Lyman Estate Certified Organic Coffee: completely Natural and Poison Free
Our eight acre Kona Coffee family farm was started by us "from scratch", out of the jungle. We purchased the land in 2003 and began immediately: We had to pull out trees, build roads, bring water and electricity in, and break down slopes to create building pads for our buildings. We had to level the ground to be able to use a tractor; we had to design and install irrigation systems, and knock 3200 holes into the ground for planting. We are completely herbicide and pesticide free. We use no synthetic inputs, nothing made from petro-chemicals. We have for all those years applied only 100% organic practices. Our product is the Real Kona Thing: a multiple award-winning Kona Coffee that carries the unique stamp of the Kona region of the Big Island of Hawaii — delicate yet flavorful with a rich aroma, and famous among coffee connoisseurs throughout the world. (among others: Gold or Silver Medal for the last four years -- Kona Coffee Council; Excellence Award HCA (statewide) last 4 years, Collaborator of the Year 2008, Kona Soils and Water Conservation District/NRCS.). We ONLY sell Farm Direct -- no warehousing or distributors. Fresh, fresh, good, good.
Our motto is:
Kona Coffee is not a Product, it is a Process. What and how you do it is absolutely crucial.
Coffee as a delicious and stimulating beverage has been known for 1500 years, or longer. By the year 1700, there were coffee houses in several European major cities, and all coffee at that time came from Arabia. Coffee seedlings were brought to Arabia from its native Africa. Today, we know several separate species that do not cross-pollinate. The most valuable species is Coffea Arabica, which evolved in Ethiopia (East Africa). Other, but inferior species, such as Robusta, developed in Central and West Africa. Coffea Arabica has several thousand varieties.
Kona Coffee is a Federally Registered Trademark and must by law originate in the Kona Districts of The Big Island of Hawai’i. All Kona Coffee must contain 100% Coffea Arabica beans and be classified as "Prime" or better. Kona Coffee was first planted on the Big Island of Hawaii in the late 1820’s by the Missionary Samuel Ruggles. When Mark Twain visited in 1866, he found that "Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it by what name you please" (and he stayed with the Lyman Missionaries in the Mission House)
Today, nearly all Kona Coffee is of the variety “Kona Typica”. That variety, according to overwhelming consent of all experts, produces the Kona Coffee that is a “Specialty Coffee” gourmet item, an affordable luxury that’s famous around the world as The Champaign of Coffees, the Best available anywhere. What makes Kona Coffee the Best on Earth is its combination of growing conditions and processing methods.
Grown only in Kona
We feel the best Kona Coffee comes from "Kona Typica" variety trees (and all of our trees are Kona Typica). This variety has over the last 120+ years become the hallmark of Kona's Best (there are other varietals grown in Kona that produce more cherry, but that are less refined in their taste profile). The Kona Coffee Belt of Hawaii contains about 750 coffee farms — Coffee Made in USA! Nearly all small family farms, usually just 2-3 acres in size. The coffee fruit is known as Coffee Cherry. Nearly 80% of all Kona Coffee is sold as Cherry by these small family farms, directly to large processing companies -- right after picking. So, most 100% Kona Coffee comes from these large processors and represents good Kona Coffee, but is a result mingled of many different farm origins, from high to low elevation, and from growers who apply vastly differing levels of care and quality control to their product. It is, simply put, generic Kona. Such coffee can never be called "Estate" Coffee. If a package does not say "Estate", it's not a single farm "Estate Coffee".
Kona Coffee Estate Grown
So, less than 10% of all Kona Coffee farms are Coffee Estates. An Estate is defined as a coffee operation of one Single Farm Origin, where all phases of production are under the control -- quality control -- of one and the same grower. Lyman Farms is a certified Kona Coffee Estate (by both Kona Coffee Council and Kona Coffee Farmers Association), and we say so on each of our bags. Most farmers simply sell their coffee as cherry to large processors. This good 100% Kona Coffee, however, can come from dozens of different farms: high and low elevations, lots and little care. The result is good, but generic Kona Coffee. We feel that true coffee farmers are "up to their eyeballs in coffee cherry and have mucilage under their finger nails". We WORK our farm and have our hands in the dirt. We are truly a "from seed to cup" operation. We are one of only about 40 CERTIFIED ORGANIC FARMS and apply only 100% organic practices: We grow our own coffee seedlings, do our own pruning, organic weed control (mechanically) and apply only organic fertilizers ourselves. We have no full-time help (so it's mostly Hans and Karen (7)). We own and bought all of our equipment new: our own full service wet mill, where our coffee cherries are pulped (with purified water), Coffee Finish Dryer (unique in the world, written up in "Coffee Talk" Magazine), flail and rotary mowers, sprayer, spreader, .... We have our own 1600 sq. ft. drying deck, our own coffee finish dryer, and our strictly climate controlled storage facility. Our "fluid bed air" electric roaster produces only about 10 lbs of roasted coffee per each run, so that we can do small custom roasting batches. Our "Roast Master" runs it usually twice each week (that's Hans): Freshness is crucial, freshness is king.
