My Visit to Sunshower Coffee Farm in Kona Hawaii

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.

PURCHASE

Sunshower Dawn Roast

Our lightest and most caffeinated roast. This is a deliciously smooth roast that will start your morning off right.

PURCHASE

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.

PURCHASE

 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.

PURCHASE
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.

PURCHASE
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.

Purchase here



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!

  1. Have you ever visited a coffee farm?
  2. 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!

Follow them on INSTAGRAM!!!:) CLICK HERE. 

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Comments

  • Hilary

    This sounds awesome! I couldn’t help but send it to my fiancé and say please let’s do this one day!

    Reply to Hilary
  • Lisette

    Your pictures are gorgeous! If I ever get to visit Hawaii I will definitely do a tour! My father actually bought a coffee farm in Honduras. His cousins run it and manage it for him so I guess he’s just the financial backer. LOL He also bought it without checking with my mom. Her face…was priceless. I wish I had a picture!

    Reply to Lisette
  • Monique

    Great pictures! I love a good coffee – I’ve been to a lot of wineries and done wine tastings… I’ve never considered coffee tasting!

    I would become a full time traveler. I love seeing the world.

    Out of curiosity, do you have (or have you considered) the use of a reusable coffee mug? Coffee takeaway cups are usually not recyclable. My fav brand is Keep Cup – an Aussie one of course 😉 http://www.keepcup.com.au

    Reply to Monique
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks, Monique!

      Totally do a coffee tasting!:)

      That would be a fun job 🙂

      Wow! Those are amazing cups. I may have to get myself some! I wonder if coffee shops would be able to use them though out of sanitation code?

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    So I saw your insta post about this blog post and how you promised we’d be craving coffee after reading… girl you are SO right! I was craving coffee so bad after looking at all of these pictures. Such an inspiring story! Looks like you had a blast.

    -Katie
    http:.//www.meshkomoments.com

    Reply to Katie
  • Lisa

    What a cool tour! Never even thought of a coffee farm tour! I will need to check into this. Love love love the picture of the rainbow eucalyptus tree! Who knew? fascinating

    Reply to Lisa
  • Emma

    What a cool trip! You do fun things. I would want to be a dancer!

    Reply to Emma
  • Susie @ Mile High Dreamers

    I loved everything about this post! What total badasses are they?! Hearing about people ditching corporate to follow their dreams makes my heart sing. And their DOGS!! Oh my goodness. That face haha I would’ve played all day. The coffee just looks incredible, I’m sure it tasted even better.

    We’ve never visited a coffee farm but Ben is a coffee fanatic, so he’d be all over that!

    If I could quit my job and do ANYTHING… aside from travel… I would have a HUGE farm and rescue as many animals as I could and have them all on my amazing animal farm :). Hey, you said anything! That would be my heaven!

    Reply to Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    • Taralynn McNitt

      They really are!

      HAHA THEIR DOGS WERE ADORABLE & had the best personalities!

      You should totally check the farm out! Awwwwwww that would be the best job ever!!!!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lee

    These pics are so beautiful! May ask what camera you have? Or was it an i-phone? I have been to a coffee farm in Peru–it was one of the best experiences of my life! When I quit my day job I will be a professional actress and do voice-over. Can’t wait!

    Reply to Lee
  • Stacy

    What a great post! I’ve been looking into buying my own coffee grinder myself. Which one did you purchase, and did you research different brands before you made a decision. Love your blog!

    Reply to Stacy
  • Natalia

    Gorgeous photos!

    Love all the inspiration in the post!

    Reply to Natalia
  • Katy

    Your photography was gorgeous in this post. Kate & Doug seem like great people.

    I would love to quit my teaching job and become a gardener!

    Reply to Katy
    • Linda @ the Fitty

      What subject in grade do you teach? I’m hoping to become a Drama teacher but I’m not too sure whether or not I should teach high school or Elementary School. If you like gardening a lot, have you ever thought about getting to Landscaping? You could earn quite a lot for that business!

      Reply to Linda @ the Fitty
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is awesome! Could you do some gardening on the side now? Or do you already do that for fun?

      & THANK YOU SO MUCH!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Harriet

    Wow sunshower farms looks amazing!! Definitely want to visit a coffee farm someday soon.
    If I could leave my job and become something else, I would be a traveling free lance photographer with a blog. travel and photography just go so well together, I read national geographic just to look at all the amazing photos from around the world. What would you do/become if you were not blogging??

    Reply to Harriet
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Harriet!

      If you get the chance, totally do it!

