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Hotel Survival Kit

We checked into a boutique hotel recently that advertised a French press coffee in each room. When we got to the room there was a French press, a hot pot and a sealed jar of ground coffee. We tried the coffee and knew instantly where it came from. It was burned and over-roasted. It was probably good that it was over-roasted because the next day we saw the maid topping off each jar from an open … [Read more...]

Before You Buy Gourmet Coffee – Read the Label

All gourmet coffees are not alike. There are amazing, good, average, poor and bad coffee beans that are sold as specialty gourmet coffee. If you are seeking great coffee beans you can rely on expert evaluations, like Coffee Review, but if there is no published evaluation there are some things you should consider:  Origin Marketing slogans like “Breakfast Delight" don’t mean anything. Coffee … [Read more...]

Processing Changes Coffee Flavor

Processing coffee from the ripe fruit to a roastable bean is a complex process. One mistake and the coffee is ruined. Coffee farmers and millers have choices to make about how to process their beans. The same bean processed using different methods will taste differently. Picking the method that brings out the best flavors of the bean is an art. Wet Process In the fruit the coffee bean is … [Read more...]

Coffee Tasting is Unique

Coffee is the only beverage that is not evaluated in the same way that it is drunk. Wine connoisseurs pour wine into a wine glass, smell it, swirl it, slurp it and drink it (or spit it out). Beer and liquor evaluators do the same. But not coffee. Coffee has its own special protocol that is used all over the world. Coffee evaluation is called "cupping." You can cup coffee just like the pros. You … [Read more...]

Acid in Your Coffee Cup!

A frequent question that we get is" How much acid does this coffee have?" The answer is that a cup of a typical gourmet coffee has slightly more acid than a glass of milk and less acid than a cup of tea. Consumers equate acid with bad coffee. However, acid free coffee is flat and flavorless. It is the acid that refreshes the palate and creates the good coffee flavors in your mouth. The word … [Read more...]

Coffee is Dangerous!

Coffee houses have not always been places with patrons hunched over electronic screens doing work or playing games or sending messages to people across the room. Coffee houses used to be a place where citizens gathered to discuss and argue about current events. Often the discussion was about the government. Naturally, some kings and emperors didn't appreciate criticism of their laws and morals and … [Read more...]

Changing Coffee? Recalibrate!

Periodically we get phone calls from customers who say that our coffee tastes bad. We don’t get a lot of calls but we are our coffee so we take complaints seriously. L Since Laura, our roaster,  cups every roast and we brew, taste and serve every roast, we wonder how we could have let a bad roast get out the door. If we get more than one complaint on a roast it has to be our fault but if only … [Read more...]

Use a Siphon for Holiday Coffee

When I was a child there were no McDonalds when you traveled. (OK!  There was one in San Bernadino, California) So if you wanted to stop for food you had to find a roadside diner. I liked diners because I could watch the waitress make coffee in a siphon carafe.  First, she put a glass pot on a burner with water in it and then she sealed another glass pot with ground coffee on top of that. After … [Read more...]

Who Put the Chaff in My Coffee?

  Periodically we get phone calls from customers asking us about the brown Chaff in Ground Coffee flakes in our light and medium roasted coffees. We tell them it is coffee chaff and it is natural in all ground coffees. We think they believe us but we wonder. Nature goes to great extremes to protect coffee beans. There are five protective layers between the … [Read more...]

Rating the Coffee Raters

As gourmet coffee has become more popular, consumers are looking for better and different coffees to drink. While the best way to find a new coffee is buying and tasting new offerings, you have to drink a lot of frog coffees to find a true prince. Just like for beer and wine, reviews are a guide for coffee drinkers to coffees that they may like. All food and beverage taste ratings are … [Read more...]

Beer and Wine are Fermented – So is Coffee!

