Ka `io Farms is a small specialty coffee company in the Kona District on the leeward slopes of Hualālai, a volcanic mountain on the Big Island of Hawai`i.
We purchased an old-fashioned Japanese coffee farm in Kona in 1992 and named our business Ka `io Farms for the Hawaiian hawk which nests only on the Big Island and is often seen soaring in the skies of Kona. Since that time, we have consistently sought to give our customers the best tasting Kona coffee produced.
We process Wings of the Morning Kona coffee with the same labor-intensive old Hawai`i style methods, using wet-milling, parchment drying, and moisture-controlled storage that results in the exceptional flavor of our coffee.
Our commitment is that we will deliver the highest quality Kona coffee possible to you and your family.
Exceptional coffee begins with the optimal variety of Arabica coffee trees, nutrient-rich volcanic soil and the perfect coffee climate. Then we apply meticulous care to each step of the process, from picking to roasting. The result is an exquisite cup of coffee.
With its distinctive taste and low acidity, Kona coffee has been recognized for its excellence throughout the world. Our farming practices are designed to bring out the best of these qualities in every cup.
The production of Kona coffee is very labor-intensive. The steep volcanic terrain of Kona is not conducive to mechanical cultivation or harvesting, so almost all the work is done by hand. Handpicking of the mature bean is much more selective than machine picking and results in a pure, gourmet quality product.
Coffee that is ready to be picked is called cherry, and harvesting is always done by hand so that only the ripe cherry is picked and the green immature fruit can be left to ripen. A Kona coffee orchard will be hand-picked in three or four rounds over a period of several months.
Once harvested, the red cover or pulp on the cherry is removed by a simple procedure called wet milling, and the beans, beige in color at this point, are covered with water and left to soak in a fermentation tank for twelve to fourteen hours. Naturally occurring bacteria causes fermentation which loosens the sticky covering on the newly milled beans. To remove this coating, the coffee beans are agitated with hand tools and placed on a shaker table and washed with fresh water.
The coffee at this stage is called parchment. The wet parchment is laid out on our hoshidana, a traditional Japanese style deck, in which the roof rolls back to expose the deck to the hot tropical sun. Here the beans are spread evenly and raked repeatedly to accomplish uniform drying. Depending on the amount of coffee coming into the mill at any one time, a particular lot may be pushed off the deck into a mechanical dryer to finish drying. When dried to 9-12% moisture content, the parchment is then put into burlap sacks and placed in moisture controlled storage. Parchment is very stable, and, if the storage facilities are adequate, it can be held for many years without loss of quality.
The coffee parchment is placed in a machine that uses friction to remove the thin beige hull, resulting in greenish grey beans. Now called “green coffee”, the beans are weighed and sorted on a gravity table. Size and weight determine the grade and market value of the coffee.
If you chew on an unroasted coffee bean, it doesn't have much taste. Roasting releases the flavor. The longer and hotter coffee is roasted, the more some chemical compounds are extinguished and others come to the fore. The duration and temperature of roasting are critical in achieving an optimum result. We use a medium dark roast on all of our coffee.
After our gourmet coffee is roasted it is packed in heat-sealed mylar/foil bags with one-way valves. Coffee continues to release a gas after it is roasted, thus the wonderful aroma of freshly roasted coffee. The valve releases the pressure built up in the bag, preventing it from rupturing. It also prevents the entry of oxygen into the sealed bag.
Wings of the Morning is 100% Kona coffee. We do not blend our coffee. The best way to drink a gourmet coffee is straight up – not blended.