I don't go on many origin trips these days as I take care of three wonderful girls...most of the time wonderful that is. But recently my wife and I decided to celebrate our 10th anniversary where we honeymooned at Kauai, Hawaii. If you have been to Hawaii and not been to Kauai then you haven't been to Hawaii that I love. Still yet fully developed but not some primative jungle that you are fighting off bugs, snakes and other critters. The beauty of it all sets in easily as the Portland weather is reported on to be 30 degrees lower than what we enjoyed.
One thing that happens when you are a coffee guy on vacation is you hunt for good coffee. Be it retail or in this case as we were in the tropics we visited the Kauai Coffee Plantation. Far from harvest time the trees were showing their wear and tare of what a well planned and operated farm goes thorugh to create their coffees. Its expensive to grow, care for and harvest coffee in the states. The Kauai Plantation uses mechanized harvesters. You can see how this equipment is driven down the row of trees pruned to the proper height. The arms in the body of the beast twirl like a car wash and beat the hell out of the tree and the ripe cherries fall to the ground. Not so good for the tree. The coffee is harvested in Hawaii mostly from September through December. Our visit was in mid-March and the trees were in poor looking condition as you can see. You wouldn't even see any daylight as the leaves would remain on a hand picked tree that didn't use the "strip pick" method. However, it is interesting to see all the coffee left on the tree. You can still see nodes of coffee bundled still on the trees! This was in their walking tour area so this may have something to do with that as they would want the public to see it but still a lot of waste.
I enjoyed the tour being the coffee geek that I am but wouldn't consider buying their coffee unless it was a contract roast. It was a good cup and the tasting room is filled with brewed coffee for you to cup and lots of Kauai schwag in the visitors center. I'd really like to see more of it in harvest when the equipment is up and running. Or maybe during flowering for that sight and smell. As always its a family friendly tour so take the young uns. Lots of room to run on an unused drying patio!
For more info go to www.kauaicoffee.com or http://www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/state.htm for more information on coffee in Hawaii.