Caffeine Craving Satisfied
Holualoa Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
Next up, we headed to the Big Island, home of the only American-grown coffee crop. I know, I know, everyone else thinks of pineapples and coconuts; but ever an addict, it's the java that draws me to this island, believe it or not. And apparently I'm not the only one: A number of my fellow bloggers have posted entries on the topic of java-tourism lately, including the folks from Indie Bookstores and The Knife.
Yep, it's true -- you can actually plan your vacation around coffee-growing and consumption, which is exactly what I did. There's a cluster of coffee plantations in Holualoa, and a number of hotels there that will put you up close and personal with the coffee growers. I stayed at the KonaLani Inn, which is actually on a coffee plantation. Some of the clothes I took on that trip still smell of coffee!! Come to think of it, maybe I should wash them. Hm.
But seriously, the process of coffee growing is fascinating. I grew up on a cotton farm in the south, so I thought I knew all about what's involved in producing and harvesting a crop. But with coffee growing it's different: Did you know that coffee is frequently "intercropped" with rice? Or that the coffee berries are actually picked by hand? It's true. I have a theory that the plantation management gets their workers all jazzed up on coffee before they set out in the fields, because the ones I saw in action were going at it like there was no tomorrow. My friend and I cracked up when we saw them -- they literally looked like someone had hit the 'fast-forward' button on the DVD-player. What, me? Too much coffee?! Never!!
The biggest game in town is the Kona Coffee Company, and they do an excellent tour. What's more, they're tending towards the organic side of life, having eliminated the use of herbicides and pesticides in their products. Long live the organic and sustainable movement!
There's more to the Big Island than just coffee, like golf -- which is what I turned to when my caffeine buzz abated and my travel companion threatened to send me to Betty Ford for coffee rehab. On to my misadventures as a golfer next time . . .