emailed a family member that I was at the annual convention of
the Hawaii Coffee Association, he replied, "A dietitian
and nutritionist at a coffee convention? Just curious."
But, hey, where else do you get coffee breaks that feature 100
percent Kona coffee? And speakers in Hawaiian shirts? I was
ready and alert to learn.
starters, I learned that Hawaii is the only coffee-producing
state in the US. Coffee trees love the dense sunshine,
plentiful rain, and rich volcanic soil of these islands.
coffee growers work hard to produce healthy coffee plants that
produce good-tasting coffee. More than 30 varieties are grown
in Kona, for example. Coffee labeled "100 percent Kona
coffee" is harvested exclusively from beans grown in this
area of Hawaii.
the fact that much of the world does not function in the
morning without it, does coffee contain any redeeming
yes, it does. A recent study at John Hopkins University found
that 200 milligrams of caffeine (what we might get in 8 to 12
ounces of brewed coffee) enhanced the ability of study
participants to remember details.
coffee is more than just a vehicle for caffeine, say
researchers at Harvard University. It contains hundreds of
different compounds, including antioxidant substances known to
protect cells in the body from destruction. Coffee also
contains the minerals magnesium and chromium which the body
uses with the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Recent studies have, in fact, found an association between
higher coffee intake and a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.
everyone should be downing a carafe of coffee every morning
however. Pregnant women are advised to limit coffee intake to
no more than 1 or 2 cups a day since caffeine crosses the
placenta to the baby. And people with high blood pressure need
to monitor the effect of caffeine on their condition.
you’re drinking so much coffee that you get tremors, have
sleeping problems or feel stressed and uncomfortable,"
say experts at Harvard, "then obviously you’re drinking
too much coffee."
distinguish a good cup of coffee? "Cupping" experts
use a precise scoring method to rate speciality coffees, I
learned. Good coffee might be rich-bodied with mild acidity,
clean, and balanced, for example. Bad coffee might be dusty,
dirty, card-boardy or "like hot electrical
components." Interesting, too, that inferior coffee gets
worse as it cools. Good coffee gets better.
coffee beans are delicate, explains Tommy Greenwell, a 4th
generation coffee farmer and owner of Greenwell Farms in the
heart of Kona. So its best taste is at a medium roast, not
dark. One of his favorites is "Jeni K" — named
after his wife. Awww..
Kona coffee so pricey? Mostly because of labor costs, says
Greenwell’s chief financial officer, Steve Hicks. Each
individual coffee "cherry" — the ripe-red fruit of
the coffee tree that produces a coffee bean — is
hand-picked. And workers in Hawaii are compensated according
to U.S. standards.
your precious coffee in airtight containers away from direct
light and heat, advises Peggy, our enthusiastic tour guide at
Greenwell Farms. "Never put coffee in the
refrigerator!" (Moisture causes coffee to deteriorate.)
what you will use within a week or two. Coffee beans (and
especially ground coffee) lose quality and flavor if stored
too long. And by the way, "If it’s good coffee, you
shouldn’t need cream or sugar."
the big island of Hawaii: "To drink is human. To drink
Kona coffee is divine." Mahalo and aloha, dear friends.