After coffee fruit is picked, the farmer has to make decisions about how the coffee is processed. Coffee processing theory is filled with myth, ignorance and some science. Everyone has an opinion but there are few facts. With little scientific fact available, farmers are on their own. Coffee fruit processing tends to be regional and traditional, handed down from one farmer generation to the … [Read more...]

Your Coffee Smells!

Coffee has more aromas than wine. It is estimated that there are over 800 distinct aromas which may appear in coffee, while wines have only an estimated 400 aromas. When coffee geeks say that they can taste a flavor, they are wrong. The tongue can only detect four flavors; sweet, sour, bitter and salty*. It is your nose that detects the aromas. When your nose detects an aroma, your brain … [Read more...]

Grind Your Coffee Beans Frozen.

Brewing extracts the flavor from coffee grounds. The smaller the grounds the faster the extraction. If coffee grounds are not uniform then brewing will over-extract the smaller grounds resulting in bitter tastes in the cup. At the same time extra-large grounds will under extract creating sour tastes in the cup. Over and under extraction do not cancel each other out. Instead the cup will have both … [Read more...]

Your Coffee Brewer is Moldy!

We recently received a phone call from a customer that a coffee we sent him tasted sour. Since I cupped the roast we sent to him and have brewed and drank that coffee, it didn’t seem right. I asked how he brewed the coffee and he said they used an automatic coffee brewer. I took a deep breath and wondered what to say. I hate it when I call for service and the customer service rep says the problem … [Read more...]

Decaf Kona ?

We recently received a bad review from a guest who was angry because we do not sell decaffeinated coffee. He didn’t talk to us about it, just walked out and later gave us a bad review. If he had talked to us, we would have told him we don’t decaffeinate our coffees because it degrades the flavor. We work hard to create a world class coffee and it doesn’t make sense to dumb it down through the … [Read more...]

“100% Kona” is Yesterday’s Slogan

When we drive in Kona we see bumper stickers saying “100% Kona.”  The same slogan appears in advertisements and on websites. It is part of an advertising campaign by Kona Coffee trade associations to alert consumers to questionable blends of Kona coffee. We understand the motivation for the slogan. Coffee farmers and producers are angry because roasters and distributors are trading on the Kona … [Read more...]

The Search for the Perfect Cup – Pointu Laurina

HULA DADDY - KONA BOURBON POINTU LAURINA April 17, 2016 Coffee Origin: Hawai’i, Kona Coffee Species Arabica Coffee Varietal Bourbon Pointu Laurina Coffee Elevation 2,500 Ft Coffee Farm/ Producers Hula Daddy Coffee Roasting Date, Roaster Laura Ross - 3/28/2016 Coffee Processing _________________________ The beans have the fragrance of bakers chocolate, bergamot, … [Read more...]

Flavored Coffee – Not!

At Hula Daddy we are often asked if we sell flavored coffees. When we say “No,” we often get the response “You should sell them.” We then have to say that there are three reasons we do not sell flavored coffee 1) it downgrades the quality of our beans, 2) flavoring syrups contain Propylene Glycol (antifreeze) and 3) when flavoring syrups are heated they give off Diacetyl, a chemical linked to a … [Read more...]

How to Make Better Tasting Coffee

Here are eight suggestions that can improve the taste of your coffee: Coffee You can not make good coffee from bad beans. Beans that were picked more than a year ago, or beans that were roasted months ago will not make good coffee. Supermarket coffee has a 9 month expiration date. it won't taste bad but it will taste dull and flat. Make sure that the coffee you brew was picked this year … [Read more...]

100% Kona Bourbon Pointu Laurina

94 Hula Daddy 100% Kona Bourbon Pointu Laurina Location: Holulaloa, Hawaii Origin: Holualoa, North Kona growing district, “Big Island” of Hawaii Roast: Medium-Light Est. Price: $34.95/8 ounces Review Date: February 2016 Agtron: 56/78 Aroma: 9 Acidity: 9 Body: 9 Flavor: 9 Aftertaste: 8 Blind Assessment: Deeply rich, subtly complex. Honey, prickly pear … [Read more...]

