Saturday, June 30, 2012

Best Way to Store Coffee

Brazen Hazen ships your order the same day we roast.
Freezer, canister, glass jar, fridge? These are just some of the options facing coffee lovers when it comes to storing coffee beans. While many people extol the virtues of storing coffee in the freezer, the truth is, personal preference and timing take precedence.

With stored coffee, air and moisture are the two main culprits that impact flavor loss. An air-tight seal is essential, whether you choose a canister to store your beans, or you store them in the freezer in a zippered plastic bag.

Ideally, you should buy no more than two weeks supply of coffee at a time. Even after two weeks, freshly roasted coffee starts to lose its flavor.  It's absolutely fine to store one week's supply of beans in an air-tight container or canister at room temperature. If you've got more coffee than you'll use in a week, you can put the beans in the freezer, but make sure you protect your beans efficiently, removing all excess air. Some coffee experts recommend adding an extra two layers of plastic wrap to the freezer bag, plus a layer of aluminum foil. Don't refreeze your coffee again, as the flavor will be compromised by dehydration.

Of course the most important consideration is the roast you choose. The fresher the roast, the better the coffee. Here at Brazen Hazen, we ship your order the same day it's roasted, guaranteeing you optimum quality in flavor and freshness. Members of our Fresh Brew Club can rest easy, knowing their next bag of fresh 100-percent Kona coffee is on the way.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kona Coffee Living History Farm

If you are a coffee lover, you'll surely want to visit the Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook. This 5.5-acre vintage coffee farm recreates the daily lives of early Japanese coffee farmers who emigrated to Kona in the late 1800s.

Presented by Kona Historical Society, the farm allows visitors to step back in time to the early days of Kona, circa 1924 to 1945, when kitchens featured wood-burning stoves and dirt floors, women sewed clothes from flour sacks and donkeys carried bags of coffee cherry across the fields. Docents dressed in period costume show guests the old-fashioned way of cooking a meal using coffee twigs as kindling. The coffee-harvesting process is also showcased, featuring tours of the coffee farm and the old roasting facility.

Between 1868 and 1924, almost 150,000 Japanese immigrants came to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. They eventually started their own family farms throughout the mauka areas of Kona, including Holualoa, Kealakekua and Honaunau. Many of today's small coffee farms are still owned and operated by younger generations of these original Japanese immigrants. The living history museum honors the old ways while helping to educate about Kona's diverse history and heritage.

While in Kona, be sure to stock up with plenty of Brazen Hazen coffee to give to friends and family. Visit our website for more information.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Custom Roasting

When visiting the Big Island of Hawai‘i, you'll be faced with a daunting decision: Which brand of Kona coffee at the grocery store or at the airport should you purchase for yourself, or as a gift for friends? With so many local labels to choose from, it's hard to decide. Factor in the intangibles, such as how long has the bag been sitting on the shelf, and you just don't know what you might be getting. In fact, if you don't read the label carefully, you might end up with a 10% blend instead of the real thing.

Fresh roast, sealed and ready for delivery the same day.
Here at Brazen Hazen, we custom roast your coffee to your specifications and ship it the very same day. All of our roasting is done on site at our roasting facility in Kealakekua. We micro-custom the roast to a specific temperature that we can adjust accordingly, depending on your preference. If you have a favorite roast, let us know and we'll be sure to give you the exact roast again and again.

And if you are a member of our Fresh Brew Club, you can have your coffee delivered to your door automatically, no fuss, no shopping, no running out.  With  Brazen Hazen coffee, you're guaranteed to get the finest bag of award-winning 100% Kona coffee you've ever tasted. Guaranteed!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The French Press Method

French press coffee has more body than regular brew. To make the most of your French press, there are many things you can do to concoct the perfect batch of Brazen Hazen. And we'll show you how:

An even, course grind is essential to good grounds, so make sure your grinder is set accordingly. Your choice of water definitely affects the final outcome, so use the best filtered water you can access, as opposed to tap water that might be overly chlorinated. Here in Kailua-Kona, the county water tends to be a little on the brackish side, for example, unlike county water in other parts of the Island. Whatever your situation, water quality is of utmost importance.

The optimum temperature for water should be 200 degrees. Take the kettle off the stove just before the boiling point, right as the first small bubbles begin to rise. To make an 8-cup quantity of coffee, put a half cup of course grounds into the 8-cup beaker. Pour the 200-degree water slowly to the top, then stir the top layer to remove excess air. Let steep for exactly 2 minutes and 45 seconds before slowly pushing the plunger down. Serve right away with a little whipping cream. Brazen Hazen never tasted so good!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Holualoa—Location is Everything

Just a short drive up the hill from Kailua-Kona, the historic village of Holualoa is nestled on the slope of Hualalai Volcano on Hawai‘i's Big Island. Known as an artists' village and coffee town today, Holualoa was a central commercial center in the early 1900s. Much of Kona's population resided in the mauka (upland) areas, including in Holualoa, where lauhala weaving and agriculture played important roles in daily life.

