Absolutely! Kona Coffee

About Absolutely! Kona Coffee®

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Absolute Palate, LLC
P.O. Box 339, Holicong, PA 18928

Absolutely! Kona Coffee® is a division of Absolute Palate®, LLC (www.absolute-palate.com), which was established in 2015 with two purchased coffee farms in the iconic Kona Coffee Belt on the Big Island of Hawaii. The company is owned by its Founders, Drs. Bruce E. and Cynthia A. Maryanoff, who have had a long-standing passion for exceptional coffees. As a boutique producer, we have a special interest in premium, single-estate 100% Kona coffee. The company grows, processes, roasts, and sells high-quality, single-estate 100% Kona coffee, with a focus on artisanal, premium brands to satisfy the interests of coffee connoisseurs. Our coffee fruit (cherry) comes from Cynthiana Farm in South Kona and Honalo Farm in North Kona. The trees are dry-farmed (i.e., not mechanically irrigated) with meticulous care. We have state-of-the-art coffee processing and roasting facilities at Honalo Farm, our corporate headquarters, and offer brands that represent the flavor profiles of specific-origin terroirs. We exclusively custom-roast in small batches on demand (i.e., not ahead of orders) with a fluidized-bed air roaster. Our flagship brand is designated "Private Reserve", which is available from both farms. We also craft a "Special Selection" coffee, which is a single-estate combination of three different roasts for an optimal flavor profile according to a tasting panel. For sales, we operate the direct-to-consumer website Absolutely! Kona Coffee® (www.absolutelykona.com).

We set up an on-site decaffeination facility at Honalo Farm that uses supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), with supercritical CO2 at a specific temperature and pressure, to remove essentially all of the coffee's caffeine. We use a computer-controlled, SFE system from Waters Corporation, which operates on small batches of about 5 lbs. After arriving at specific, optimal conditions via numerous experiments, we achieved our quest to produce 100% Kona decaf coffee that delivers a flavorful, aromatic, smooth coffee brew. Our "Absolute Decaf" is at least 99.9% caffeine-free, as determined by laboratory analysis for caffeine in the ground, roasted beans.

We are committed to provide knowledgeable, passionate coffee consumers with a family of high-quality, single-estate, custom-roasted 100% Kona coffees, both regular and decaffeinated, with distinctive flavor profiles.

Terroir [ter-wahr'] is a collection of special attributes associated with the geography (region, elevation, slope), geology (soil, hydrology), and microclimate (weather aspects such as rainfall, sun exposure, windiness, humidity, and daily temperature range) of a specific location.  This concept pertains to the major influence of place on the properties of certain agricultural products, such as wine, coffee, tea, tobacco, and chocolate.  Terroir forms a basis for the widely used classification system that reflects Appellation of Origin (AOC), and underpins the reason to value single-estate or single-origin coffee.

The harvest for our first coffee growing season, 2015, progressed over about five months, from the end of August to mid-January. The ripe, red coffee fruit was hand-harvested in several passes through the orchards because ripening is asynchronous. This situation is common to natural coffee growing, as the rounds of flowering are sequential. Our fruit was wet-milled and the resulting parchment was sun-dried. After appropriate aging of each batch for at least 8 weeks, we hulled portions to obtain dry green beans, keeping each batch separate. Green beans were sorted into Kona Number 1/Fancy/Extra Fancy ("Kona Prime"), Hawaii No.3, and Off-Grade. We medium-roasted the Kona Prime beans and ground samples independently, then brewed each to taste-test the flavor characteristics. Thus, individual batches were assessed for equivalency before being combined into our flagship Private Reserve brand, to ensure consistent, excellent taste quality. Our estate-grown 100% Hawaiian coffee is sold at an attractive price. Our coffee is available for purchase on this website. The subsequent harvests were completed on both farms over a 5-month period (Aug-Jan) and the coffee fruit was processed on the day of harvest.

