffee: Harvest To Roast

Red Kona coffee cherries during harvest time.
Red Kona coffee cherries during harvest time.

In the South Kona district of Captain Cook harvest time is a happy, long awaited time of high anticipation. Everything I have done all year for the benefit of my trees has finally reached fruition. KTL Kona Coffee Farm is a Single Estate Farm that does not purchase coffee cherry from any other farm. I am hoping this year that my farm will produce enough coffee to last the season and fill the orders from my customers.

Trays of Kona coffee cherries.
At KTL Kona Coffee Farm the cherry trays get an additional inspection to remove unwanted cherries before going into the pulping machine.

The first bright red color of ripening cherry begins in August.  We begin picking early in the morning.  At noon the cherry is  brought down the hill to the pulping table and emptied into a large container filled with water.  Any cherry of poor density will float and be removed.

Pulping the cherry comes next.  The cherry skins are removed in the pulping machine that also separates the bean into two beans per cherry.

Afterward, the beans are moved into a container filled with fresh water for fermentation for removal of the slimy mucilage on the beans.  After 12 -15 hours, the mucilage can be easily washed away and the beans set in drying beds to dry three or four days.  The desired moisture level is 10 or 10.5 as measured on a moisture meter.

Inspecting the drying Kona coffee.

When dried, the coffee is fed through the dry milling machine for removal of the thin husk or parchment that covers the beans.  Afterwards grading is done by placing the coffee on screens designed to separate he beans according to size from largest to smallest: Extra Fancy #19, Fancy #18, and #1.  We select a mixture of these top three grades for roasting.

100% Pure Kona Coffee-Fertilizing, Pruning, and Balance

Getting our Kona coffee trees to consistently produce large beans with outstanding flavor requires regular application of adequate organic nutrient but not with a process of over fertilization. My trees are fertilized every other month from December to August with an organic fertilizer.  Also included is an annual application of green waste mulch provided free by the County of Hawaii.

My farming practices is organic without the regular certification expense needed to include the word on my label.  I use organic fertilizer and regularly fertilize with green waste mulch that conserves the fertilizer, retains moisture, discourages weeds and eliminates the need for herbicides.  This was the only known farm practice for my ancestors.

Pruning the Kona Coffee trees begins in January and some time after the trees are covered with white blossoms. Before long the blossoms become miniature green coffee beans tightly clustered on the branch, the signal of a good harvest to come. The trees are trimmed keeping only the best four branches.  Any “suckers” that may grow between the branches are also removed.

Cuttings are left in place until the leaves fall.  And cut branches are chipped and spread around the trees.  In addition, later in the year decomposed coffee skins and floaters from processing are returned to the trees for fertilizing.

KTL Kona Farm is committed to sustainable farming and conservation of natural resources in the way my ancestors were committed to balance in their interaction with their environment. As the native Hawaiians used the resources within their ‘ahupua’a, they practiced aloha or respect, laulima or cooperation, and malama or responsible management which resulted in a desirable pono, righteous balance.