One of the best reasons to enjoy a cup at Waimea Coffee Company? The opportunity to taste local, 100 percent, pure Kona coffee.
The Sakamoto roasts are just an example, with aromas and profiles for the pickiest of bean savants or casual Sunday one-cuppers.
The hillsides of west Hawaii run rich with history in the coffee bean business. Though coffee is grown on most of the Hawaiian Islands, Kona has a perfect blend of soil and atmospheric conditions for the Coffea arabica plant. For that reason, the Kona name has become a sought-after branding device, with many companies using Kona beans in a blend. (Legally, any mixture with at least 10 percent of Kona beans must be labeled a Kona blend). A cup of 100 percent pure Kona, then, can become a tiny treasure.
The Sakamoto label is “prestigious,” says Waimea Coffee Company owner Mikey Mejia. He adds that, outside of ordering directly from the farm's propietor, Eddie Sakamoto: “We’re the only one who sells it by the bag…Anywhere.”
Handy labeling on the bag of the Sakamoto Plantation Pride medium-dark roast lets Waimea Coffee Company customers know they can expect flavors of chocolate, honey, and caramel, with a low acidity.
“First taste … I would definitely drink that. Not bitter,” says shop regular Padr Padrson, 48, who splits his time between Waimea and Mendocino, Calif. Mostly an espresso orderer, he adds: “I thought of the woods on the first taste. … This is good. I would get it.”
The Sakamoto Aged Peaberry, meanwhile, is notable for the process it takes to get to the cup. Peaberries are the result of the coffee cherry producing a single, round bean rather than the more frequently occurring pair of flat beans (peaberries pop up at about a 5 percent rate).
Because peaberries are more acidic than their flatter counterparts, Eddie Sakamoto has aged some of the beans for more than two decades to achieve the perfect taste. The result is a medium to dark roast, low in acidity, with dark chocolate, honey, and oak flavors.
“I love how smooth it is. When people ask me about it, I tell them how it’s aged, a unique process,” says Chase Silva, 19, who has worked at the Waimea Coffee Company for two years. “It’s rich. You definitely taste that oaky flavor,” before he adds, with a smile, “if trees could brew coffee, that’s what it would taste like.”
The Sakamoto Plantation Pride sells for $30 for a half pound and the Aged Peaberry sells for $50 for a half pound and can be bought by the bag at the Waimea Coffee Company or online.
Written By: Timothy Scott | Photos By: Kathrine Kauhane