Are you planning a trip to the Big Island and want to go on a Kona coffee tour? Keep scrolling to find out the best Kona coffee farms worth visiting.
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Do you want to visit Kona coffee farms on your trip to Hawaii?
The Big Island is famous for growing Kona coffee beans. One of the best things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii is tour Kona coffee farms.
I’ve pulled a list of the best Kona coffee farms and the best Kona coffee tours to visit during your trip to Hawaii.
You can learn all about how these delicious beans are grown, harvested, roasted, and brewed right here in Hawaii! If you’re looking to do Hawaii coffee tours, Kona is the place to go!
There’s nothing quite like drinking a cup while watching beautiful views from an amazing farm or tasting some fresh Hawaiian-grown beans at one of the local roasters.
It’s truly a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world! And it’s something that will make your vacation even more special when you get back home with memories from this incredible place!
So scroll down now and check out my full list of Kona coffee farm tours below…I promise it’ll be worth it 🙂
Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Big Island Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.
Kona Coffee Farms FAQs
Within the 20 miles up and down the roads along the Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes, there are more than 600 coffee farms. Some of these are really small and others are larger and offer tours to the public.
As the name implies, coffee plants grown in the Kona area of the Big Island of Hawaii are called Kona coffee. These Hawaiian coffee beans are unique because they are grown in volcanic terrain which gives the beans a hard-to-find flavor.
Yes, but they mainly sell Kona blends. This is coffee that is blended with beans from other parts of the world so it’s not 100% Kona coffee. If you’re going to be on the Big Island anyway, you might as well support a local farm and get the real
A Brief Kona Coffee History
Coffee was once a rare commodity in Hawaii. But that all changed with the introduction and subsequent cultivation of coffee trees by Reverend Samuel Ruggles in the late 1820s.
He first planted them in Oahu’s Manoa Valley before taking seedlings from these early plantations over to Kona. These Kona coffee plants thrived under volcanic soil conditions.
The full story of Kona coffee is one that cannot be told in a single paragraph. It took decades for Kona coffee to gain worldwide attention (which happened at the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna).
Now Kona coffee has been growing and thriving on the Big Island for nearly 200 years!
A Few Kona Coffee Facts
The coffee beans must be grown in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii
Kona coffee is the product of a specific micro climate in Hawaii.
The mornings tend to be sunny and cloudless, while afternoons often drip with rain or are covered by thick layers of clouds throughout much if not all day long. Light winds also contribute some uniqueness that make this island’s climate so special for growing Kona coffee.
Legally, at least 10% of the beans in a bag of coffee must be Kona coffee beans if it’s labeled as such.
It grows in volcanic soil
Kona coffee is world-renowned for its unique flavor. The production of this beverage takes place in volcanic soil, due to recent eruptions on the Big Island of Hawaii.
This special soil is enriched with minerals from those ash deposits over time which makes such an impact not only through taste but also quality!
It’s actually from Brazil!
Kona coffee is a well-known crop in Hawaii, but it’s not actually from there. It was brought to the island and first planted by Rev. Samuel Ruggles in 1828 back when he arrived on native soil with cuttings that originated out of Brazil!
Where are the Coffee Plantations on the Big Island?
Kona coffee is a rare and cherished commodity. The high elevation, constant cloud coverage from Hualalai Volcano in the upland slopes of North Kona creates an ideal environment for harvesting this unique Hawaiian Bean that produces some award-winning beans!
You can find hundreds of small farms throughout the area but not all of them offer tours to the public on their property. These are mostly in the greater North and South Kona areas including Kau and Puna. And you can even find some cool coffee plantations in Hilo.
Finally, if you visit the Big Island in November, be sure to check out the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in the Historic Kailua Village in Kailua-Kona.
What’s So Special About the Kona Coffee Plant?
True Kona coffee is highly prized throughout the world for its full-bodied flavor and pleasing aroma. And this is a direct result of the grading process.
Kona Coffee Grading System
First, workers handpick the Kona coffee berries. Then, they are pulped, dried, and hulled.
Next, the coffee beans are graded before they’re processed. The coffee mill machinery sorts the coffee beans into different grades based on size and shape.
