Big Island Coffee Roasters Enriches Coffee Culture By Turning Turmoil Into Teaching Opportunities
"Co-founders of Big Island Coffee Roasters Brandon von Damitz and Kelleigh Stewart started the virtual baristas program to support baristas who had been laid off due to the pandemic... They have worked with five baristas so far to create both written and video content used to educate their customers on everything from how to store, brew and select coffee to which brewing equipment they recommend.
"Big Island Coffee Roasters has helped introduce the world to the various regions and varieties of Hawaii-grown coffee, with the idea that each type of bean — just like humans — needed its own tailored nurturing to coax out its best. Among its 100 percent Hawaii-grown coffees, you’ll find the juicy, fruity and large Ka‘u Maragogipe beans to the Puna coffee aged in rum barrels or fermented with wine yeast."
HONOLULU STAFF PICKS HAWAII FAVORITES: ESPRESSO BITES
"Big Island Coffee Roasters has a lot of really cool stuff: barrel-aged coffee, coffee fermented with wine yeasts, tiny Maui Mokka beans, peaberry coffee. There’s even a Wild Hawaiian Coffees Club ... continue reading
"The dynamic duo of Kelleigh Stewart and Brandon Damitz, of Big Island Coffee Roasters, offers up coffees carefully sourced from all over the Hawaiian Islands, some of which they grow themselves in the Puna District on the Big Island. They also supply coffee to the Hualālai Trading Company at Four Seasons Resort Hualālai.
HUMAN SERIES: BRANDON DAMITZ | COFFEE FARMER
Our story, as told by UPROXX & Coors Banquet Beer
Videographers hired by Coors Banquet Beer contacted us after reading our story online, and asked to film a mini-doc for their followers. Over a million views and 5000 shares later, here's our story as told by Coors and UPROXX.
Two years ago Big Island Coffee Roasters and the management at Four Seasons Hualalai began overhauling their coffee program with the goal of offering a coffee experience that reflected their 5-diamond status as one of the best resorts in the world.
... last month Forbes announced Four Seasons Hualalai as being the "World's Best Hotel Coffee."
BIG ISLAND NEWS NOW
Farmers who developed a new way to enjoy coffee are savoring the sweet taste of success after creating a buzz among the judges of a countywide competition... continue
DELTA & UNITED IN-FLIGHT MAGAZINES
Featuring Puna Kazumura and Espresso Bites
Editors from United Airlines' Hemispheres Magazine reached out after a writer tasted our Puna Kazumura coffee while vacationing on the Big Island, and Delta Airlines discovered us on Instagram.
SWAGGER MEN'S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
BIG ISLAND COFFEE ROASTERS CONTINUES TO SOAR ABOVE THE REST
"With big chain coffee shops growing, it seems increasingly difficult to find great coffee with authenticity and story... brands continue to make themselves known on the top artisanal coffee lists and as pioneers of various coffee waves with their subscription services and cafes.
But they cannot match Big Island Coffee Roasters..."
Fooled Ya! No Chocolate Here!
Food critic Betty Shimabukuro calls Espresso Bites her "top candy find of the year"!
Big Island Coffee Roasters are doing their part to help baristas affected by the coronavirus pandemic
HAWAII TRIBUNE HERALD
"The Coffee Quality Institute recently licensed Stewart as an Arabica coffee Q grader... Licensed Q graders are qualified to judge cupping competitions worldwide and classify a coffee as specialty or commercial with specialty grade being among the highest quality in the world.
... Stewart was also recently was named as one of Pacific Business News’ Top 40 Under 40. Chris Manfredi, Hawaii Farm Bureau past president, praised Stewart as “the best of her generation.”
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"As owners of Big Island Coffee Roasters, they have brought innovative approaches to varieties and processing to their beans as well as those of other local growers who meet their high standards....
"Hualalai Trading Co., on Kona’s luxurious Hualalai resort, features their roasts exclusively, with special experiences for connoisseurs who want to delve deeper."
KIKAHA MAGAZINE BY ISLAND AIR
"Big Island Coffee Roasters is in Puna, where the pavement between the volcano and the ocean struggle to contain the lush jungle. This region is on the opposite side of Hawaii from Kona... before [they] debuted, few considered the coffee grown here any good, if they had even heard of it...
