We are wild coffee lovers.
In 2010 we found a small coffee farm in a wild, disadvantaged region of Hawaii -- Puna -- posted on Craigslist. With little to lose we thought, “Why not?” As we integrated with the community of farmers and sampled coffees from around Hawaii, we were surprised by the diverse coffee varieties and origins that largely get overshadowed.
The more we learned the complicated steps to produce great coffee, the stranger it became that the final product was a gimmicky souvenir -- artificially flavored, stale, over-roasted 10% Kona blends. Worse still, Kona coffees were rife with counterfeit scams.
Over the next three years we taught ourselves to farm, process, roast and cup coffees. We tested the difference between processing methods, cultivars, regions and roast profiles. Our end-goal was always the same: the objectively best coffee we could produce from our land. When we found methods that produced great results, we worked with neighboring farmers to do the same and began sourcing their coffees as well.
To our surprise, the obsession paid off.
Our Puna coffee earned Grand Champion in Hawaii statewide, becoming the first, and still only, Puna coffee to win the award. It was a total surprise!
Later that year we were awarded a Hawaii Senate Certificate for "putting Puna on the map" and working to elevate the quality of neighboring farms. And as the year closed our Honeyed Yellow Caturra coffee placed in Coffee Review’s “30 Top Coffees of 2013”.
...And that became the year Big Island Coffee Roasters was born.
Our Hawaiian coffees have since been praised by Forbes, Coffee Review, Honolulu Magazine, Delta, Brutus, The San Franciscan Chronicle and, oddly, even Coors. See the up-to-date list of awards and accolades here.
Today we have a team that we'd be lost without. Along with 7 rescue cats, 14 sheep, and 30+ chickens.
We're certified by the Specialty Coffee Association in Roasting, Brewing, Green Coffee, Espresso Tech, and Barista Skills. Kelleigh is a licensed Arabica Q-Grader and Hawaii 40 Under 40. Brandon is the master behind Espresso Bites.
This year we celebrate our 10th year, and our goals are the same:
To share specialty Hawaiian coffee from all regions, roasted in a way that preserve distinction.
Help Hawaii lead the way in quality and innovation, from farm-to-cup.
To measure our success by the positive impact we have on farm sustainability and within our community.
Kelleigh & Brandon