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The “Feelings” of Shadegrown Coffee · 5.07.09 by colin newell

There’s a scientific explanation about the convective clouds rising up from the ocean along the coffee growing slopes of our volcanoes in Kona, Hawaii every day; giving the needed shade and moisture for the quality coffee grown here. And then there are these wonderful sentences written by Jack London of how it actually FEELS like. For us humans and probably to our coffea arabica plants growing here as well. So while you read, imagine yourself being a… Kona coffee bean dangling from a branch.

“You cannot escape liking the climate… I warn you, if you have some spot dear to you on earth, not to linger here too long, else you will find this dearer.”…

“Where each day is like every day, and every day is a paradise of days,” he answered.

“Nothing ever happens. It is not too hot. It is not too cold. It is always just right. Have you noticed how the land and the sea breathe turn and turn about?”

Indeed, I had noticed that delicious rhythmic, breathing. Each morning I had watched the sea-breeze begin at the shore and slowly extend seaward as it blew the mildest, softest whiff of ozone to the land. It played over the sea, just faintly darkening its surface, with here and there and everywhere long lanes of calm, shifting, changing, drifting, according to the capricious kisses of the breeze. And each evening I had watched the sea breath die away to heavenly calm, and heard the land breath softly make its way through the coffee trees and monkey-pods…

Far above towered the huge bulks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, seeming to blot out half the starry sky. Two miles and a half above our heads they reared their own heads, white with snow that the tropic sun had failed to melt….

“Listen! Here comes the land-breath now, the mountain wind.”

I could hear it coming, rustling softly through the coffee trees, stirring the monkey-pods, and sighing through the sugar-cane. On the lanai the hush still reigned. Then it came, the first feel of the mountain wind, faintly balmy, fragrant and spicy, and cool, deliciously cool, a silken coolness, a wine-like coolness—cool as only the mountain wind of Kona can be cool.

“Do you wonder that I lost my heart to Kona eighteen years ago?” he demanded. “I could never leave it now. I think I should die. It would be terrible.”

(Excerpts from ‘The Sheriff of Kona’ by Jack London, 1908)


When working closely with coffee trees farmers tend to talk to them. Which goes waaay beyond simply hugging them, as any woman will verify. At BLUE HORSE KONA COFFEE we’re actually trying not to hurt our trees feelings either and waiting till they are really ready to separate from their beans. Just makes a better cup.

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