Kona Coffee Color and Fragrance

White on BlueJacaranda in BloomI love spring in Kona. We’re coming out of the dry season and have a bit more rain in the afternoons, but the color and fragrance in the air is intoxicating. While our biggest coffee bloom-fest was in late March this year, we’re continuing to get some puffs of white on the coffee trees. This coffee shot (photo) is from a few years ago, but you can see why the coffee blossoms are so inviting. Coffee blossoms have a faint fragrance similar to orange blossoms, but not nearly as strong. The “Kona Snow” sadly only on the tree for a few days. They self-pollinate and fall away as quickly as they came.

I’ve been getting inquiries about Kona Coffee properties from across the US and even internationally. Great to see the interest. Whenever I travel on “The Mainland”, I find that Kona is most well known for its coffee. A close second is its laid back lifestyle. I agree with both.

No math in the blog today, just beauty. Come enjoy it with us!!

If you’re serious about your coffee or serious about a Kona Coffee farm, I’m serious about helping you.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home and Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Seasons of Change

Aloha to all,
Just a quick note. We’re firmly into a season of change. Some high elevation farms (like mine) still have some cherry coming off the trees. Most farms (even mine) have completed the pruning. We had a huge bloom in the last week of March covering nearly the entire Kona Coffee Belt. We’re slowly getting the afternoon cloudiness associated with the summer coming toward us, but not the regular afternoon rains yet. Farms that will be planting new acreage are getting ready to put the seedlings in the ground. Mostly irrigated plots have planted so far. My farm looks great with its pruning and a recent haircut (mowing). Overall it’s a nice spring.

If you’re serious about your coffee or serious about a Kona Coffee farm, let me help you do the math.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home and Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Mom and Dad Win.

Last month’s coffee cultural festival has come and gone. I’m proud to announce that my parents’ coffee farm, “Kowali Farms”, was the winner in the Gevalia Cupping competition in the “Crown” division. The “Crown” division is only open to the farms large enough to have 30 bags of certified “Kona” coffee at the time of the judging. The other division is the “Classic” division. Entrants in the “Classic” division only need to submit 50 pounds of parchment for judging. If my math is right, a Crown division entrant would need to have nearly 10 acres. Similarly, a Classic division entrant would less than a quarter acre of coffee.

So lets do the Crown math…. 30 bags of green coffee is 3000 pound of green. In order to have 3000 pounds of green, one will have to mill roughly 3750 pounds of parchment. To yeild 3750 pounds of parchment, one would need to harvest and pulp about 16,000 pounds (or 160 bags) of cherry. A mid-elevation farm at around 1500 foot elevation would have picked first two rounds of coffee or roughly one fourth of their crop. Assuming an average production of 6500 per acre, that means (16000 x 4 = 64000/ 6500 = 9.8 acres)

Classic Math…. 50 pound of parchment = 213 pounds of cherry. Again, I’ll assume a quarter of the crop picked in time for the judging with average production of 6500 per acre. (213 x 4 = 852/6500 = .13 acres)

Needless to say, contestants in both categories are very serious about producing a world-class coffee. With the average Kona coffee farm being less than five acres, it’s nearly impossible for many of the farms to qualify for the Crown competition. Hats off to Hoshide Farm, a 7 acre Honaunau farm that won the Classic Competition. And a congratulations to Skip and Rita Cowell (Mom and Dad) for their victory in the Crown Competition.

If you’re serious about your coffee or serious about a Kona Coffee farm, let me help you do the math.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home and Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Help!!! Coffee Assistance is Available

Aloha to all,
Many of our coffee farm sales are to Malahini (newcomers) to our Kona Coast. As I speak with prospective buyers, here’s one question that usually pops up early in the conversation.

“It sounds like there’s so much to learn. Is there help available if we need it?”

The good news is that there is a tremendous amount of help to new coffee farmers. All one must do is ask.

