Over time, Hawaii has been given many titles. It's one of the best places in the world for snorkeling, and is home to a tiny, unique island known as Lanai which has recently become a popular destination. The tropical island is also well-known for something a little more specific, though: Kona coffee.
These coffee beans don't grow anywhere else in the world and on the Big Island, they're more than just part of a morning routine. Growing Kona coffee beans is a way of life for many farmers on the island, and touring one of their plantations is the perfect way to experience it all. These are the best coffee tours one can take on the Big Island, let alone in all of Hawaii.
5 Greenwell Farms
When it comes to the big kahuna, Greenwell Farms is known throughout Hawaii as one of the largest coffee producers in the state. As such, the farm offers tours of its facilities along with free tastings of its incredible Kona coffee. On the tour, visitors will have the chance to see a Hawaiian farm in action, as well as the coffee bean fields (85 acres in total, plus another 60 that Greenwell manages) and processing facilities. On the tour, guests will learn about the process from bean to roast, ending with the free tasting and the chance to purchase Greenwell Farms coffee for themselves.
- Tours: Daily from 9 AM to 3 PM
4 Hula Daddy
For $20 a person, a tour at the Hula Daddy coffee farm is second to none. This hour-long tour includes a private coffee tasting, during which visitors will have the chance to try coffee that's brewed right from the beans picked in the backfields. Depending on the season of the tour, guests have the chance to see red or green berries, or even Kona flowers in bloom throughout the fields. During berry season, farmers hand-pick all those that are ripe, which only increasing the appreciation for this local coffee. All tours include a trip around the orchard and a showing of the roasting room.
- Tours: Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday from 10 AM to 1 PM
3 Mountain Thunder Coffee
Mountain Thunder Coffee offers multiple options for those looking to get a hands-on experience with one of the world's best coffee beans. The plantation is open daily and offers tours every 30 minutes, detailing the growing process as well as how the coffee beans are roasted. Guests can also choose to go on the guided Nature Walk for a fee of $10 per family group, which showcases the fields, lava tubes, and observation deck on the property. The ultimate experience - RoastMaster - includes a two-hour tour with the master roaster while guests have the chance to sample and learn about the final coffee-making process.
- Tours: Currently, the plantation tour and nature walk are ongoing, while the RoastMaster experience and 4x4 tours are on hold at the time of writing
2 Mauka Meadows
The most beautiful part of visiting Mauka Meadows is seeing the natural flora and fauna that surrounds it, as this is not just a coffee plantation. Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted by native vegetation as well as tropical flowers. To reach the main building, visitors must follow the downward path that takes them through groves of fruit trees to reach the coffee tours. There, a coffee tasting will commence, complete with a free shuttle ride back to the beginning of the path.
- Tours: Currently on hold at the time of writing
1 Kona Joe Coffee Farm
Kona Joe Coffee Farm is owned by California natives who have implemented the same growing methods for grapevines in their coffee bean production. In the same way that grapes for wine are grown on trellises on the vineyard, the coffee plants at Kona Joe's have been trained to follow suit. The theory is that the berries themselves will have access to more sunlight than they would if they were left to grow at ground level, thus resulting in a slightly stronger coffee flavor. It's tough to argue with award-winning coffee, and the farm offers four different tours to contend with: a self-guided free tour, a guided walking tour that includes a coffee and chocolate tasting plus a free gift, The Coffee Roasting Experience which includes a lesson in coffee roasting, the Combined Tour which includes the standard grounds tour plus a roasting experience, and the Ultimate Tour which will have guests leaving with a whopping five pounds of personally-roasted coffee beans.
- Tours: Call ahead to schedule and reserve a spot on any one of the four tours offered