Coffee Scooping

Hula Daddy Coffee Scoop When my grandmother made coffee, she used the scoop that came with the 5 lb. Hills Bros can and did what Hills Bros told her to do. She used one scoop for each mark on the side of her percolator. She didn't weigh the coffee, she didn't weigh the water, she didn't know what the water to solids ratio was. She did what she was told. It worked for her, my … [Read more...]

My Coffee Pot Lied

  We used to wonder why when we poured out a 12 cup coffee maker carafe that we never got 12 cups of coffee. We get the same question from our Hula Daddy farm visitors.  We now know the answer. On every automatic coffee maker the manufacturer puts measuring marks for the number of cups. If you buy a french press, Clever, siphon, Cafe Solo etc. the box says how many cups it … [Read more...]

Peaberry Coffee – Great or Blah?

Peaberry Coffee - Great or Blah?   One of the coffees we offer at Hula Daddy is peaberry. We only harvest a limited amount, so we don't always have it available. There are peaberry people and non-peaberry people. Peaberry people are passionate about peaberry coffee. They claim that the beans are sweeter and more flavorful. We have had peaberry people get angry when we told them we … [Read more...]

Grinding Coffee for a Great Cup

My grandmother used to get up at 4 am, take down a five pound can of Hills Brothers ground coffee and start the percolator. She didn’t worry about grind size because the can told her this was the perfect grind for percolators. It must have been the right grind because the coffee kept my grandfather going all day long. Visitors to the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee farm often ask us what grind to use … [Read more...]

How Hula Daddy Produces Karen J Red Bourbon

In 2010, we planted an arabica coffee variety called Red Bourbon on our Waiono Farm at 2200 ft ASL We planted from seed that we picked ourselves. It took one year in the nursery and three years in the ground to create a commercial crop. Today, it is one of our most popular coffees. In 2014, Karen J won the Kona Coffee Festival Cupping Competition as the best Kona Coffee. In 2015, it won the Hawaii … [Read more...]

How to Make a French Press Coffee

The French Press is the ultimate in gourmet coffee brewing. Brewing a great cup of coffee with a French Press isn't hard. It just requires the right equipment and a little effort. The major benefit of a French Press is the total immersion of the grounds. If you do it right, all of the coffee grounds are totally surrounded by water. Compare that to the standard Mr. Coffee style brewer where the … [Read more...]

Are You Drinking Coffee Picked by Children

A recent report by the U.S Department of Labor states that child labor is a major component of foreign coffee imported into the United States. Coffee farmers in many foreign countries are paid so little that they have to put their children to work to survive. A typical Central American farm child will go to school through the first or second grade and then be pulled out for farm work. The … [Read more...]

Why You Can’t Get a Great Cup of Coffee at a Restaurant

We recently went to an upscale restaurant and noticed a Kona Coffee on the menu from a farm we admired. We ordered a french press of the coffee for $14.00. We could watch the waitress through a glass wall brewing the coffee. She put pre-ground coffee into a french press and then poured in heated tap water. She then immediately pushed the plunger down and brought it to our table. We asked her about … [Read more...]

How Hot is Your Coffeemaker?

  My grandmother, every morning, used to open a can of Hills Brothers coffee, put the ground coffee in a percolator and place the percolator on top of a wood stove. After the coffee had finished “perking” she pulled it off the stove and served it. My grandfather loved it; it was hot, black and gave him a jolt to start his day. She then put the percolator back on the stove and let it boil … [Read more...]

Coffee Cupping Competitions – Real or Random Chance?

There are coffee cupping competitions all over the world ranging from the rigorous to the ridiculous.  Placing well in the competitions has a major effect on coffee farm profitability. However, there are serious questions which should be addressed about all of these competitions. How accurate are the scores?  What criteria are being used? How effective is a judge's palate when she has to taste … [Read more...]

