Winter Newsletter 2005 – 2006
Change is in the Air!
Season’s Greetings to all of you from LBD Coffee! It’s been an exciting year here at Blair Estate coffee farm as we have polished our family run business into a smooth running venture- or should I say adventure! Our free farm tours and coffee cupping which are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10am have been a great success. In fact, looking at the guest book we were able to introduce our farm to well over a thousand island guests this past year. The time you have spent with us has hopefully been informative and was certainly a pleasure, and we thank you all for visiting us. Thank you also for your purchases!
Not only have we polished our farm tour business, but as many longtime mail-order customers have noticed, over the last few months we have been working on, and are now almost finished with, a re-design process that has given our long-lived Coffee Times brand a much-needed facelift. Graphic Designer, Harumi Kobayashi, climbed on board this past spring to re-invent the look and feel of a brand name that has been around now for 12 years. It’s hard for me to believe that it has been that long! Harumi has done a wonderful job re-designing the magazine and coffee labels and fusing together the old and new looks. Her artistic talent also helped us launch our new product expansion. We exclusively support Hawaiian-made goods, and we have added a line of island jams, preserves and butters as well as locally made shirts and embroidered hats. Among other items we have also added to our store a new book called A Cup of Aloha by Gerald Kinro, which every Kona Coffee lover should own. Published by The University of Hawaii Press, the book portrays what life was like growing up on a Kona coffee farm and tells the history behind one of the world’s most renowned coffees. The book is a great read and has terrific insight into the cup of coffee many of you enjoy daily.
Over the next three months and in conjunction with the brand re-design, many frequent visitors to coffeetimes.com will see the final stages of this visual transformation take place at our web site. Andrew Nisbet, who has done a great job building and managing the web site since 1995, will embark on a massive journey to re-tool our online presence. The site and store will not only navigate easier, but will be greatly enhanced with visual, written, and video content (at blairestatecoffee.com). Providing much of the written content will be three new writers: Sarah Blanchard of Hilo, Amy Hoff of Puna, and Carole Prism of Kona. All three are educators who share a passion for writing in their free time. We look forward to their contributions to Coffee Times magazine and coffeetimes.com. As a side note, I should mention that we have always believed that the content featured in the magazine and at coffeetimes.com is what brings many customers into our world of coffee. In fact, the leading entry page into coffeetimes.com remains that of Hawaiian Body Art!
Back at Blair Estate coffee farm, we continue our farming endeavors by expanding our coffee groves with more state-leased land. This past July we were fortunate enough to acquire a 30-year lease from the state of Hawaii and we look forward to growing our coffee farm on land only two miles down the road from Blair Estate. Realizing that the two to three thousand pounds of organic coffee we produce annually at Blair Estate is not nearly enough to fill the demand, we have chosen to expand our operations. Slowly, I should add, as we have also come to recognize the grueling effort required to grow organic coffee! However, with help from the community, we know that the hand picked harvest can be achieved each fall. Hand picking ripe cherries, fermenting, sun drying and aging our coffee still remains the cornerstone of our quality and success. This quality has continued to rank our 100% Kauai Organic coffee above that of 100% Kona coffee on the cupping table here at Blair Estate. Gigi and I still shake our heads in disbelief as visitors in blind taste tests choose our coffee over the Kona Extra Fancy grade in nearly every instance! Please don’t mistake our intentions here, because without Kona coffee, our business would not survive. Kona coffee will always remain dear to our hearts and the staple (80%) of what we’re all about here at Coffee Times. It is an amazing cup of coffee with an aroma that brings sweetness to the roasting room air like no other, including the Blair Estate. To downplay the quality of Kona coffee and the hard work it takes to produce this exceptional bean would be an injustice. Kona No Ka Oi!
Thank you for letting us take the time to get everyone caught up with this newsletter. Gigi, Jessica and I wish you all a very happy holiday season and a lot of success in 2006. It should be a year to look forward to as we complete our brand renovation and flow into the settled routine of fulfilling your coffee needs! Please make a note that the final day for shipping out mail orders for Christmas is Monday, December 19th. We will also be closed for the Christmas holiday from December 23 until January 6th.
Les, Gigi and Jessica Drent
LBD Coffee, LLC