My boyfriend doesn’t have any social media, but he does enjoy spending time reading articles on Reddit. Kyle came across an article that read “I am A Kona Coffee Farmer. I used to be a lawyer until I quit and bought a Coffee Farm – AMA!” He was fascinated because he knew how much I loved coffee and that I was heading off to Kona Hawaii. He suggested that I reach out to the owners (Kate & Doug) and visit the farm to see what it’s all about! I decided to give it a shot and message Kate on Instagram, she replied within seconds, we set a date, and bam! It was planned. I was so excited 🙂
I know a lot of facts about coffee. I know that I like it dark. I know that I like a tablespoon of light cream in my coffee (and for some weird reason, the cream has to go in first.) I know that I won’t drink it from a gas station. I know that I won’t drink it if it was brewed over thirty minutes ago, and I know that I absolutely need it to function during the day. So, yes. I know a lot of selfish facts about coffee.
Luckily, I learned a lot about coffee (that doesnt involve myself), and I can’t wait to share them with you! I also took an exsessive amount of photos, so I hope you enjoy all the eye candy!
Imagine being a successful lawyer in Chicago, married to a proprietary futures trader (yeah, I had to google that), but then decided just to quit, move to Hawaii, and buy a coffee farm…
Not only is that incredibly scary and daring, but extremely inspiring. Sometimes crazy ideas or dreams can come true if you just do it.
Kate and Doug bought their coffee farm (Sunshower Coffee Farm) February 2013 and planted an 8-acre coffee orchard. They’ve been farming for four years. You’d think that they were secretly coffee geniuses and knew everything about growing coffee before buying the farm, but nope! They spent years working with a consultant, a local farmer who has a horticulture Ph.D. from UH in coffee specifically to help install the orchard. He taught them to maintain it, and since then, the couple has been running the farm together. Luckily, it is possible to nurse an orchard crop back to health, so that leaves a lot of room for trial and error mistakes. I was shocked to learn that some of the orchards there were 70+ years old and still growing strong, even after some disasters like floods and unwelcomed beatles.
Their typica (work) week is spent running the business, marketing, irrigating, doing weed control and prevention, spraying for pests (Coffee Borer Beetles), pruning the trees, mowing in between rows, fertilizing, and harvesting during harvest season. They also spend time growing their own crops for eating and raising farm animals for milk and meat. It’s all pretty fascinating!
One of my favorite parts of their business, that surprisingly has nothing to do with coffee, is the farm to table events they hold. The property is breathtaking, and perfect for special events. Here are some photos from their website so you can see why I’m so obsessed! How perfect would this be for a wedding or celebration? This reminds me of some of the set-ups from previous press trips. And yes, that is the ocean!
When I arrived at the farm, Doug took me and another couple on a tour of their farm. I loved learning about the crops! It takes so much to make coffee. You don’t just pick a bean off a tree…it’s so much more than that! These coffee plants are Arabica. The cherries are rounded and take about 8-9 months to mature!
I was REALLY excited for the coffee tasting. If you’re wondering if touring Sunshower Coffee Farm is possible, it is! If you are planning a trip to Kona, please visit their farm! You can get more information on their website. Just click here.
And if you don’t like coffee, visit for the dogs. If you don’t like dogs, I hope you like goats. If you don’t like goats, I don’t trust you. They have the most adorable dogs! I couldn’t stop taking photos of them. 🙂 This is Bells, the boxer! Her personality is written all over her face.
This is Bruce! He’s seriously the sweetest and most friendliest dog ever. And he is so precious.
After the tour of the farm, we headed to the back patio for a fun cupping (tasting) experience! This was so much fun! We learned how to properly do “cupping” and followed the strict protocols to judge the taste and aroma of the coffee properly. We did it like the pros 😉 We tasted five of the different coffees from their farm! They vary by roast profile, grade of coffee and process type (natural vs. washed processed).
STEP ONE: Fragrance/Aroma
STEP TWO: Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, and Balance
STEP THREE: Sweetness, Uniformity, and Cleanliness
STEP FOUR: Scoring
Why did I leave there promising myself to never buy ground coffee again? Because ground coffee is made from defaulted beans. By grinding them, you can’t see the cracks or issues with them. I immediately bought a grinder when I got home! Defaulted beans usually go into face scrubs or other coffee products.
Also *pro tip* if you want to try Kona coffee, pay attention to the label! A lot of coffee bags that say “KONA COFFEE” are most likely blends made from only 10% of Kona coffee beans. If you want Kona coffee, you will be paying more, but look for 100% Kona Coffee on the bag! Don’t cheat yourself out of good coffee.
Orange Cup: DUSK
Red Cup: DAWN
Dark Blue Cup: NATURAL
Teal Cup: PEABERRY
Blue Marble Cup: MIDNIGHT
Sunshower Dusk Roast
Dusk is our medium roast. It is actually not just one roast but a blend of a lighter medium and a darker medium roast. This blend gives it a rich complexity and smooth finish.
Sunshower Dawn Roast
Our lightest and most caffeinated roast. This is a deliciously smooth roast that will start your morning off right.
Sunshower Ānuenue Blend
Ānuenue, meaning rainbow in Hawaiian, is our signature blend. It is a blend of three roasts ranging from light to medium which gives it a perfect balance of bitterness, acidity and fullness. This coffee is incredibly nuanced without being bitter and is by far our favorite.
Sunshower Midnight Roast
Our darkest and toastiest roast. This is for those who love their coffee malty with a low acidity. It also has a great body and fullness.
I wanted to share my favorite blend that I’ve been drinking this past month!
Sunshower Kalikimaka Blend
Kalikimaka, meaning Christmas in Hawaiian, is our Christmas Blend. This blend is a mix of our medium dark and dark roasts. It is the perfect coffee for cuddling up with a good book and its caramel notes go great with liqueurs like Baileys.
I had to stop and brag for a second about this giant coffee table. As if being a coffee farmer, and lawyer isn’t cool enough, she built this. Girl power.
Lil Kim & Ke$ha! Not kidding. How fun are those goat names.
Rainbow eucalyptus trees! They are so beautiful, but you can’t burn the fallen branches because they are apparently toxic.
So yes, green coffee is a thing.
Sunshower Green Coffee
Green coffee is coffee that has not been roasted. This green is estate grade and higher! Until next year, we mix all of our fancy, extra fancy, estate and peaberry together.
You don’t want to buy this if you do not have a roaster.
If you plan on purchases any of the coffee (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMEND) you can use code TARALYNN for 15% off your entire order! 🙂
I had such a wonderful time & thank you so much, Dough & Kate, for having me!
Questions for you!
- Have you ever visited a coffee farm?
- If you could leave your job and become something else (all money aside/life situations) what would you do?
If you have any questions for Kate & Doug, feel free to reach out to them on their social media channels!