The Five Pillars of Coffee

If you want an outstanding cup of coffee you need to pay attention to five critical elements: beans, grind, water, temperature  and extraction time. Failure of any one of these elements is fatal to great coffee. Beans You cannot make a good cup of coffee with bad beans. Not all coffee beans are the same. There are dozens of varieties of arabica coffee, each one of them has it own flavor … [Read more...]

Things to Know Before You Buy Gourmet Kona Coffee

All Kona coffees are not alike. Saying that all Kona coffees are the same is like saying all wine from Napa is the same. There are bad, average, good, and extraordinary wines in Napa. The same holds true for Kona coffee. … [Read more...]

Freezing Coffee Beans Keeps them Fresh

Recently articles quoting two respected coffee professionals stated that roasted coffee beans should not be frozen because the water trapped inside the bean will freeze, expand and crack the bean. Starbucks Expert: How to Brew Coffee, Avoid Common Mistakes (quoting Major Cohen); Don't Freeze Coffee, and Five Other Tips for Treating Beans (quoting Sherri … [Read more...]

Throw Out Your Coffee Grinder

Brewing coffee is all about extraction of the flavors from the bean. However, there are good flavors and bad flavors in a coffee bean. If you over-extract coffee, it will taste acidic and bitter. If you under-extract, the coffee will be weak and sour. If the grounds are uneven some of the grounds will over-extract and some will under-extract. Acidic, bitter and sour flavors do not cancel each … [Read more...]

The Origin of Coffee

There are a lot of stories about how humans first discovered coffee. All of the stories are  apocryphal no one really knows when coffee drinking started. However, that doesn't make the stories less entertaining. Our favorite story is a variation of the dancing goats story. Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a land we now call Ethiopia, there was a goatherd named Kalidi. Every day he took his … [Read more...]

Breaking the Dark Roast Paradigm

For years, specialty coffee has been stuck in the dark roast paradigm - roast coffee beans until they are dark and oily, brew the coffee and then add sugar and cream to kill the taste. Even better add sugar, cream, flavoring, give it a fancy Italian name and sell it for $6.00. Fortunately, coffee roasters are learning that while you can sell over roasted coffee to all of the customers some of the … [Read more...]

The Perfect Coffee Pot

The best way to brew gourmet coffee is still by hand in a french press, siphon or a pour over. However, automated coffee brewing methods are getting better. The perfect automated coffee brewer besides brewing a fantastic cup of coffee should be fast, convenient, easy to clean, always brew at 200 degrees F and provide a four minute extraction. So far no coffee pot meets all of those criteria. If … [Read more...]

Coffee Fraud

  Recently, a farmer in Napa was caught labeling Lake county wine as Napa, selling inferior wine as Cabernet and stealing grapes from other growers. He has been arrested and probably will go to prison. Could the same thing happen with coffee? Of course, the answer is "Yes." Any place there is money, there are people willing to cheat to get it. Fraudulent coffee occurs … [Read more...]

Match Your Coffee Grind to the Filter

  There are a number of different ways to filter coffee. Some of the more common types of filters are paper, metal, cloth, plastic and glass. Some filters are very porous while others - even of the same material - are very fine. Whatever type of filter you use, you should match your bean grind to that filter, Failure to use the right size grind can result in a clogged filter or a lot … [Read more...]

Are You Drinking GMO Coffee?

Genetically Modified (GM) food is a hot topic today. Proponents laud GM foods as a way to combat food shortage, drought and plant diseases. Anti-GM groups attack GM foods as frankenfood (as in Frankenstein*). They argue that you cannot mess with Mother Nature and that changing the DNA of plants can cause human … [Read more...]

“What Color is Your Coffee Roast” by Karen Paterson

Visitors to the Hula Daddy Kona Coffee plantation ask us do we have dark roast, medium roast, or light roast. The answer in each case is “It depends on what you mean by dark, medium or light roast.” There is no standard definition for coffee roasts. One roaster's french roast is another roaster's medium roast. In most cases, the roast name on the package is the marketing name that the roaster … [Read more...]

