Coffee Me Up! - Rusty's Hawaiian in Ka'u Region
6:00 am. Golden shafts of dawn light up coffee fields, as the pattering steps of a lone farmer crack the first morning mud. Another day begins in the Ka’u region of Big Island, Hawaii, formerly a productive sugar plantation but now a region of award-winning, artisanal coffee producers. It is home to Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee, the 2012 Winner in Coty Coffees of the Year, and we are honored to be their partner and for their sponsorship for our first season.
Step around back, and you'll find Lori Obra perched on a low wooden bench, sorting the red shock of coffee cherries, hand-picked for the best roasting possibility. It is within these high antioxidant fruits that the prized unroasted coffee bean lies.
After sorting, the beans are poured into the deafening dehulling machine, separating flesh from seed. Out merges fresh green coffee beans, leaping into tray that will let it dry in the front lawn, before jumping into the roasting machine. There, the familiar brown color wafting with caffeinated fragrance coffee.
The Obra Family, owners of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee, invited us to their home for a private tour of the post-harvest process and for a coffee-tasting (cupping). At the end of a small cul-de-sac, we approach a front lawn filled with drying racks of recently dehulled coffee beans. In a farmer’s life, all space is precious and utilized fully. No flock of plastic pnk flamingoes can bee seen.