Ka'u: The (Amazing) Hawai'i Coffee You've Never Heard Of
The region of Ka’u is so quiet and relatively unhurried that you’ll think you are on another planet, and with good reason. The least populated district in all of Hawai’i, it is a stone’s throw away from sunny Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Ka’u is easily reached by road as you journey towards the southernmost side of Hawai’i, The Big Island.
It is also where I sampled some of the best coffee on the island, even though it is home to over 700 independent farms.
Once an area filled with sugarcane farms, Ka’u now houses some of the finest coffee in the world. “You’re not allowed to mention the other K word here,” laughs Edmund C. Olson, owner of the historic Ka’u Coffee Mill and his eponymous trust. Olson was referring to Kona Coffee, of course.
Situated close to the popular Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Ka’u Coffee Mill is young and a new kid on the coffee block—only 4.5 years old. The retail store is younger still, a positive baby at 9 months. Ka’u is a coffee farm and mill that takes pride in milling and roasting the finest coffees in the world. I sipped the Dark Roast, and was surprised at how fruity it tasted, with distinct chocolate tones. The volcanic soil and elevation, along with copious amounts of rain as well as shade give Ka’u a significantly advantageous location.
Ka’u offers Medium roast, Dark, Extra Dark and Natural varieties of coffee, and the Natural variety is what many customers keep coming back for again and again. Try the Medium Roast and Christmas Blend.