Sweet Coffee by Karen Paterson

Most of the coffee sold and served in the world is bitter and sour. Yet, red ripe coffee beans contain natural sugars and have a sweet taste. Not the sweetness of a candy bar or a soft drink but the subtle sweetness of a ripe fruit. At the Hula Daddy plantation we let visitors pick red ripe beans and taste them. They always expect an acidic bitter taste, they are surprised when they find the fruit … [Read more...]

“Throw Out Your Drip Coffee Brewer!” by Karen Paterson

Manual pour over coffee is hot.  Coffee shops all over the United States are offering manual pour over cups of coffee starting at $5.00 a cup. A well done pour over coffee is significantly better than a cup of automatic drip brewed coffee. The difference is that the coffee is pulsed into the brew basket slowly to extend the extraction time. You can make a manual pour over yourself but you have to … [Read more...]

“Roasters Getting Rich Selling Buggy Coffee” by Karen Paterson

Some Kona Coffee mills are buying buggy beans from farmers at roadside platforms, dark roasting the coffee, grinding it and selling it in local big box stores. Customers who buy the coffee are looking for Kona coffee at the cheapest price. The customers are getting exactly what they pay for - cheap, bad tasting coffee. Meanwhile, the bug coffee mills are getting rich by destroying the reputation … [Read more...]

“The Mystery of Kona Coffee Rings!” by Karen Paterson

We noticed at Hula Daddy Kona Coffee that coffee cups leave a ring on the counter while other beverages do not. We never knew why that occurred. Our question has now been answered by an elite group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, who were taking a break from predicting TEOTW.* These boffins wanted to know why coffee always creates distinctive rings when it spills. After much … [Read more...]

Change Your Coffee Brewer, Not Your Coffee Beans!

If you are tired of your coffee, one way to change the flavor is to change your brewer. At the Hula Daddy Coffee Tasting Room we brew coffee for our guests usindifferent methods to demonstrate the flavor changes. Our guests are amazed at the difference in flavor using the same coffee in different kinds of coffee brewers. The taste of coffee is a combination of coffee quality, grind, water … [Read more...]

Siphon Coffee Brewers Suck! by Karen Paterson

Siphon coffee brewers, aka vacuum pots, were very popular in mid-century America. Every coffee shop had a Silex or a Cory. The waiter would fill a pot with cold water, seal another pot on top of it filled with ground coffee and then put it on a hot plate. After the water got hot in the lower pot, it was forced by steam pressure into the upper pot where it mixed with the ground coffee. After the … [Read more...]

AeroPress – an Ugly Way to Brew Coffee by Karen Paterson

Imagine a romantic dinner followed by a spectacular cup of coffee brewed right at your table. The waiter brings a siphon brewer - how interesting; or a french press - how elegant; or a pour over filter - how special; or an AeroPress - how ???.  There is nothing elegant about an AeroPress. The AeroPress was created by a toy company which may explain its lack of elegance. I have always resisted … [Read more...]

Hawaii Magazine Readers Pick Hula Daddy as Top Kona Coffee

The March 2014 issue of Hawai`i Magazine named Hula Daddy Kona Coffee the top Kona coffee in the  "Best Of The Best:" 2014 Readers' Choice. Karen Paterson, owner of Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, commented : "This is an amazing honor for us. The fact that Hawai`i Magazine readers included Hula Daddy Kona Coffee in its selection of  "Best Of The Best: 2014 Readers' Choice" signals that our constant … [Read more...]

Before You Buy an Automatic Single Serve Coffee Brewer by Karen Paterson

Single serve coffee brewers have eclipsed traditional automatic drip brewers. Instead of an automatic drip coffee brewer, more and more families make coffee using a single serve pod or capsule.  Pod and capsule brewers typically make better tasting coffee than drip coffee brewers but are not as good as french press or manual pour over brewers. In an April 2015 article Ken Davids points out why … [Read more...]