Take a Kona Coffee Farm Tour!

- be our guest -

A visit to the Big Island of Hawai‘i offers our customers the chance to discover the birthplace of Kona coffee. We offer a highly rated, private and exclusive Kona Coffee Farm Tour. You’ll see all facets of our organic farm, which overlooks the magnificent Kealakekua and Honaunau Bays in Honaunau, South Kona, Hawai‘i.

Learn firsthand what it takes to cultivate, process, roast, and ship our award-winning 100% Kona Coffee – while standing on one of the most beautiful spots in Hawai‘i.

Our Kona Coffee tours are by appointment only.

We are busy growing, roasting, and shipping the world’s finest 100% Organic Kona Coffee on our farm every day. Tours only happen at pre-arranged times when we can give you our undivided attention. Please fill out our contact form to schedule a tour.

Your Kona Coffee plantation tour will be small and private.

Your farm tour will be an exclusive and private event led by the owner of Pele Plantations. This is a tour of a working family farm, and not a retail showroom. You’ll get to see everything we do here, and ask all the questions you want.

We do not permit tour buses. Farm tours are usually private: one tour per group/family. If we have two groups that are interested in the same day, we will run it by you first to see if you're willing to share! We always keep the total number of guests under 10.

Our farm tours are free. We invite you to visit as our guests, learn about what we do, and taste our organic coffee. You will have the opportunity to buy some freshly roasted coffee at the end of the tour if you wish.

 

What You’ll See

As soon as you step out of your car, you’ll see our spectacular view of the Kealakekua and Honaunau Bays from an elevation of 1500 feet.

At ocean level sits the ancient Pu‘uhonua O Honaunau, a place of refuge erected in the 1500s to house prisoners behind a 15-foot wall of lava. It was easy for a commoner to violate a sacred kapu (taboo), such as getting too close to the chief. Hawaiians often chased down an offender and swiftly put him to death unless he could reach

a pu‘uhonua, or place of refuge. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could also find refuge here when in danger. 

On a clear day, you’ll see the Captain Cook Monument, an obelisk erected by the British on one-half acre, at the place where Cook discovered the islands in January 17, 1719; the same year, he was slaughtered here for being dishonest – allowing the tribe to think he was a god.

The Kona Coffee Trees

The species of coffee tree planted here is Kona Typica – coffea arabica, identical to the original trees discovered in Ethiopia around 640 AD. You will learn the difference between this specialty tree and the Robusta, grown in Brazil and Vietnam, and the Caturra trees grown on other Hawaiian islands.

Pele Plantations ripe coffee cherries

Blossoms to Cherries

Kona coffee trees bloom from January through March, in a series of ‘rounds’ of flowers at two-week intervals. Small white flowers cover the tree and are known as Kona Snow. In April, green berries begin to appear on the trees. By late August, exactly seven months later, the fruit begins to turn red and is called “cherry” because of the resemblance of the ripe berry to a cherry fruit.

Only when the cherries are completely red should they be hand-picked. Since there are several flowerings, harvesting will take place several times between August and January, seven months after each flowering. A large mature tree will produce 20-30 pounds of cherry. It takes seven pounds of cherry to make one pound of roasted coffee.

 

Pele Plantations ripe coffee cherries

Picking, Pulping, and Drying
100% Kona Coffee

As you walk through the coffee trees, depending on the season, you may see an array of colors,

ranging from green to orange to red. Sugar, called mucilage, appears only when the beans turn red. The beans inside the cherry skin, develop in different sizes (Extra Fancy, Fancy, Kona No. 1, Prime, and Peaberry) that can be sorted using screens through which only one size passes at a time.

Within a few hours of picking, the cherry is run through our Penagos Pulper, to squeeze the two seeds out of the red skin. The slippery seeds are then placed in a fermentation tank overnight, to give natural yeast the time to ferment the sugar off the surface. After rinsing, the beans are spread to dry on the deck of our traditional hoshidana (drying deck), which has a rolling roof to cover the beans in the event of rain. It takes 7–14 days to dry the beans to an optimal moisture level of 10-13%. From here, the beans are stored as pergamino, or parchment. The parchment is stored at 65 F and 65% humidity so that the beans do not lose color or become moldy.

Roasting and Tasting

The last stop on every tour is our history wall and roasting room. This is where we air roast all our coffee. If you arrive during a roast, you will be able to experience the wonderful aroma of freshly roasted coffee. There is nothing like it!

Of course, you’ll have the chance to sit and enjoy the view while sipping some of our award-winning 100% Kona coffee. It’s the perfect way to end our time together.

Feedback from years of tour guests tells us that our tour is “the highlight of their trip to the islands.” We look forward to welcoming you!