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Travel Blog #176 - Learning About Coffee with Maui Country Farm Tours

As we were sitting at the Whole Foods Markey in Kahului, a large 15 seat gray van pulled up. The door opened and out stepped a couple that greeted us and invited us onboard. This couple owned this tour and was very friendly. We stepped into the van and then the driver began taking us towards Kaanapali where we needed to pick up two more passengers. As we left Kahului some of the other guests on the bus asked about the sugar mill that we had just passed. The guides began to explain the importance of sugar cane on Maui and the history of how it all began. Once we were in Kaanapali we picked up the last two passengers outside The Westin hotel before we made our way up the hill to the coffee farm.

Our first stop on the west Maui coffee tour was at the Piliani Kope Farm. This coffee farm was located just up from the beach Launiupoko. Looking out from the property you could see a magnificent ocean view. The beauty of the channel and the smaller islands of Lanai and Kahoolawe were absolutely breathtaking. I made my way into the tasting room and saw that there were pairs of tasting cups lined up down the middle of the table. As the Barista poured our samples of his coffee I looked around the room and noticed a giant red machine that looked like it was used to roast the coffee. Next to it were piles of gifts and paintings that all related to coffee in one-way or another. Once the coffee was poured we were offered cookies and homemade raspberry scones to eat while we tasted the amazingly rich flavored coffee. The Barista explained the story of how he had found this coffee strain. He had actually hiked deep into the West Maui Mountains and found his coffee strain in the middle of the jungle. He brought seedlings down from the mountain and had them approved by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture before planting them at his farm. It was amazing to me that he actually found the coffee plant he's growing on his property. Next he walked us to the back of his property where his coffee was currently being grown. Explaining the process of planting and taking care of the coffee plant we all felt astonished on all the hard work put into this bean. He walked us through trees of coffee and papayas and explained some details about the composition of the soil on his farm. He let us sample some of each of the products that he was growing.

Once we finished looking at what was growing on his property we sat down for lunch. Lunch consisted of a sandwich from the Whole Foods Market, fresh fruit, salad, and a water bottle. After the walking the lunch really hit the spot! After finishing up lunch we were allowed to look around the store and buy coffee and coffee souvenirs. We all left the Piliani Kope Farm with a bunch new coffee knowledge. Our next stop was the Maui Grown Coffee Company store in Kaanapali.

Upon arrival to the Maui Grown Coffee Company store we asked to look over at old Lahaina sugar cane smoke stack. The smoke stack was so large that my camera couldn't fit it in one picture using the 18mm lens that I had on my DLSR camera. When we entered the store we were surrounded by bags of coffee. In the next room of the store there were various different types of coffee beans that haven't gone through processing yet. The coffee beans were still dirty but it was cool to see all of the different colors and sizes of the coffee beans. We were also presented with another sample of some local coffee grown in Kaanapali. After tasting the stores gourmet coffees everyone shopped around, and then we stepped into the van again to head to the final stop of the tour.

Our final stop on the tour was at Kaanapali Coffee Farms. What was interesting about the coffee farm was that it was set up as part of a residential community. Meaning you could buy a lot of the farm with a house on it, but as part of the sales agreement it is established that the coffee on you land is not yours. However, you get a portion of the money they make from selling the coffee that was grown on your land. There were hundreds of rows of coffee beans in Kaanapali Coffee Farms. The van made its way to the middle of the fields where a green platform stood. We walked up the platform and looked over the railing. The view that we saw from this platform was by far the best view we had seen all day. The view looked out over rows and rows of coffee bushes, with all of the hotels of Kaanapali beneath with the deep blue ocean extending out to the horizon from there. We spent some time here taking pictures looking at the view for about a half hour before we left. As we made our way back to Whole Foods to be dropped off I couldn't help but to smile. The day with Maui Country Farm Tours turned out to be much more fun then I had though, we traveled to areas of Maui I had never been to before and I learned an immense amount about the art of coffee making. I don't think I will ever be able to choose coffee at the grocery store again without thinking about the day I spent touring Maui's coffee farms with the Maui Country Farm Tours.

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The West Maui Farm Tour is an amazing tour of the Lahaina Animal Farm, the Maui Dragon Fruit Farm, the Maui Grown Coffee Company Store. It's a wonderful diverse day learning about our agriculture then a no host lunch surrounded by Hawaiian Culture in a beautiful lush resort by the sea.

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