Drink Life Beverages

Carta Coffee Merchants Brings Winemaking Expertise to Kona Coffee

Their aroma, flavors, and level of intensity—mellow to strong—draw people to pour a cup or

Burr grew up with his hands purpled from sorting grapes and running harvesting equipment on his parents’

While at college for enology and food science, Burr first tasted artisanal, freshly roasted coffee and was

Wherever he traveled, he continued to seek out beans roasted by craft producers

The epiphany of tasting Kona coffee triggered Burr’s intense interest in the area

After two decades, Burr separated from the intense overload of consulting work

“I wanted to be near the ocean, make fine coffees and get back to my farming roots

A look at how Burr translated the Kona terroir into the unique blends of Carta Coffee demonstrates

Though the state of Hawaii has 11 coffee growing regions, 100 percent Kona comes from beans only grown and

” The minerals from the volcanic soil and the weather—sunny mornings, humid and rainy afternoons and mild

But “Kona blends” in the supermarkets contain only 10 percent Kona coffee beans

The other 90 percent can be inferior beans grown anywhere in the world

Burr learned the history and traditions of the area before purchasing his own farm

People soon recognized that Kona coffees could be delicate yet flavorful with rich aromas

But the 1899 world coffee market crash caused the large growers to lease their land to workers, many

In 2011 Burr purchased six-acres of mixed elevation land on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Kona and

With assistance from a recognized expert on 100% Kona coffee agriculture, Burr replanted five-acres of coffee trees on

The new coffee producer quickly fell into the rhythm of the growing cycle

In February and March, Burr checks out the white flowers on his trees

Known as “Kona snow,” the blooms mark the spring awakening and development of the coffee fruit

We pick the trees about 12 times during the season to only select the ripest and healthiest cherries

While soaking, the beans ferment and shed their parchment, skin-like coating

The beans are then placed on decks to dry for about two weeks in the Kona sun

With the wet method, said Burr, “The fermentation process is easier

“The beans are milled to remove the outer covering and given a quick wash, but beans aren’

This process yields beans that have more leather, citrus, chocolate and dried fruit flavors

This oldest of processing traditions entails drying the whole cherry and then manually pulled from the now-hardened

After roasting, these beans have a more complex, nutty and sweet flavor

Dried beans are then classified and sorted by grade based on size, shape, and quality

Darker roast may last up to 30 minutes when the beans may begin to smoke

“If half the secret to coffee is great beans, the other half is precise roasting,” said Burr

With a light roast, beans yield brighter, citrus notes and stronger caffeine

regulatory controls and higher wages makes American production higher than in developing, coffee growing countries

Burr sells his coffee online, with darker, deep flavored Captain’s Roast the most popular of his

Burr’s goal is to see Carta served at more restaurants when they fully re-open

“Coffee service is the last thing restaurants upgrade, though coffee is usually the last memory of taste

Mixologists are beginning to appreciate how artisanal, roasted coffee beans can add intriguing flavor to their cocktails

“Helping communities is another sustainable practice,” said Burr

While presenting Carta Coffee at nationwide festivals, he looks for organizations such as Project Open Hand of

With limited travel during the pandemic, Burr is home tending to his farm and handling business remotely

“This ocean-lined landscape is a lovely place to grow coffee