When coffee reached the shores of Hawai‘i in the early 1800s, Holualoa was ideally positioned to become a prime growing region. Eventually, the larger coffee plantations leased their lands to Japanese and immigrant workers, who grew coffee in small quantities for local trade. Keeping coffee farming in the family extended through generations of local farmers, and also inspired newer residents from the mainland to undertake their own small coffee estates.

Coffee farms in Holualoa are among the 600 coffee farms in the Kona Coffee Belt, which stretches beyond Holualoa to areas in South Kona like Kealakekua, Captain Cook and Honaunau, and also north to Keopu Mauka, Kaloko and Makalei. With an average elevation of 1,400 feet, Holualoa offers an excellent climate for coffee trees to thrive on vast rolling countryside laden with rich, volcanic soil beneath sunny skies and plentiful rainfall.

Coffee tasting and gallery hopping are just some of the many activities available to visitors on any given day in Holualoa. During Kona Coffee Festival season, Holualoa attracts thousands of visitors to the annual Coffee & Art Stroll.

Brazen Hazen Kona Coffee is grown at our own Lako Hale farm in Holualoa. Our five-acre estate includes more than 2,500 coffee trees. We are proud to be a part of the close-knit Holualoa community, where coffee, art, neighbors and friends combine to make our small village a great place to live, work and visit.

Friday, April 6, 2012

History of Kona Coffee

Kona coffee got its start in 1828 when a traveler named Samuel Ruggels brought the first arabica coffee plants to Hawai‘i. It wasn't long before farmers realized that Kona's rich volcanic soil, varied elevations and stellar climate made the ideal location for growing some of the best coffee in the world. Even Mark Twain commented: "I think Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other."

Local coffee growers met with many ups and downs through the decades, beginning with a white scale blight in the 1850s, followed by a black fungus blight in the early 1900s. Eventually, the pests were brought under control. The first coffee mill was built in Napoopoo, near Kealakekua Bay, in 1850. Later that century, many cultures of immigrants began cultivating their own coffee farms, as larger plantations were divided into smaller plots of land averaging five acres. Pretty soon, Japanese farmers became very adept at the art of coffee growing. More than 6,000 acres of coffee was planted in the North Kona area alone. By the 1930s, coffee had become one of the most prolific products in the territory of Hawai‘i.

Today, there are more than 600 farms in the Kona Coffee Belt, many of which have been passed down through generations. Some even offer tours of their fields and mills.

Located in the upper elevations of Holualoa, Brazen Hazen boasts an excellent elevation for producing the perfect cup of brew brimming with complex flavors. Our love and appreciation for the Kona coffee traditions is what keeps us working hard to uphold the quality that's inherent in the Kona name.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting Real About Kona Coffee

If you like Kona coffee, chances are you've thought about choosing between Kona blend and 100% Kona coffee. Since blend is cheaper, why not save a few bucks and buy a bag? Here's why: That package of Kona blend you bought at the airport or gift store needs only to contain 10% Kona coffee in order to carry the Kona name. That's a far cry from Napa wine in California, for example, which must be 75% Napa.

Brazen Hazen 100% Kona coffee.
Due to lobbying interests and local politics, coffee producers in the state of Hawai‘i are allowed to use the Kona name even though their blend need only consist of 10% Kona coffee. The question is, what's in the other 90% of the bag? Well, the majority of the bag likely contains inferior beans from other countries that by law, must be fumigated with methyl bromide, a pesticide.

When you purchase a bag of 100% Kona coffee, not only are you are supporting the local Kona economy and the small farmer, you are drinking one of the premier coffees of the entire world. If you prefer your Kona coffee blended, you can always blend it yourself with beans that you trust.

At Brazen Hazen, our award-winning coffee is guaranteed 100% premier Kona coffee. We custom roast your order and send it out the same day, ensuring you the finest cup of pure Kona you'll ever have.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Which Roast Has the Most Caffeine?

If you are shopping for Kona coffee, you might wonder: what is the difference between light, medium and dark roasts, and which roast contains the most caffeine? The short answer is: the lighter the roast, the more caffeine; the darker the roast, the least caffeine. That's because the caffeine content tends to burn off slightly the longer the bean is roasted. But as you might guess, there's a lot more to the science of roasting than simple definitions.