Kona Blends, the Unreal Thing
Very importantly, any mixes or blends that contain less than 100% Kona Coffee are, quite frankly, cardboard imitations of the real thing, and are no better than "10% Idaho Potatoes". There are a couple of very large coffee companies that make huge profits selling their "kona blends". Many consumers are misled by usage of our good Kona name, especially since such packages do not even identify the other ingredients beyond "10% Kona". It's still legal, but they all contain cheap "filler coffees" that are imported as green coffee into Hawaii. No professional coffee tasters (cuppers) have ever been able to detect the Kona taste in 10% Kona blends: it's using the good Kona name to dupe buyers. Furthermore, upon entry into the State of Hawaii, all green coffee must go through a regimen of toxic pest control that applies fumigation. If a package does not say "100% Kona Coffee", it's not Kona!
We also recommend that you stay clear of all "flavored" coffees (such as vanilla or Mac Nut): they oftentimes consist of inferior grades of coffee (not good enough to sell as is) that are then sprayed with chemical artificial flavor compounds. Make your own good cup, and then add your own cacao or Baileys, or whatever: stay natural and enjoy!
Perfect Coffee Growing Conditions
Growing Conditions include well drained soil, plenty of moisture during certain times, and a dormant period (shorter days, cooler nights). Our mineral rich lava soil is simply ideal for growing coffee, as are the Western slopes of our volcanoes. At Lyman Kona Coffee Estate, we assure that, with the help of our irrigation systems, the right amount of water is delivered to our trees at the right time. Our coffee is consistently good, regardless of rainfall. Elevations below 1,200 feet must provide shade for their trees. At our farm location of 2,100 feet, we do not have to worry about shade at all because our typical afternoon cloud cover makes things perfect. Elevations above 1,200 feet (Mauka Coffee) also produce a higher grade coffee with larger and denser beans than those in the lower, hotter regions that have a faster ripening period.
Hand-Picked, Meticulously Cultivated
Similar to really good wines, Kona Coffee processing methods are crucial to obtaining the superb end product. Most small growers simply sell the coffee cherry they harvest to a processor, and that's the end of their involvement. Only Estate Coffees carry the personal stamp of care and knowledge on their product. At Lyman Kona Coffee Farms, we very carefully, and with great pride, control every step of our Estate production process: growing and selecting the right seedlings (for replacements) and from tending our 3,200 tree orchard year-round, to every step of the milling and roasting processing steps, right to the cup of freshly ground coffee that our guests at the Inn enjoy. We harvest by hand, take our good time doing so: we pay our pickers extra to go slower and pick only the reddest, sun-ripened cherries. We do not use any pesticides or herbicides. Our weed control is all mechanical mowing and hand-pulling, and our pest control is all organic. All fertilizers we use are approved organic. We have our own custom built "wet mill" processing pulper and demucilager. We process within hours after the cherry is picked (with purified water). We go through a total of half a dozen quality control steps to assure that only the top of each crop goes to the next level (we "float" our coffee three times). While most Kona Coffees require 6 to 6 1/2 lbs. of coffee cherry to produce one pound of roasted beans, here at Lyman Farms, we require nearly 8 lbs: we winnow out our coffee at every step to make it better. We save our cherry skins and use them as organic fertilizer. We sun-dry our coffee on our own large drying deck. Our storage building is ideally climate-controlled. The Dry Mill we use to husk our "parchment" coffee is organically certified and we control the process from start to finish.
Hans, having been trained to do so, roasts coffee to order at least once a week on our own custom roaster (fluid bed air, electric model), and we package it immediately. We mail out our orders several times each week, so our customers always receive our coffee that has been freshly roasted. That is another crucial advantage over most store-bought product that may have been sitting on the shelf for some time. The scent and flavor spectrum of our Lyman Kona Coffee has been rated by the world famous Cupper Willem Boot as deliciously rich, medium-bodied and mildly acidic coffee, with a heady aroma and a complex taste — and with a hint of chocolate.
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