Owners and Executive Management

Bruce E. Maryanoff, Ph.D., Co-CEO and Chief Scientific Officer
Cynthia A. Maryanoff, Ph.D., Co-CEO and Chief Technology Officer

Operations Team

T. Michael Gomes, Vice President of Operations
Janelle E. Gomes, Vice President of Business Development
Vicente Magaña Monzón, Farm Manager

About the Owners

Bruce and Cyndie Maryanoff are Ph.D. organic chemists, who retired from lengthy, pharmaceutical R&D careers at Johnson & Johnson. Bruce was born in Philadelphia, PA, and Cyndie was born in Shenandoah, PA. They have spent much of their lives in Pennsylvania and reside in Bucks County, PA, just outside Philadelphia. They have been in love with Hawaii since their first visit in 1985. They have been passionate about fine coffee for decades, especially 100% Kona coffee. Detailed information can be found on their LinkedIn pages (links given below).

Bruce - LinkedIn Profile
Cyndie - LinkedIn Profile

Corporate Headquarters

Absolute Palate, LLC
At Honalo Farm
78-7007 Mana Opelu Lane
Holualoa, HI 96725

Our Farms

Cynthiana Farm is located in South Kona at an elevation of 1700 feet (19°18'49.47" N/155°51'47.58" W). The coffee orchard of 2 acres contains about 900 trees, organized in a grid with north–south rows. Further details on this farm are provided on a separate tab (“About Cynthiana Farm”).

Honalo Farm is located in North Kona, at an elevation of 1700–1800 feet (19°33'28.90" N/155°55'32.44" W). The coffee orchard of 5.5 acres contains about 3000 trees, organized in a grid with north–south rows. This property serves as our corporate headquarters and coffee processing center. Further details on this farm are provided on a separate tab (“About Honalo Farm”).

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Our Coffee Processing

Our coffee trees are grown with careful attention to detail. The ripe coffee fruit (cherry) is harvested by hand-picking in rounds over a 5-month period. At day’s end, the collected cherry from each round is wet-processed by pulping and demucilaging to yield coffee parchment, which is then soaked in a tank of water. Floaters are removed by skimming them off and the dense parchment is transferred to a concrete drying deck covered by a clear polycarbonate roof for sun-drying. Drying, aided by our ceiling fans, usually takes 7–8 days to reach the target moisture content of 10-12%, which allows for climate-controlled, long-term storage in burlap bags. Our parchment is aged for at least 8 weeks before any hulling is done to obtain dry green beans for immediate roasting. Each harvest round is kept as a specific batch for eventual taste-testing, whence a batch sample of green beans is roasted, ground, and brewed by pour-over to evaluate its flavor profile. Parchment batches are hulled to release the dry green beans, which are graded on a vibrating, fluidized-bed platform to separate them into three classifications: Kona Number 1/Fancy/Extra Fancy Prime, Hawaii No. 3, and Off-Grade beans. Samples of Kona Number 1/Fancy/Extra Fancy for each harvest batch are medium-roasted, ground, brewed by pour-over, and taste-tested. From this approach, we determine which batches are qualified to be combined into our premier Private Reserve brand. Green beans designated Hawaii No. 3 form the basis of our estate-grown 100% Hawaiian coffee.

Our Custom Roasting

We use a fluidized-bed air roaster to obtain custom-roasted coffee beans. The chaff from the silver skin on the beans is completely removed and collected during air roasting so that it can’t adversely affect our coffee's taste. A Medium Roast of premium, single-estate coffee (~410 °F, start of first crack) is good level to represent the terroir of the coffee. In this respect, City Roast (425 °F) is also recommended. Stronger roasting at various levels of “Dark Roast” (Full City Roast, 435 °F and Vienna Roast, 445 °F, start of second crack) will emphasize more of the taste from the roasting process, such as earthy, chocolatey, and toasty flavor components. The degree of roasting is a personal taste preference that one may wish to vary for different coffees and brewing methods. In the case of our Private Reserve brand, we recommend Medium or City roasts. Our Cynthiana Farm and Honalo Farm Special Selection brands are proprietary combinations of Medium, City, and Full City roasts, which are developed each vintage by a panel of people who blind-taste brewed coffee from several samples with diverse ratios, looking for smoothness, balanced complexity, and exceptional flavor attributes.

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