| By Laurie Britton |
Earlier this year, we had an amazing opportunity for a trip to origin to visit Kona RainForest Farms, one of the coffee farms in which we have a direct trade relationship to source coffee beans for Cafe Virtuoso. We fell in love with this coffee a few years ago and have been roasting and selling it in our cafe ever since.
We carry this coffee not just because the coffee beans are out of this world, but also because of the tremendous amount of care that owners Robert and Dawn Barnes give by protecting the health of the coffee plants, land and surrounding ecosystems. These two have taken it a step further and now also produce their own organic fertilizer, which contributes so greatly to the health of the plants on the farm that other surrounding farms took notice and now purchase this fertilizer from them to help improve the quality and health of sorts of produce being grown in the area.
Coffee grows exceptionally well in this area due to perfect combination of volcanic soil, sunshine, rainfall and temperature, which are also coincidentally the ideal conditions for me when choosing a destination for a vacation. I figured it was a win-win for us to receive a more comprehensive first-hand view of how coffee is grown and processed there and to have a little r&r in a place that is as close to paradise as any other I’ve visited so far.
The fact that they also have a two bedroom guest house on the property that people can rent was what closed the deal for me. Aside from the slightly harrowing experience of trying to get up to the farm without an SUV and having to go back to the car rental agency to exchange the car for a 4×4 that could actually make it up the hill, the trip was incredibly relaxing.
Once we arrived, I was able to observe and participate in the full painstakingly detailed and complex process that this farm goes through to produce such exceptional beans. I even had the help from what they told me was a “small” chameleon, although from the photos below, you can see he’s really not so small at all. He was also strangely determined to jump down my shirt, which I suppose rounded out the full authentic experience of life on an organic coffee farm in Kona quite nicely.
Overall, it was an experience that I will not soon forget. Seeing the amazing quality coffee that this farm produces first hand makes me exceptionally proud to be able to offer it to my customers at Cafe Virtuoso. Additionally with our direct trade relationship with Kona RainForest Farms, our very own in-house roaster/microbiologist will soon be working closer with this farm to help further enhance the coffee processing in order to bring out even more high-quality coffee flavor characteristics in these beans. Stay tuned for more on that soon!
In the meantime, if you haven’t been to our cafe in Barrio Logan in a while (or ever), you should most certainly come in for a visit and take home a bag of these fine organic 100% Kona coffee beans. You can also now order this Kona from our online store here.
Hawaiian 100% Kona Tasting Notes:
This natural-processed coffee is reminiscent of classic Kona in its chocolate rich body with an added complexity of soft stone fruit and berry like finish. Earthy and well balanced.
Photos from the Trip to Origin
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Certified organic from day one, Laurie founded Cafe Virtuoso in 2008 with the vision of bringing a level of quality to coffee and tea previously unavailable in San Diego. Her passion and dedication ensures each business decision is based on being socially and ethically responsible and is acutely involved in every aspect of what it means to be truly sustainable.