The fragrant and tantalizing scent of roasting coffee beans wafting through the air drew us like moths to a flame. And on a misty overcast island morning, there’s nothing like a steaming hot cup of Hawaiian coffee to remind us that we’re truly in paradise. And then, as if by magic, the sun peaked through the clouds and a stunning rainbow appeared in the distance.
The Hawaiian Islands are known for their coffee plantations and even populous Oahu has a claim to fame in the coffee-growing business. Though it’s one of only two coffee farms on the island, Green World is the only one open for tastes, tours, and visitation.
Situated in a picturesque verdant valley surrounded by mountains on Oahu’s North Shore, Green World Coffee Farm has almost 3,000 Brazilian Red Catuai and Guatemalan Kona Typica coffee trees planted on its seven acres. Once the planting program is completed, there will be over 10,000 trees. Premium beans not grown on property are sourced from the other Hawaiian Islands of Maui and Molokai along with the Waialua region of Oahu and then roasted on site. The farm, just a few minutes from Dole Plantation is a natural stopping point–and so worth that stop.
Green World was established in 2009 but soil conditions at the time were not amenable to growing coffee. The land, previously used for pineapple proved too acidic. Owners Howard and Kohei Green worked with the University of Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture to develop an appropriate soil amendment program to bring the earth back into balance. The plan obviously worked as the farm is thriving, its tasting room is packed, and coffee here is fantastic.
Visitors can choose between a staff-guided or self-guided tour through the picturesque coffee garden. Either is a delight and don’t be surprised when you meet some of the farm’s “unofficial” tour guides–colorful chickens wandering between rows of coffee plants and even on the limbs of its massive trees. And feel free to take complimentary coffee samples along when exploring the grounds. Employees are engaging and knowledgeable and signs and photos throughout the tasting room and retail shop provide more in-depth information on the coffee-growing process.
The three things the farm emphasizes regarding a good cup of coffee is “Start with high-quality beans, roast them correctly, and drink the coffee fresh.” This is why once packaged their coffee is sold or shipped within two to three days of roasting and inventory is replaced three times a week. That is true attention to excellence.
Surprisingly, coffee trees are actually a cousin of the gardenia, which explains the sweet fragrance as we wandered through the grove. Though the trees bloom year-round, springtime brings the snow-white blossoms on the plants which take about seven months to transform into coffee cherries and then finally the red-wine colored coffee beans ready for harvesting. When coffee cherries often are not fully formed and contain only one cherry vs. the normal two, it’s known as a peaberry. And these berries produce more complex, aromatic (and definitely more expensive) highly-sought-after coffees.
Coffee is roasted here daily and includes a variety of 100% medium-dark Hawaiian coffees and Hawaiian blends. Paniolo Blend, their famous bold “Hawaiian cowboy” coffee is their top seller. It’s also perfect for iced coffee. The immensely popular flavored-coffees are divine. Macadamia Nut and Hawaiian Hazelnut were two of our favorites. And for dessert lovers there are the rich delectable and creative flavors like Mocha Almond Fudge, Hawaiian Coffee Cake, Salted Caramel and Hawaiian Rocky Road.
An onsite Cafe offers an impressive menu of coffee and tea choices and some luscious pastries and breads. It’s almost impossible to leave without purchasing an item or two from the impressive and fun-filled coffee-inspired retail shop. One of our favorite signs on the wall read “All you need is love and a good cup of coffee.”
One thing is for certain is that there’s a lot of love put into these island coffees.
Articles and photo by Noreen Kompanik