"What we learned is that specialty coffee is a process." Stewart says. "It's not Kona, it's not Geisha, it's not Arabica. It's the way coffee is handled from harvest to cup."
FOUR SEASONS PRESS ROOM
A collaboration between the Four Seasons Resort, Big Island Coffee Roasters, and Kona Earth.
"Four Seasons Resort Hualalai announces a one-of-a-kind coffee farm and tasting experience at the Five Star, Five Diamond Kona resort.
In partnership with Kona Earth and Big Island Coffee Roasters, the experience offers guests access to a boutique Kona coffee farm followed by a coffee tasting and pastry pairing...”
PACIFIC BUSINESS NEWS
June 2017. Awarded by Pacific Business News at the Four Seasons Resort Ko'olina
"...she and her husband have [built] a stronger specialty coffee industry for all Hawaiian coffees...
".. In these two episodes [they] tell their fascinating story starting a farm and roasting company in Hawaii...
As always, I extract wisdom about their branding, website, Instagram... how to roast Hawaiian coffee and, finally, how to purchase a coffee roasting company."
A look at the young and caffeinated in Hawaii. By Martha Cheng.
"While established farmers like Tom Greenwell, a fourth-generation Kona farmer, process upward of a million pounds of coffee on the opposite side of the Big Island, Stewart and von Damitz were starting from scratch. They turned to YouTube."
From across the globe, London-based men's lifestyle magazine "The Coolector" reviewed our carefully crafted Hawaiian coffees.
"Hawaii is perhaps not best known for the quality of its coffee (or, at least, not to us here at Coolector HQ) but our opinions about this may well be set to change now that we’ve stumbled across this incredible concoction that goes by the name of Big Island Coffee Roasters and which herald from the breathtaking American state of Hawaii. "
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
To be featured in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle is an privilege we don't take lightly.
"[When] a pink and orange Bourbon coffee from Big Island Roasters, grown in the Puna district on the island of Hawaii, won in the Hawaii Coffee Association's creative category, [it] was a little like a wine from the Petaluma Gap region winning at the California State Fair Wine Competition - possible but unexpected."
Of over 400, worldwide coffees reviewed, we're honored to be included in Coffee Review's Top 30 Coffees of 2013. Our beloved "HYC" was described this way:
"Elegant flower-bomb. Exhilarating, refreshing meadow flowers, roasted cacao nib, almond in aroma and cup. Delicate, balanced structure. Soft butlively acidity; smooth, plush mouthfeel. Gently but decisively flavor-saturated finish.”
HAWAII COFFEE ASSOCIATION
What a surprise! And to think, only 3 years prior we'd moved to - what was - a dilapidated farm in the heart of the Hawaiian jungle.
"Two Champions of Hawaiian Coffee were crowned in Commercial and Creative ... Big Island Coffee Roasters of the Big Isle’s Hawai’i District was awarded the top award in the Creative category with a score of 86.939."
DAILY COFFEE NEWS
It was my first attempt at applying for a grant, and it was a great success! With the award we're able to improve the value of our crop and that of neighboring coffee farmers.
"This equipment is the first of its kind in east Hawaii... Because of their efforts Senator Russell Ruderman of Hawaii Island presented Big Island Coffee Roasters with a Senate Certificate [to] commend their work in developing the Puna coffee region..."
HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
"... To confirm its superior quality, early this year they submitted a sample to the Coffee Review for grading. It scored a 93. In his review, Kenneth Davids wrote, “This would be a striking and unusual coffee from anywhere in the world, but it is a complete surprise coming from Hawaii, where sweetness and balance is the norm rather than startling aromatic originality.”
BARISTA MAGAZINE BLOG
“When we moved, the farm was dilapidated: over-grown, under-nourished, and scrappy,” Kelleigh remembers. “We had no idea if the coffee was any good because few had heard of ‘Puna coffee,’ and most of the coffee we’d sampled was horrible. We decided to import a Diedrich IR-7 to practice roasting with the 500 pounds of old coffee the previous owner had left.