The creme de la creme is the peaberry. These unique beans are formed when one side of the coffee flower merges with the other resulting in a single bean inside the coffee cherry. This gives it a super concentrated flavor. However, this only happens in 5%-10% of all Kona coffee.
The other (more common) grades of Kona coffee include extra fancy, fancy, No.1, and prime.
Kona Coffee is handcrafted, sun-dried then custom roasted depending on desired results and differences in moisture. A good processor can make all the difference for an excellent cup!
The art of roasting coffee beans can be called “a science” by many in the trade. Dark roasts are typically called French, Italian, or Espresso. The medium roasts could be Full-City or Vienna.
Is It Genuine Kona Coffee?
You’ll definitely want to check the label to see if it says 100% pure Kona Coffee.
Otherwise, it might say Kona Blend. This means it only contains a minimum of 10% Kona beans to be considered “Kona Coffee.” Usually, they mix Kona beans with ones from Central America, Brazil, Africa, or Indonesia.
But, if you’re on the Big Island and visiting a Kona coffee farm, you should have no problem finding and tasting 100% pure Kona coffee.
Which Kona Coffee Farms Should You Visit?
There are a lot of options for Kona coffee farms on the Big Island. Here are some of our favorites.
Want to know what goes into making your favorite cup o’ joe? Come experience the deliciousness of Greenwell Farms‘ 100% Kona Coffee firsthand with their free 45-minute guided tour.
You’ll get an inside look at how they harvest and process these high-quality beans before taking off on some dirt paths that might be difficult for those not used to, but will surely make you feel like a veteran explorer!
The best part about this Greenwell Coffee tour is there are no reservations required–just arrive 10 minutes early.
Keep scrolling to find out a few Greenwell Farms coffee tours that also make other cool stops.
Greenwell Farms is located at 81-6581 Mamalahoa Highway Kealakekua, Hawaii 96750
Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farm
The first one is a one-hour tour where families can learn all about how to grow, maintain, and roast Kona coffee beans. This is just $8/person.
There’s also the Paniolo Roasting tour, which is 45 minutes long and costs $40-$45/person ages 13 and older. On this tour, you’ll learn about Hawaiian cowboys (called paniolos) as well as the history of Kona coffee and the traditional way to roast it.
Finally, they have a Brew Your Best Cup tour, which is 60-90 minutes long and costs $55 for people ages 13 and older. This tour is all about learning how to brew the ultimate cup of coffee.
Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee Farm is located at 78-1136 Bishop Rd Holualoa, HI 96725
You can experience a private Hula Daddy coffee tour where you’ll learn all about how Kona coffee is grown, processed, and roasted. Plus, you can talk to the owners, the roasters, and even tour the orchard.
Something cool about Hula Daddy is that they are an eco-friendly Kona coffee plantation. They have reduced their carbon footprint by planting 17,000 trees. And they make their own compost from green waste they get from local restaurants.
These Hula Daddy Kona coffee tours last for 60 minutes and cost $30/person.
Hula Daddy is located at 74-4944 Mamalahoa Hwy Holualoa, HI 96725
Another fun Kona coffee plantation to visit is Kona Joe. There are actually several Kona Joe coffee tours to choose from.
They have a free self-guided tour that includes a 5-minute video. They also have their Standard Guided Tour that includes a cup of coffee, the video, a guided tour of their entire farm, tastings of both chocolate and coffee, plus a free coffee gift.
If that’s not enough, they also have their Coffee Roasting Experience where you can roast 10 ounces of Kona Coffee yourself. You can create your own custom roast while learning tips for how to create the perfect blend.
They even offer a Combined Tour where you can do their Standard Guided Tour plus the Coffee Roasting Experience. This is the most popular tour and you’ll save $15/person.
And coffee fanatics will want to check out their Ultimate Tour, which lasts 2 hours and you’ll get to roast 5 pounds of 100% Kona Coffee. Wow!
But, the most unique Kona coffee experience has to be their Coffee Picking Experience. It only happens during the harvest season that runs from August 1-November 30. You’ll get all the gear you need to go into the farm and become a coffee picker for as long as you like. You can’t do this anywhere else in the U.S.A.!
Keep scrolling to see how you can tour Kona Joe on a circle island tour.
