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What is an estate coffee farm? The Kona Coffee Council describes estate coffee as “the product of one farm, unmixed with crops from other farms, and processed through to roast under the control of the estate farm. This produces a set of unique Kona coffees, each with its own label.” These coffees are comparable to the different wines from the individual Chateau of Bordeaux.
The value of estate coffee extends beyond the quality of harvesting and processing. It is a glimpse into unique climactic and geological conditions affecting the field that nurtured the coffee. Returning to the analogy of wine, it is the original soil, location, microclimate and exposure that define the great vineyards of Burgundy. Chambertin (Bertin’s field), the unique Burgundian Grand Cru wine so beloved by Napoleon, grows in a field that looks hardly different from its neighbors but that produces a wine of special attraction to many.
“Kona is a world premier coffee appellation on the Southwest slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes on the island of Hawaii. This special coffee growing area is created on perfect volcanic soils by an eddy of the Northwest trade winds around these 4000 meter plus mountains. Here, the trade winds that bring Hawaii its legendary climate flow around to the back side of the mountains. In this eddy, morning sun causes the moist air from the sea to rise gently up the slopes by day, forming clouds and showers that moderate the tropical sun and water the trees. At the end of the day the clouds evaporate and mountain air flows through the orchards back toward the sea. [See satellite images that illustrate this weather pattern.] This morning sunshine, cool afternoon rain and evening mountain air is found at an elevation of 300 to 700 meters for only about 40 kilometers along the volcanic slopes. Here the coffee trees leisurely mature larger, denser beans to perfect ripeness giving the world Kona Coffee.”
“The hallmarks of Kona Coffee are smooth, complex, rich, winey, minerally flavors balanced on a mellow light acidity. Our goal at Aikane Kona Coffee is to bring you a premier, and distinct, expression of the Kona appellation. The Aikane Estate is located on older (5000 years) volcanic soil at an elevation of 600 meters in the North most part of the coffee belt. The estate is a few degrees cooler and receives several inches more rain than most Kona farms. As is characteristic of North Kona, our coffee has a brighter acidity and cleaner, more direct flavor components. Estate coffees from South Kona tend to have a denser acidity and more earthiness in their flavors. We urge you to compare.”