Kona Coffee can only be found in the North and South Kona, on the western side of Hawaii. Kona Coffee is only grown in the coffee groves between M auna Loa, the world’s largest mountain and Hua Lai Lai. According to Lion Coffee, Kona Coffee is grown in an area that is two miles wide and 25 miles long. The soil in the valley is volcanic in nature and rich in nutrients. The climate in Hawaii has also played apart in the growth and taste of the coffee. Kona Coffee is different from the other coffee beans in Hawaii according to Best Big Island.com. Ordinary Hawaiian coffee beans are forced to ripen. The coffee beans are irrigated artificially and machines harvest the coffee beans. However, Kona Coffee is harvested by farmers and is processed carefully. The Kona Coffee Process starts from January to June. This time of the year helps the coffee produce blossoms that eventually become cherries. The cherries ripen in a span of 6 to seven months. The cherries are harvested by hand. The processing of the coffee beans would be discussed on the next part of the paper. The discussion would also include a comparison of the intermittent processing and the continuous processing..
There are two types of coffee mill production, the intermittent process and the continuous process. The intermittent process is the periodic processing of coffee beans while the continuous processing of coffee beans is the constant processing of coffee beans. Intermittent processing according to Lion coffee, starts when the red cherries are dropped off by the farmers to the processing mill. After the drop-off, the cherries are loaded in a gravity chute. From the gravity chute, the cherries are dropped in processing bins and is brought to the wet mill processing. The cherries are soaked in water and then the fruit is removed from the beans. Upon separation, the beans are sundried. The sundried coffee is then referred as Parchment Coffee. The sundried coffee is raked in order to dry the beans uniformly. After drying the coffee is brought to the gravity table and is sorted according to weight. After processing the coffee it is then stored in 2000 lb totes and is then brought to the Roasting facility in Oahu. The Roasters average output roasts 30 pounds of coffee at a time.
On the other hand, the continuous process starts in the separation of the floaters and the sinkers. The floaters are twigs, empty cherry and the like; sinkers are the ripe and green coffee beans. The beans is then brought to the pulping station. In this stage, controlled internal pressure is applied to the cherries in order to separate the coffee seed from the fruit. Since the ripe cherries are soft is released through the screen. The green cherries are hard so these are not pulped by the system. The green cherries are separated from the ripe coffee beans. The pulp and coffee beans are separated through the centrifugal force and a barrel screen system. Before the coffee proceeds to the fermentation tank, a density separation occurs. The coffee beans are grouped in the based on the density. The coffee is then sent to fermentation ranks to ferment for 16 to 36 hours. The coffee is then moved to the drying patios and is dried 11 to 12% of moisture content. The beans are hulled and milled bya mini-huller. A sample of 300 grams is classified for defects, then a sample is also brought to the roaster to determine the coffee quality. Lots should not be mixed until the coffee has been classified and cupped.
There are ten differences in the processing of coffee, and each varies per step. First different is cherries from the farmers are automatically taken to the wet processing mill for the intermittent processing (lion coffee, 2007) while sinkers and floaters are separated in the continuous processing (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Second difference is separation of fruit and bean is done through soaking the cherries in water (lion coffee, 2007) while the other process uses internal pressure (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Third difference is that fermentation is present only in continuous process (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Fourth difference is that beans are sorted according to weight (lion coffee, 2007) in the intermittent while beans are sorted based on density in the continuous process (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Fifth difference is that quality control is implemented in continuous system (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Sixth difference is that beans are bundled and brought to the roaster in the intermittent process while the beans are first classified and cupped before it is packed in the continuous process (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Seventh difference is that processing continuously is longer than the intermittent because of the fermentation stage (coffeeresearch.org, 2007); eighth difference is that beans are sun dried using the traditional method while the other uses machineries (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Ninth difference is that the beans are dried immediately after separation in the intermittent process while the beans are fermented first before it is dried in the continuous process (coffeeresearch.org, 2007). Lastly, if there are green cherries mixed up with the ripe in the intermittent process then there is a chance that it is processed for the intermittent process. However in the continuous the green cherries are separated when the cherries are pulped (coffeeresearch.org, 2007).
Kona Coffee processing can be considered as a batch production process. Batch processing is a method where a group of items move through the production process together, a stage at the same time. Looking at the process logically according to Kona-Coffee.com, coffee is processed before fermented. Fermentation takes at least 36 hours before it is roasted. Cofeeresearch.org (2007) states that the roasting is done by lot or screen.. Quality control of coffee is also done by batch. A sample of 200 to 300 grams is roasted in a sample roaster to determine the quality. A line production for the Kona Coffee is not possible because of the fermentation time and the capacity of the fermentation tanks. Once a coffee is inside the fermentation tank it cannot be pulled out from it because there is a certain number of hours that must be met.
The important factors needed in estimating the coffee production are the amount of coffee cherries handpicked by the coffee pickers, time of fermentation, moisture content of the coffee from fermentation. There are also several factors needed for the exact roasting time of the coffee .It depends on the moisture content, weight, grade and quality of the beans, desired darkness of roast, and weather conditions. The amount of coffee cherries for production depends on the weight of the coffee picked by the coffee pickers. Over fermentation is not advisable for the coffee beans because stinker beans begins to develop (coffeeresearch.org). The end process is roasting. This is where the aroma, and color of the coffee is determined.
Best Big Island Hawaiian, (2007). Hawaiian or Kona Coffee? There is a Difference! Retrieved last November 25, 2007 from http://www.best-big-island-hawaii.com/hawaiian-kona-coffee.html
Hawaiian Paradise Trading Company, (2007). The Cycle of Coffee Production. Retrieved last November 25, 2007 from http://kona–coffee.com/cyclepro.html
Lion Coffee, (2007). Tour Kona Coffee Mill. Retrieved last November 25, 2007 from http://www.lioncoffee.com/learn.shtml
Coffeeresearch.org, (2007). Coffee. Retrieved last November 25, 2007 from www.coffeeresearch.org