We think you all know this but to know Kona coffee, is to love Kona coffee. This week, we are spotlighting one of our favorite labels of Kona Coffee brought to you by Kona Love Coffee, a family-owned and operated single-estate coffee farm in Holualoa. The Boranian family farm has been operating for 30 years and since the beginning they have used a permaculture design process that defines and uses the natural energy flow of their upcountry farm. After hand-picking the coffee, the beans are sun dried on their award winning bamboo structure (which just so happens to feature incredible ocean views). The farm is now operated by Josh Boranian, who grew up on the farm and had an interest in farming since he was young. He studied tropical horticulture at UH Hilo and his focus is on growing has been growing coffee and other crops through natural regenerative agriculture and practicing sustainability in his farming practice and life. We caught up with Josh to find out more about Kona Love, check it out below!
What is the history behind the land at Kona Love?
The land is a part of Ahupua’a: Holualoa 1-2. It is flanked by the Wai’aha stream and a nameless stream that flows every decade or so. This land was previously used for bananas and for milling coffee. When my parents first purchased the land it had a small plot of 100 coffee trees. It was natural to expand what was on site already. There are also various types of mango, banana, pineapple, citrus, and ulu interspersed with the coffee and the remaining property. Since I’ve taken over, there has been a large push to interplant even more so with biodiverse food crops to provide a better growing environment for the property.
Do you offer farm tours? Where can we find your coffee, other than your website?
We do! Farm tour details can be found on our website HERE. Our coffee is featured by Pacific Coffee Research, which is then bought by HICO and other cafes around the state. We are also currently at the Donkey Mill Art Center as part of their latest exhibit, “Kona People.”
What has been the most rewarding part about being part of the Kona Coffee scene on Hawai’i Island?
I feel the most rewarding things about being part of the Kona coffee scene on Hawai’i Island is the supportive farming community, experimental regenerative agriculture scene, strong buying markets, and the country lifestyle.
What is the most challenging part of operating a farm on Hawai’i Island?
Since I am fresh to having an online business for my coffee label, I would have to say that expanding a coffee business within Hawai’i Island is a challenge. We are literally one of almost a thousand coffee farms just within Kona. That’s why the website is critical to trying to capture coffee drinkers around the world. On another note, I would have to say the wild weather and pest pressure is more challenging. In the past 4-5 years we have not had a significant dry season at my farm. What that means is that there are no plant growth breaks or key times to harvest timber bamboo. It’s a constant slog with the mower, weed whacker, and pruners against the plants. It’s a moldy environment to live in. The increase of specifically coffee pests in the past decade is staggering. The introduction of these pests has a few areas of blame, mainly bad State led plant inspection/quarantine, and illegal plant importation. They are coffee twig borer, coffee berry borer, Cercospora coffeicole, and recently the devastating rust. Interestingly, we didn’t have a problem with Cercospora until we had year round rains and that is exactly what it needs to operate. If these rains keep up year round we will have a really hard time battling cercospora and rust. Another recent challenge is the shaky shipping and supply chain.
What is next for Kona Love?
Creation of cultural planting areas as well as the increase of biological life on the farm. Another thing we are working on is becoming relevant on various social media by creating coffee growing, processing, brewing, and regenerative agriculture clips as well. We have also started participating in pop-up farmers and artisan markets.