In my humble opinion (I haven’t written that out recently) one of the best sites for anything related to coffee cultivation is the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). They not only have information about coffee, but about growing anything here in Hawaii. Every time I visit the site, I find more information that I’d missed on my last visit. Be sure to give yourself some time and enjoy yourself.

Go visit www.ctahr.hawaii.edu.

Of course if you have questions on coffee or ag realty here in Kona, I’ll do my best to answer promptly.
Feel free to call or email.

Coffee Festival is going on right now. Everyone is quite busy with this major coffee event here in Kona.

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home & Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Coffee Statistics

Aloha to all,
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since beginning the blog. I know I haven’t been as active as I could have been. I suppose when one is immersed in coffee, one forgets that others are curious and have questions. I’ve been answering a few coffee realty related questions, and more than a few coffee farming questions. Interestingly, many of the questions have been coming from outside the United States. Keep the questions coming. I joke to my kids that I have the miraculous ability to answer any questions. The danger is that sometimes the answer might be wrong.

Here’s a link to a very recent Pacific Business News article about Kona and Hawaii coffee.

http://pacific.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2008/09/29/focus4.html

It’s full of statistics about the number of farms, sizes of farms, crop size, etc. One statistic that can be derived from the article is farm size. With 790 Kona Coffee farms and 3000 harvested acres, the average farm size is just under 3.8 acres.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home & Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Happy New Year, Kona Coffee-wise

Aloha from Kona,

With today being the first of July, it’s the beginning of the new coffee harvest year here in Kona. Because the harvest usually spans from late summer to early spring the next year, we’re coming into the ’08/’09 season. Typically, the last of the coffee has been picked from the previous year. We’re also seeing the first street prices being posted on road side signs. Prices are low compared to mid or late season prices, but they always seem low at the start.

Most of the spring blooming has finished, although the higher elevation farms still have a few blooms to go. All of the pruning was completed a few months ago. Once the trees are cut, clusters of sucker growth grow from the trunks. These suckers are thinned to the required number to replace the pruned branches. Although we’ve had a fairly cool, damp spring, the summer afternoon rains are upon us. Average rain is around five-inches per month in the summer in our coffee belt.

On the sales front, we’re seeing continued interest in coffee realty. The biggest story recently was the sale of a 60-acre farm for $7,250,000. I’ll do the math for you: $120,833.33 per acre. That’s for one of the larger farms here in Kona. Smaller acreage tends to be running around $150K/acre. I’ll be happy to give you my opinion of trends in coffee realty sales. Just drop me a line and we’ll discuss them.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home & Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Late Season Coffee

coffee-farm.jpgHere it is the middle of May and we’re still harvesting Kona Coffee cherry from the trees from the last season. We label our Kona Coffee seasons with a two-year tag because the picking season starts in the fall and goes past the New Year into the spring. This year (07/08) we’ve had an especially late harvest.

I suppose it could be attributed to a couple of factors, but I don’t know for sure. First of all, we’re a relatively high elevation farm. High elevation farms don’t get as much daytime sunlight as lower elevation farms. But because the elevation of our farm hasn’t changed this year, it must be caused by some sort of weather phenomenon.

We did get a couple of very wet weeks in late November and early December. Normally our driest months are November through March. We did get normal rains between January and March.

We have had a rather cool spring. With the intermittent haziness from the volcano, our daytime high temps have been slightly lower than normal. I suppose this might cause the fruit that’s on the tree to ripen more slowly.

The size and quality of the cherry coming off right now is bigger and better than early season fruit. So maybe the late harvest is a good thing.

In my last post I mentioned the Google Earth images for the Kona Coffee Belt. I added a pin for the Kealakekua Coffee Company farm. If you seach for Kealakekua Coffee, my pin is on the second page and will take you right to the farm. A saved image is posted for your viewing enjoyment.

