Tis the Season for Ka’u coffee cherry harvest and our harvest team is out in full force. The effects of Hurricane Lane brought the Big Island heavy and prolonged rains which heavily impacted the Ka’u District. As a result, the green coffee cherries quickly ripened to a deep, rich red which meant they needed to come off the trees and not a moment too soon. This urgent need for harvesting required us to bring in pickers from our Sister operation OK Farms on the Hilo side to assist with harvesting. This brought our harvest crew to a total of 22 people, but more are still arriving daily. We utilize experienced harvesters from the mainland who have had extensive experience picking coffees from all over the world. They all seem to agree on one thing, Ka’u coffee is the best!
In order to ensure the highest levels of quality for our coffee, we harvest all of our coffee by hand using a team of skilled pickers. We utilize selective harvesting, picking only the ripest, reddest cherries. Immature cherries are left on the trees for future harvesting. This type of harvesting requires multiple harvests over the same areas and is very labor intensive. Big props to our harvest team, because what they do on a daily basis is one of the most difficult jobs throughout our entire operation.
Hand harvesting raises our quality to the highest levels, not only for our customers but also to meet the demands of the specialty coffee industry. For the coffee to be complex in the cup, it is essential that the cherries have reached maturity when they are picked. We do not use mechanical harvesting primarily for its detrimental effect on quality. The resulting mixture of unripe and ripe cherries from mechanical harvesting has a huge impact on cup quality.
Harvest season begins in late Summer and continues through the Winter months and into early Spring. At the end of each day the harvest team brings in their bags of cherries to be weighed and then our mill crew begin the pulping process. It is essential that pulping of coffee cherries occurs immediately after receiving to avoid fermentation and spoilage which can have a detrimental effect on the final cup.
We take great pride and care in the processing of Ka’u coffee from seed to cup.
We truly believe that hand harvesting is a big part of the hands on process that make Ka’u coffee so unique and special throughout the world.