There are two signs that we are near the end of the coffee picking season here at Poseur Farms. First, the days are shorter and the tropical sun has mellowed and swung south to set right in front of us.Secondly, the coffee trees are beginning to look a little bare with the bulk of the fruit harvested and the leaves turning brown and falling to the ground.
Poseur Farm is located at just under 1900′ elevation in Kona so our coffee harvest is 4-6 weeks later than many of the farms in the area which are lower in elevation and consequently hotter, sunnier, and drier. Our harvest season starts later and goes longer at this higher elevation. During the humid summer growing season at this elevation we typically get bright sunny mornings, but then cloud cover slides down Hualalai mountain as the moist air condenses at higher elevations; afternoon rains are frequent. This is perfect for coffee trees which are more of a large bush that evolved as an under-story plant. They like lots of heat, but not a lot of direct sunlight.
The good news is that these conditions are perfect for developing large, dense coffee beans which makes for great coffee.The shorter days and cooler nights, especially late in the season – along with our sunny days – are ideal for ripening the coffee slowly.which packs in the flavor. The ripe coffee ‘cherry’ can turn from burgundy red to almost purple this time of year.
The rains, which fortuitously coincide with our growing season from April through September, begin to taper off in October when our harvest begins in earnest and are dramatically reduced by the time we get to the end of the harvest season in December. I suspect the reduced rain in late seasons also contributes to greater flavor as the trees have to work a little harder to pull moisture and nutrients from the soil. Maybe this is the year I’ll hold that coffee aside and roast it separately to test my theory. Stay tuned.