A friend showed me the “easter egg” available once you’ve openned Google Earth. If you press Control + Alt + A, it will bring up a cool flight simulator. I’ve been having fun buzzing my house in an F-16 at near Mach 2. WhoooHoooo!!!!

See some coffee from outer space

Google Earth image of Captain Cook, Kona, HawaiiAloha to all you coffee lovers,

One tool that I use regularly in my coffee and realty capacities is Google Earth. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a wonderful diversion from the daily grind, or an excellent analytical tool if looking at acreage.

As few as a couple of years ago, the only way to get an aerial view of property, houses, or acreage was to hire an airplane or helicopter to fly over. Some firms offer remote control helos that do very good advertising and display prints, but it can be expensive and time consuming.

Google Earth isn’t new, but the imagry and tools just keep getting better. The reason I bring this up now on the Coffee Realty blog is that the imagery for most of the Kona Coffee belt has recently been updated. Resolution is dramatically better. Before, you could see general roadway trends, large buildings, forests, or pasture clearings. Now you can see cars in driveaways, or even individual coffee trees! The photo image is about two years old, but is ten times better than before. I’ve attached a low angle image of the Kealakekua Coffee Company farm for your viewing pleasure.

There are many nice features. For today, I’ll list only a few. When you first zoom in on Hawaii (or anywhere else in the world) you’re viewing straight down. The position of the cursor (little hand) is displayed as a latitude and longitude in the lower left of the screen. It also displays the elevation of the terrain below the cursor. This is very important with coffee land.

In my next post I’ll show you how to find my placemark for my coffee farm. Please feel free to contact me if you have any, and I mean ANY, questions regarding Kona Coffee Realty, or viewing my part of the world from space on your computer.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home & Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

It’s Snowing in Kona!!!

big-bloom.jpgWhat a sight to behold!!! After a small bloom around the New Year, a large set of blossoms has erupted on our coffee branches. The fragrance each evening faintly resembles jasmine (in the same family) or citrus. The bloom comes after a long stretch of relatively dry weather. We only had 1.5 inches of rain for the entire month of January at my farm. The trees were beginning to feel stress from the near drought conditions and went into a reproductive frenzie with the steady rain last week.

For all it’s beauty, the flowers will only stay on the tree for three or four days. Most likely, we’ll have a few more weeks of dry conditions following this bloom and the cycle will repeat itself next month. And the month after…

Roughly 80% of the little flowers will produce a coffee cherry in seven to eight months. That’s why each coffee tree will be picked 5 to 7 times next fall and early spring. In fact, some farms are still picking fruit from last May’s bloom.

Come see it if you have a chance, but it won’t last long. Drop me an email if you have questions on our coffee cycle. Coffee realty can be complicated. Be sure to look me up when you’re ready to let yourself take root here in Kona.

A hui hou,

Fred Cowell, R(S), Kona Home & Land Realty LLC
(808) 323-3300 office, (808) 936-3032 direct, (808) 323-3309 fax,
gr8coffee@earthlink.net

Kona Coffee Musings

Whew, it’s been a busy mid-season for coffee. The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival was a busy time. I took a roasting and cupping class from world renowned roast master, Paul Thornton from Coffee Bean International. While we’re blessed to live in a wonderful location and produce an extemely unique and sought after coffee, we’re not the center of the coffee universe. My “take away” from the class and festival is that each coffee farmer must do their utmost to ensure that they grow, process, mill, and roast quality “Kona” coffee. Please email me with any specific coffee quality questions.

On the realty front, I’d like to point out a couple of listings of mine. One is a 11+ acre coffee farm looking right into Kealakekua Bay. From the Hawaii Information Service site, look up MLS #202200.

If you’re looking for a house with a stunning view of 30 plus miles of South Kona coastline, look at #204799. It’s wonderful house on a 3-acre lot. Not a lot of coffee, but all the neighbors have coffee and it can be easily added.

Wake up and smell the Kona Coffee

Fred Cowell, gr8coffee@earthlink.net