Home of 100% Kona Coffee, Estate grown and custom-roasted for you.
DRAGON'S LAIR sits on five acres of fertile, rocky, volcanic land at the 1100 foot level on Mauna Loa volcano in Honaunau, South Kona. You can find us on the makai (ocean) side of Mamalahoa Highway, between mile markers 105 and 104.
This perfect elevation gives us the sunny mornings and cloudy afternoons with rain in the wet season that the trees need to grow and ripen, yet enough sun and warm breeze to be able to completely sun dry our coffee.
The photo shows our home in the midst of the mature coffee trees AFTER we had pulled out all the vines and weeds - before then all you would have seen is a continuous mound of green! The farm when we bought it was overgrown with grass and vines, and the trees neglected, in need of pruning and fertilizing. But we knew that with hard work and love, the farm would respond.
Now we have three acres supporting 2000 vigorous coffee trees, and the rest is a mixture of mac nuts, bananas, avocados and scrumptious tropical fruits!
Our coffee trees are all Kona Typica, the traditional Kona heirloom coffee tree which derived from Arabica Typica. Arabica Typica is used in many parts of the world to grow quality coffees, but it is the unique combination of climate, soil, and meticulous hand-tending that distinguish Kona from the rest. Truly a heritage coffee.
We are continually working to improve the soil condition and the trees while maintaining a balance harmonious with nature. We use no herbicides or pesticides on our coffee! Hand-weeding and mowing is hard work, but it is worth it. We also use all the green "waste" from our orchards. Prunings, coffee cherry skins, etc, all go back to nourish the soil.
Isn't it a wonderful sight?
Rows of Kona coffee trees laden with stunning, sweet-smelling blossom, Kona "snow". Each Spring the refreshing rains cause several blossomings like this which sets the fruit for fall harvesting.
Harvest usually starts in August and goes through December. The average coffee tree yields 10-15 pounds of cherry a year, which is about one-and-half to 2 pounds of roasted coffee. If you order three pounds of coffee from us, you are buying the fruit of two entire trees.
It truly is a labor of love.
The cherry is entirely hand-picked, with each tree being visited six to eight times to select only the red, ripe cherries. We process our coffee on the day it is picked for perfect freshness. The coffee is put through our wetmill which removes the red skins. Then it is fermented overnight to remove the sticky layer, repeatedly washed, and spread on the sun deck to dry. This "wet-method" of processing is the only one used on gourmet beans, and the fermentation is what gives our coffee its characteristic bright, clear flavor. And, yes, the view you see really is the sweeping panoramic of the Kona coast through our coffee trees..... Not a bad "office" view is it? Here is our 512 square foot elevated hoshidana (sun-drying deck), FULL of drying coffee. Our coffee is completely sun-dried - no unpleasant propane drying drums for us! Six or so days of Kona sunshine treat it gently yet perfectly to the right moisture content. Coffee at this stage is covered with a brittle golden skin, and is called parchment coffee. We moisture-test daily to bring the parchment coffee into store at the perfect level.
We store the parchment coffee until it is needed, then it goes through our dry-mill to remove the parchment layer to produce the green bean.
Green beans are sorted to remove any imperfections, and then custom-roasted to order. Our wet mill and dry mill operations, and our custom roaster, are on the lower level of the drying deck . Our storage and packing/shipping room is just a few feet away. The coffee gets packed while still warm from the roaster, in air-valve bags which insure you taste that fresh-roast flavor.
Unlike many Estates, we are able to do everything that is needed right here on the farm. Our beans do not leave our care until they are winging their way to your cup!!!!
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Dragon's Lair Farm
84-4987 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook HI 96704