Light coffee roasts are usually roasted under heat until the "first crack" of the bean. After the beans are roasted to the second crack, they obtain a darker and oily texture. Here at Brazen Hazen, we specialize in micro-custom roasting, which allows us to dial into a specific temperature degree beyond the generic medium and dark roasting standards. We measure the ambient air temperature as we are roasting. The first crack happens around 400 degrees.  For our medium roast, we go 50 degrees beyond the first crack.

All of our coffee is freshly roasted to order and shipped the same day. We do our roasting in a "fluid bed" roaster (as opposed to a drum roaster), in which all of the smoke is removed from the coffee as it's roasting. If you have a favorite roast, let us know and we can repeat the same roast over and over again for you. It's all about providing the best coffee experience for our customers!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jenny Kalmbach, Top Female Standup Paddler in the World

Brazen Hazen is a proud sponsor of our friend Jenny Kalmbach, a Kona resident who was voted Female Standup Paddler of the year in 2011- ’12 by the readers of SUP magazine. Among Jenny's many accomplishments include an epic, long-distance paddling excursion across the Hawaiian Island chain, highlighted by an amazing 82-mile trek between O‘ahu and Kaua‘i that took 16 consecutive hours.

Known as Destination 3 Degrees, Jenny's long-distance journey in 2010 was sponsored by Brazen Hazen. In addition to accomplishing the feat, Jenny's mission was to help raise awareness and funds to benefit Algalita Marine Research Foundation in its effort to protect the ocean from plastics contamination. The adventure was chronicled in a documentary film, which will be released on DVD in the coming months — soon to be available on and via online downloads at Destination 3 Degrees.

Jenny continues to raise awareness about the plastics crisis taking place in our oceans, noting that plastic bottles and bags photo-degrade into tiny pieces that end up in the food chain. She also wants people to know about the health concerns associated with drinking water from plastic water bottles. Jenny supports the Plastic Pollution Coalition, whose mission is to "reduce, reuse and refuse" plastic.

This week (March 9 & 10), Jenny is in Punta Sayulita, Mexico, to compete in an international standup surfing competition: the Punta Sayulita Classic. You can follow Jenny on her blog and on her Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Brazen Hazen

From the picking of the coffee cherry to the roasting of the bean, the process of producing Brazen Hazen 100% Kona Coffee is scientific and precise. Every step along the way is carefully considered, including the drying of the parchment.

The parchment stage is one of the final stages before the bean is ready to be roasted. In simple terms, coffee beans are actually the seeds of the coffee fruit, which resemble red cherries. Beneath the pulp of the fruit, the bean is surrounded by several layers of skin. The coffee cherries must be pulped and the slimy layer of mucilage removed, to get to the thin parchment layer.  Underneath the "parchment" layer, the bean is covered in an even thinner membrane, the seed coat.

Brian rakes the parchment on the drying deck.
After being soaked in water during the fermenting cycle, the wet parchment coffee must be dried to remove a percentage of moisture from the bean. At Brazen Hazen, we utilize a combination of sun drying and mechanical drying to achieve what we consider to be the ideal moisture content of just under 12 percent. We spread the parchment in rows on the drying deck, where it dries in the hot Kona sun. Every hour, we rake the rows in different directions so that water doesn't stay trapped underneath. The drying deck has actually been used as a test site by the University of Hawaii/Manoa. We analyze the deck temperature with strategically placed temperature probes. Then we transfer the parchment into the mechanical dryer, where we "finish-dry" it at 116 degrees, which is actually a lower temperature than what we get from the sun.

The parchment skin serves to insulate the bean while it is being stored in our climate-controlled facility before roasting. And that, in a nutshell, is just part of a multi-stage process to bring you some of the best coffee in all of Kona: Brazen Hazen 100% Kona Coffee.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome to Our Blog!

Here at Brazen Hazen Kona Coffee, we want to keep you updated on all the great happenings at our farm and in the Kona coffee community. Each week, we'll be blogging about topics of interest to coffee lovers. We'll take you on a farm tour, share details about the milling process, discuss techniques for roasting, and offer a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into producing our award-winning 100% Kona coffee.

We'll also introduce you to some of our favorite people, including our very own coffee experts, Brian and Amy Axelrod. From tending our farm to processing, roasting and shipping our coffee, Brian and Amy are involved in every aspect of Brazen Hazen Kona Coffee. You'll also meet Jenny Kalmbach, a champion stand-up paddler sponsored by Brazen Hazen. Named the world's female stand-up paddler of the year in 2011-12, Jenny competes internationally and here in Hawai‘i. We are proud to support Jenny in her athletic endeavors and awareness-raising campaigns about the environment.

Cassandra and Paul Hazen
On behalf of Paul and Cassandra Hazen, owners of Brazen Hazen Kona Coffee, we welcome you to our inaugural blog post and invite you to visit us again.