“The Kona coffee, raised on the uplands of the Island of Hawaii is superior to any other coffee raised. I think that I can safely say this. The flavor is truly superb. One has never tasted coffee who has not drunk Kona coffee.”
Hon. Henry E. Cooper, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hawaiian Republic, 1896
Mountain Thunder Coffee Co. Cloud Forest Estate located at 3200 ft. Is the highest coffee mill and plantation in the coffee belt. They are the largest of the 50 Certified Organic farms by the USDA and are also kosher KOF-K certified.
They have 35 acres with 10,000 trees. On a busy day they say they can do 40 100 pound bags. Their coffee is like all Kona Coffee, hand picked. once picked their cherries are sent to their wet mill where there cherries are striped of there outer cover. From there they are sent to soak then sort. They Sort their coffee with a gravity - density table and screens by 19 and 60/64ths for Extra Fancy, 18 and 60/64ths for Fancy, 17 and 60/64ths for #1 and lastly 15 & 16 that is graded as prime. After the proses goes to skinning then a fermentation bath that takes 18 hours. Their last part before they roast is their sun drying, They sun dry for three days on decks where the beens are raked out so they are not on top of one another. Then it goes to roasting.
Mountain Thunder fertilizes once a year with a combination of kelp, old leaves/ wood pulp/, coffee remnants, and donkey excrement. They hand Spread there fertilizer and compost around the coffee trees making sure it does not go on the tree it self so not to burn the trunk.
So getting there is not so easy but is a great drive into the forest with beautiful wild ginger and orchids all over. Wild pheasant and boars also can been seen so look for them.
Once you get to the Mill you have to find parking, they do not have a parking lot so you park on the side of the road in the grass. It does rain a lot up there and this visit was no exception so bring shoes not sandals or flip flops to weir.
After you park you go to a little hut where they serve you coffee and you can watch videos they where featured in (Dirty Jobs, Unwrapped, ect) before you go on the tour.
The tour is about 30 minutes depending on size of group and whats going on at the mill.
They take you first to the coffee trees and explain about them and a little history about the mill and family. From there you go in to the mill and see how they sort, and size for roasting of their coffee after it has been brought to that point. From their you go to the roasting room and depending on when you go you can see them roasting and see how it gets from a green bean to the coffee you buy.
After they take you to their gift shop and show you their coffee and explain to you their different roasts and bags because not all are from Cloud Estate. The tour is done after that.
Mountain Thunder has four roasts:
Their first is a Vienna Roast that is their medium roast.
They roast it to 440 to 445 digress and till it looks like " Milk- Chocolate."
The flavor plate is to be nutty with an intense aroma.
Their second is their French Roast or a dark roast.
They roast this coffee to 450 - 460 digress or the color of "Dark- Chocolate."
The flavor of this roast is to be smooth and bittersweet.
Their lightest roast is an American Roast that they roast at 420 to 430 digress.
They roast this to a cinnamon color with the flavors that are to be "Buttery, nutty body, and a subdue sweet acidity."
Their last roast is one they created at Mountain Thunder, Black and Tan.
It is a combination of their American and French Roasts.