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.