What Makes Us Different?

An Innovative Process

With an innovative process, Kona Joe Coffee, LLC uses the same principles as the world’s finest wine producers to cultivate our award-winning Kona Joe Trellised Coffee. Our unique cultivation process has attracted international attention and recognition among leading coffee trade professionals. No one explains the process better than owner Joseph Alban himself:

"The inspiration for adapting traditional viticultural practices to coffee growing came from our family vineyard, Alban Vineyards, an award-winning vineyard and winery located in the Central Coast of California. Training our trees to grow like wine grapes was labor intensive and costly, however we were ecstatic when our Trellised Coffee won the SCAA Blue Ribbon. The tree develops with more uniform sun exposure resulting in more even ripening of the coffee cherry. Dissolved sugars in the coffee bean and cherry are enhanced. Sun exposed fruit is always superior, and coffee cherries are no different. Harvesting by hand is facilitated because the ripe cherries all develop within easy reach of our pickers. We have also received accolades from coffee enthusiasts from Europe, Asia and throughout the Americas as well as rave reviews from international wine connoisseurs."

"Kona Joe’s young Arabica coffee trees are trained to grow along the wires of an intricate trellis system. This patented process requires years of meticulous pruning and tying to open and expose coffee cherries to plenty of sunlight.”

“As the trees grow, the most mature verticals are tied to the wires and grow in a horizontal direction. Ultimately, these shoots become lignified and each forms a cordon. The coffee tree trunk begins to form a T-shaped configuration. Each cordon then sends off new verticals. The cordon is pruned to produce four verticals resulting in eight verticals per tree. These eight verticals then develop numerous horizontal shoots, which produce the coffee fruit and allow the fruit maximum exposure to the Hawaiian sun."

Rather than using observation alone, Kona Joe utilizes state-of-the-art technology to determine the optimum time to harvest the coffee cherries.

"While most coffee farmers pick the cherries when they see that they have turned from green to red, this determination by color alone is imprecise," comments Joe Alban. "Our more scientific approach recognizes the importance of determining the physiologic growth and maturity of the coffee fruit in order to produce a superior cup."

This rigorous testing ensures enhanced taste and body, "Our scientific team monitors our coffee cherries for pH level, sugar concentration and titratable acid. We want to make sure they have achieved the proper balance of acid and dissolved sugars before hand picking them at their optimum maturity."

The Nitty Gritty on Kona Joe Coffee

Location: Established in 1994, Kona Joe Coffee is a family-owned 20-acre estate located in the verdant "Gold Belt of the Kona Coffee District," on the western slopes of the majestic Mauna Loa Volcano. The farm has breathtaking 270 degree south, west, and north views of the Kona Coast and the Pacific Ocean.

Who we are: Owners: Joseph & Deepa-Tiare Alban

Director of Business Development: Collier Maxwell
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Collier grew up either wanting to work for Coca-Cola or Neiman-Marcus. Coca-Cola because it was a hometown company that became the most famous brand in the world; Neiman Marcus because at the age of 11 he read Stanley Marcus’ “Minding the Store,” and fell in love with seeking out the best the world has to offer and introducing it to others.  After graduating from the University of Georgia with a BA in Marketing, Collier taught English in Japan for three years.  Upon returning home to Atlanta, he had a chance meeting with his idol Stanley Marcus that began his journey in luxury retail. Collier worked his way up to become a buyer for Neiman Marcus and advanced to being a General Manager for Saks Fifth Avenue.  Now his journey continues with Kona Joe Coffee as the Director of Business Development. Collier’s passion for the exceptional coffees offered by Kona Joe, Hawaii unites with his continuing quest to share the best.

Roastmaster: Bruno Prota 3rd generation coffee farmer raised in Brazil with summers in Italy. Fluent in English, Portuguese, Italian and coffee

Head Barista: Isaac Akau, born and raised on the Big Island

Coffee Agronomist: Dr. Mario Serracin, 42 years coffee production in Panama and Agronomy MA, University of Hawaii

Farm Production: At Kona Joe Coffee, Jeff Percival found his place in the sun.  Jeff is the Farm Manager responsible for overseeing the growing, harvesting, processing and roasting of the world famous Kona Joe Trellised Coffee as well as maintaining the manicured grounds and physical plant health of the farm.  Jeff grew up in Washington State across from Seattle.  He graduated Port Angeles High and completed his Collision Refinishing Degree at Wyoming Tech where he graduated with honors. In addition to running his own Specialty Landscaping Business, Jeff has broad experience operating heavy machinery, mechanics and designing/building real rock waterfalls. In 2010, Jeff moved to the Big Island of Hawaii and immediately felt at home because of the natural surroundings of the active volcano.. Glass blowing and vintage cars are among some of Jeff’s interests.  In fact he has a ’49 Studebaker Truck.  As the Farm Manager for Kona Joe, Jeff brings his varied experiences together to continue the heritage of Kona Coffee growing.

Climate: Coffee experts around the world recognize Kona, Hawaii has the ideal climate and soil for cultivating coffee cherries. The volcanic island mountains cool the moisture in the sea air to create afternoon cloud shade and light rain showers. The daily afternoon shade protects the delicate coffee cherries from the hot tropical sun. Shade promotes vegetative growth, while sunshine produces mature coffee fruit. This perfect balance of morning sunshine and afternoon showers is found only on a narrow stretch of the Big Island of Hawaii known as the "Kona Coffee Gold Belt.”

Farming Practices: Kona Joe does not use any herbicides or pesticides on our trees. Our farm is also our home, so we are extremely particular when it comes to farming methods. We use organic farming practices whenever possible. Kona Joe coffees are hand-picked only when they have achieved their optimum maturity and then hand-sorted for optimum quality. The sugar content is evaluated by refractometry and titration, the same techniques preferred by expert winemakers. Kona Joe coffees are dried using a combination of mechanical and sun drying.

Soil: Throughout the centuries, rain erosion has broken down the lava produced by Hawaii’s majestic volcanoes. The result is extraordinarily mineral-rich volcanic soil that nourishes the coffee cherries and gives them their superb flavor, exceptional body and crystal clear finish. Kona’s soil is considered to be among the world’s best for coffee cultivation. California is famous for its "Wine Country,” while Kona Hawaii has the "Kainaliu Region,” a coffee connoisseur’s paradise.

Harvest Season: September through December.

Appellation: Kainaliu

Altitude: 1000-1400 feet above sea level