Kona Joe is located at 79-7346 Mamalohoa Highway, Kealakekua, HI 96750
If you’re looking for a Kona coffee farm that’s in a really cool location, head to Mountain Thunder. It’s located on the slope of Hualalai volcano more than 3,000 feet above sea level. And it’s right next to a cloud forest!
You can take a free Mountain Thunder coffee tour of their mill. Here, you’ll learn exactly how they grow, process, and roast their Kona coffee beans.
They also have a cool Nature Trail Walk where you can explore their coffee plantation, see native plants, hang out on their observation deck and even check out a lava tube. This is $10/family.
They also usually have 4X4 Plantation Tours and an awesome RoastMaster Experience, but they are on hiatus right now.
Keep scrolling to see how you can do a Mountain Thunder coffee plantation tour along with checking out a cloud forest!
Mountain Thunder is located at 73-1942 Ha’o Street Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Royal Kona Coffee Center
You can visit the Royal Kona Coffee Center in Captain Cook. They have a processing plant where you can see how they separate the bean from the pulp and how they dry the coffee beans.
You’ll even see how they grade their coffee beans and pack it up to be sent to their roasting facility, which is in Honolulu.
During the Royal Kona coffee tour, there’s usually an opportunity to walk through a real lava tube and see some carved tiki statues. However, this is currently closed due to COVID-19.
Royal Kona is located at 83-5427 Mamalahoa Hwy, Captain Cook, HI 96704
Best Kona Coffee Tours Worth Booking
Greenwell Farms Coffee Tour & Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Small Group Tour
Your experience on this tour will be unforgettable as you travel from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can stop at Punalu’u Beach Park, where there’s a black sand beach and an opportunity for some peace and serenity in your day.
You’ll also stop by Greenwell Farms to taste freshly brewed Kona coffee and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Finally, you’ll venture into a lava tube that was formed by volcanic activity – all while using technology like iPads during downtime! Check the latest rates and availability.
Kona Soap, Coffee, and Chocolate Tour
This is one of the most comprehensive tours in Hawaii that will teach you about coffee and chocolate production from when it blooms all its way through roasting. You’ll even get a chance to do a Kona coffee tasting and enjoy some delicious treats!
Finally, they’ll take you on an interesting walkthrough at their last stop which features pure plant botanicals used for making soap–a product without any fragrance so no worries there 😉 Check the latest rates and availability.
Kona Joe Coffee Tour & Circle Island Tour
Spend the day exploring all that Big Island has in store for you, from waterfalls and beaches to tropical valleys. You’ll also get an exclusive look at Kona Joe’s coffee farm where they mix Award-winning locally grown beans into delicious cups of joe!
You’ll also keep an eye out for Hawaiian green sea turtles at the famous Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. This tour also includes lunch and several photo stops. Check the latest rates and availability.
Greenwell Farms, Kealakekua Bay, Kaloko-Honokohau Park, and Bee Farm Tour
What’s more amazing than a vacation on the Big Island? How about one guided by an expert in local history and culture!
This informative tour will take you through some sacred sites (like Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park), including petroglyphs that date back thousands of years. You’ll also find green sea turtles nests along this shoreline–perfect for photograph enthusiasts.
Finally, you’ll get to sample fresh Kona coffee at Greenwell Farms and taste local honey from Big Island Bees. Check the latest rates and availability.
Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary, Coffee Farm Tour & Brewery Experience
Kona is a hidden treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural experiences. From the mystical cloud forest to Ola Brew Co., experience what it has in store for you!
You’ll head to Mountain Thunder Coffee Farm where they grow beans that go into making some delicious coffees. Plus you’ll get lunch and taste beer at Ola Brew Co.
And you’ll get to check out the Kona Cloud Forest, a nature sanctuary filled with native species of plants, Hawaiian flowers, and tropical birds. Check the latest rates and availability.
Kona Coffee Tours and Tastings Wrap Up
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the best Kona coffee farms on the Big Island of Hawaii. Now you know a lot about Kona coffee plantation tours, including which ones offer free tastings.
It’s an amazing experience to taste this exquisite coffee in Hawaii on a Kona coffee farm tour. Plus you can meet real Kona coffee farmers.
We hope you found this post about the best coffee tours Kona has helpful and that we’ve given you some new information to share with your friends or family members who are planning a trip to Hawaii!