I really wanted to tour a coffee farm while in Hawaii, and even though most of them are located on the Kona side of the island, I found a small farm in Mountain View, not far from our airbnb. Hilo Coffee Mill is just 24 acres, a small family farm owned and operated by 3 older women, none of whom had a background in farming before starting their operation. They’re a small-batch custom roaster with a focus on recycling, resource awareness, and sustainable practices. We signed up for a tour through their website (tours cost $20, but if you’re on the fence about it I will say that I thought it was worth every penny of that!), and saw that they also operate a small farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, which happened to be the morning we’d signed up for a tour. We decided to go early and get breakfast and coffee there before starting the tour. The market was very, very small – it’s still quite new – but they had several different stalls with goodies to try. We bought coffee drinks inside the farm’s store, and then Domingos and I tried some fabulous wontons a woman was frying up – her business is called Any Kine Wontons, and she offers a huge array of intriguing flavors (and I hate that this is the only photo I have of her! She was very lovely but I caught her in an awkward expression here).
Once everyone had had something to eat, Jeanette, one of the owners, started our very thorough tour. We began inside the roasting room where Jeanette explained the whole process from picking the beans all the way to roasting them.
Since the farm doesn’t have a huge amount of coffee trees, they roast a lot of coffee for other farmers in addition to their own.
Next, we headed outside to tour the grounds, accompanied by this sweet, grass-loving cat:
There was also this rooster, who had antenna-like feathers in his tail:
Here are the photos from the rest of the tour. The farm grows a lot of different products as well as raising chickens. After the tour, we sampled several delicious coffees and coffee-based treats back in the shop.
Coffee beans drying:
Unripe coffee berries:
Ripe coffee berry:
And the beans inside the berry. If you get one that isn’t split but instead is whole, it’s called a “peaberry.”
They even had a couple of cotton bushes!