      Wow that would be amazing! 🙂

      Hmmmm…I’d either own a coffee/healthy cafe or become a teacher!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anonymous

    I just had to comment on their pups. They are the cutest and those photos are great.

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jenn

    I’ve never been to a coffee farm! To e honest, I put so much sweetener and cream in my coffee that I can’t tell much of a difference in flavors. I know, it’s awful :-/

    If I could do anything, I would open a bakery. I love to bake (cookies, cakes, brownies) for other people, and it’d be amazing to do it all the time. Kate and Doug are super inspiring to go out, take a chance, and live their dreams like they did!

    Reply to Jenn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      They’re pretty fun!

      I used to add a ton of sweeteners, but I started added less and less and now I can’t stand anything flavored or sweet in my coffee!

      Yessss that would be so fun!!

      THEY REALLY ARE!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jessica

    What an inspiring story! I’d love to do something like that one day.

    I am a teacher and I’d love to travel and work at a coffee shop!

    Reply to Jessica
  • marti @fitwithheart

    wow – what an awesome experience! I too am a coffee lover too and i LOVE me a dark roast! how cool to experience the work that it takes behind making it and gives you a whole other appreciating for it!!! i’m definitely checking out their website – how fun to support a business like this and kudos to them for dreaming big and going for it!

    Reply to marti @fitwithheart
    • Taralynn McNitt

      It definitely was!

      It no doubt gives you extra appreciation!!!

      I highly recommend trying out their kale ki Maka blend if you love a dark roast!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Amani P.

    1. Nope but I would love to! Currently about to head out to my favorite local coffee spot.
    2. If I could do anything, I think I would open a sandwich shop and just make sandwiches all day!

    Reply to Amani P.
  • Zane

    Great photos and great blog!

    Reply to Zane
  • Susan

    I need to try their coffee! How fun? If I could quit my job, I’d probably become a stay at home mom. I miss my kiddos!

    Reply to Susan
  • Hannah

    Hawaii is so beautiful! Coffee in Hawaii is even better!

    Reply to Hannah
  • Anonymous

    Now I want coffee…

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Carrie this fit chick

    Wow, I’m so jealous of all of your travels! I’m a huge coffee nerd, so this is a place I would love to visit!

    Reply to Carrie this fit chick
  • Sara @ Oats & Rows

    OKAY could their story be any more perfect? I’d love to move to Hawaii and start a coffee biz. A client just brought me back some coffee from Cuba and it’s pretty great! My dad and I absolutely love Kona coffee – I’ll have to use that code to send him some 🙂

    Reply to Sara @ Oats & Rows
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Seriously, girl! Coffee from Cuba?!?! I’m so intrigued! Yessss send him some! But I thought I was drinking Kona coffee all this time, but apparently only 10% because of the blend rule. CRAZY!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Stacie

    I had the pleasure of doing coffee cupping in Nicaragua at a plantation. I couldn’t tell the difference between them! My coworker was correctly guessing all the flavors he tasted and I was so in the dark. It’s fun and unique, though! Great experience.

    Reply to Stacie
  • Vanessa

    Super interesting to read, I like this post! 🙂

    If I could be anything I wanted without constrains, I’d still want to be the same as I am working towards now: a climate change researcher. But I’d want to work just as I feel, with less hours and mostly doing the fun stuff like going on excursions to gather data. Too bad thats not how reality works 😀

    Reply to Vanessa
  • Juliette | Namastay Traveling

    Wow, I love reading their story! What a beautiful setting, I could imagine eloping there..and drinking all the coffee! Heaven. The farm to table events would probably be my favorite part too. Looks like a beautiful trip!

    Reply to Juliette | Namastay Traveling
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Such a dream spot! Coffee and eloping? That doesn’t sound bad! Yes, the setting was so gorgeous and I loved browsing her event photos! She’s very talented.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Ashton Jury

    This is so awesome! I used to work for Starbucks and we used to do tastings and such, and you can proceed to become a coffee master but I bet walking the farms in Kona and seeing the plants and just doing the tastings on that farm was out of this world! This is definitely on my bucket list now, I’ve done the roasting room in Seattle but there farm is gorgeous!

    Reply to Ashton Jury
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thanks!

      It’s cool that they had you guys do cupping! I don’t understand how people can work at a coffee shop and hate coffee! I bet Seattle is a fun place to do coffee tasting!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    I love your photos – the coffee farm looks like an awesome place for any coffee lover! If I could leave my job, I’d still write my blog and write a novel too with the extra amount of time. Ah, if only money grew on trees hahaha.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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