It’s too bad, really, that few coffee lovers understand the work behind their favorite drink. We’re not talking about roasting and brewing coffee. Rather, we’re talking about the transformation of coffee seeds into beans ready for roasting.
Another Ka‘u coffee farm known for experimentation and passion is Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee. Lauded with awards (2010 Hawaii Coffee Association Cupping Contest first-place winner, 2010 Outstanding Producer of the Year by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, and several 92+ scores from The Coffee Review), Rusty’s is a paradigm of meticulous processing. Owner Lorie Obra works tirelessly to process her coffee to perfection. The pulped naturals can require raking every 20 minutes the entire day after pulping whereas the full naturals need the most attention three to five days after being laid out.
“Non-washed coffees must be raked very frequently so they will dry faster and avoid getting moldy,” Obra explains. The level of attention necessary to dry the coffee properly requires a great deal of time and energy. This translates into higher labor costs as someone (Obra, usually, or her daughter, Joan) needs to babysit the coffee and monitor the weather once drying begins until the critical periods have passed.
It’s a tiny snapshot of the work we do, but we’ll have to leave more tales for another time. And yes, our processing methods are incredibly labor intensive, but we have a very good reason to be so particular.