Kona Coffee Farm Tours in Hawaii: From Plantation to Cup
Planning a trip to Hawaii? How about taking your Hawaiian experience up a notch with a Kona Coffee farm tour! From the sunny Kona coast to the sprawling plantations on the slopes of Mauna Loa, Kona Coffee is not just a brew—it’s a culture, a lifestyle, and a unique taste that you can only find here.
- The Magic Behind Kona Coffee
- Coffee Farms That Organize Tours on The Big Island
- What to Expect on a Kona Coffee Tour
- To The Farm! Planning Your Own Kona Coffee Tour
- What is the Best Month to Go on a Coffee Tour?
Discover how the magic bean-to-cup journey unfolds, and why Kona Coffee tours should be at the top of your “must-do in Hawaii” list.
The Magic Behind Kona Coffee
Unique Climate: Think about it: The best things in life usually come from the perfect alignment of multiple factors. That’s exactly the case with Kona Coffee. Located on the western slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, Kona has a climate that is nothing short of magical for coffee cultivation.
The region enjoys sunny mornings, rainy or misty afternoons, and mild nights. It’s as if Mother Nature herself designed the weather pattern specifically for coffee growing.
Rich Volcanic Soil: Let’s not forget the soil. The volcanic soil in Kona is rich in minerals and well-drained, providing an ideal growing environment for coffee beans. It’s like that perfect bed of soil is whispering to the coffee plants each day, encouraging them to grow and flourish.
The combination of the unique climate and rich volcanic soil creates coffee beans that are full-bodied, rich, and have a unique flavor profile that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s like capturing a Hawaiian sunset in a cup—every sip feels like a warm hug for your soul.
Coffee Farms That Organize Tours on The Big Island
For the coffee lovers and caffeine-curious among us, touring a coffee farm is akin to a pilgrimage. When it comes to Hawaii’s Big Island, you’re in for an extra special treat. Let’s break it down by region.
Kona Coffee Tours (Near Kona)
- Kona Coffee Living History Farm: Get ready to step back in time! This is the only living history coffee farm in the nation. Admission is charged, and trust me, it’s worth every penny. Get a unique perspective on the history of Kona coffee farming right.
- Greenwell Farms: Who doesn’t love a freebie? Greenwell Farms offers free guided farm tours throughout the day. You’ll learn loads and have a blast.
- Rooster Farms: The granddaddy of organic Kona Coffee farms, Rooster Farms has been certified organic for over 30 years. They even snagged the 2016 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Contest. Tours are free but require a reservation and include coffee tasting.
- Kuaiwi Farm: This farm doesn’t just stop at coffee; they also grow cacao! Tours last about two hours and cost $15 per adult. Make sure to schedule in advance.
- Sunshower Coffee Farm: Private tours, in-depth cupping sessions, and even a roasting lesson! What more could you ask for? Tours need to be scheduled in advance, costing $25 per tasting.
- Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farms: With hourly tours running from Monday to Saturday, there’s no excuse to miss out on this one. Tours start at $15 and end with a tasting session.
- Mountain Thunder Kona Coffee: Offering both free and VIP tours, Mountain Thunder welcomes you seven days a week with tours starting every hour.
- Buddha’s Cup: Award-winning coffee, need we say more? Tours and tastings are available for a fee.
- Hala Tree Coffee: Organic and free? Yes, please! They offer 1-hour tours and also paid coffee-roasting tours.
- Ueshima Coffee (UCC): Reservations are needed for these fantastic tours.
- Holualoa Kona Coffee Company: They offer self-guided tours from Monday to Thursday.
- Hula Daddy Kona Coffee: Another Monday to Friday option, tours last an hour and are $35 per person.
Coffee Tours Close to Hilo
- Hilo Coffee Mill: Pre-scheduling is required for these tours.
Coffee Tours in Kaʻu
- Kaʻu Coffee Mill: This mill offers free 20-minute tours of their orchards twice a day.
What to Expect on a Kona Coffee Tour
A Kona Coffee tour—where your morning pick-me-up meets tropical paradise. But wait, what exactly happens on one of these tours? If you’ve ever pondered that question, you’re in for a treat (quite literally, if you consider a cup of coffee a treat, which, let’s be real, most of us do).
More than 650 coffee farms are sprinkled along the 20-mile scenic route on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa slopes. A treasure trove for coffee aficionados.
Here’s the deal: Most tours start with a walk through the plantation. You’ll see the coffee plants in various stages of growth, blooming like your mood after that first sip of coffee in the morning.
Then, you’re taken on a whirlwind journey of what it takes for a coffee bean to land in your cup—drying, processing, and roasting. Each step is crucial; think of it as the coffee’s rite of passage.
Most tours wrap up with a tasting session, often near a showroom or visitor center where—you guessed it—you can buy some of that delightful Kona Coffee for yourself.
Tours usually last about 30 minutes and involve only a bit of walking. Some require advance scheduling, while others let you show up and start sipping.
To The Farm! Planning Your Own Kona Coffee Tour
Visiting one or even a couple of coffee farms can turn into an enlightening and caffeinated day trip. Throw in some sightseeing or snorkeling, and you’ve got yourself a full itinerary.
We’ve found it super convenient to combine a coffee farm visit with, say, a trip to Puʻuhonua O Honaunau National Park. Or maybe you’re in the mood for snorkeling? Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau Bay are fantastic spots, and they’re pretty close by.
All of these farms are conveniently located along or near a stretch of scenic country roads. Add a few local shops and cafes, maybe a colorfully painted church, and voila! You’ve got yourself the perfect self-drive coffee tour.
Plan to spend about one to two hours per farm visit. Some farms require you to schedule in advance, so make sure to check the details for your farm of choice.
What is the Best Month to Go on a Coffee Tour?
Timing—the unsung hero of any successful trip. Sure, you can visit Big Island coffee farms year-round, but does that mean you should just flip a coin and go whenever? Well, you could, but what if I told you the coffee fields have their own version of a “season finale”?
First off, the coffee farms are open for tours all year, and yes, the coffee served for those free tastings is always fresh. However, different times of the year offer unique experiences that can make your trip extra special.
- See the Kona Snow: No, I’m not talking about a Hawaiian winter wonderland. If you visit in February and March, you’ll be greeted by fields upon fields of coffee plants covered in small, white, fragrant flowers. It’s such a breathtaking sight, they call it “Kona Snow.”
- Witness the Berries Turn into Cherries: Starting from April, those beautiful flowers morph into small green berries. Fast forward a few months, and they turn a luscious red, resembling cherries. Handpicking happens multiple times between August and January, making it a busy and exciting time to visit.
Best Time of Day for a Kona Coffee Tour
Weather-wise, coffee trees are a bit like Goldilocks—they like a mix of sun and rain. In south Kona, mornings are generally sunny, while the afternoons bring clouds and rain. So, if you’re chasing the sun, aim for a morning tour.
There you have it—your ultimate guide to Kona Coffee farm tours in Hawaii. Each farm, each plantation has its own story, its own unique charm, and of course, its own delicious cup of coffee waiting just for you.