Winter Newsletter 2010 – 2011
Record Breaking Coffee Harvest
Standing in our orchard, we predicted this years coffee harvest was going to be one for the record books. With about two more months of coffee harvesting left, it turns out we were correct. Including those unpicked cherries we will have produced a record breaking coffee harvest this season. Our former record was set in the 2004 – 2005 season. This record breaking harvest came just in time, replenishing a dwindling supply of our popular organic coffee.
As many of you Kona coffee lovers may have heard, the coffee beetle was discovered on Hawaiian coffee farms. This pest, most notably in the Kona region of the Big Island, is far from an epidemic. We can assure you that quality Kona coffee is still being produced. Blair Estate farm is still beetle free and we would like to thank everyone for their concerns. To learn more about the coffee beetle discovery in Hawaii, please visit our blog: http://www.coffeetimes.com/blog
A Nicaraguan Cigar Expedition
This Fall, Operations Manager Tai Erum spent six weeks in Estili, Nicaragua. The famous tobacco town provided Tai with a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most secretive industries. Here, he shares a little of his Nicaraguan experience:
"After getting over the initial culture shock, I was really able to focus my attention on absorbing all the information I could from masters of the industry. Most of the wonderful people I was able to learn from have been involved in the production of cigars, in one form or another, for most of their lives. It was a trip where I got to learn everything about cigars, literally from seed to the final premium hand rolled cigar. The trip was split into phases. The first two weeks were spent on the farms, the second two weeks I visited all of the various processing facilities and the final two weeks were spent in cigar rolling factories where I received one on one instruction from master cigar rollers. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience! I am glad to be back in paradise where I am able to apply my knowledge to creating a better product and experience for our customers. A big thanks to premium cigar factory owner, Victor Calvo. Another huge thanks goes to Victor’s son, Victor Calvo Jr., who not only was a good sport with the translations but also became a friend." –Tai Erum
Blair Estate Farm Tours
Our comprehensive journey provides guests with a real look into the operations of an organic coffee and cigar farm. We invite guests to enjoy a bottomless cup of organic coffee as our expert guide takes them on a leisurely tour of our orchards. Tropical birds and mountain vistas add to the wonder of Kaua`i as guests learn what it takes to go from seed to a pound of perfectly roasted coffee or premium hand-made cigars. Guests will also see cacao (chocolate), lychee, citrus, mango, and avocado trees on our tropical grounds. We recently planted vanilla vines and are really excited to start seeing vanilla beans! The tour culminates back at the gift shop that also houses our roaster. Since we roast 100% Kona coffee of multiple classifications, guests who are now armed with knowledge and appreciation pick the next variety for their bottomless cup of coffee. With coffee in hand we describe how we hand-craft our world class cigars. Going through the entire mechanical process, we wrap up with a cigar rolling demonstration and give adult guests a complimentary cigar. We can’t imagine a better way to start your morning. Mahalo to everyone who has visited us so far. With such positive feedback from previous guests we can confidently offer a 100% money back guarantee for anyone who isn’t completely satisfied. For more information on our tours, please visit our Blair Estate website: http://www.blairestatecoffee.com/farmtours.html
Live Cigar Rolling for Special Events
Imagine a wedding in which the guys are lined up for a custom rolled cigar, right there on the spot! We’ve recently launched the Kauai Cigar Company live cigar rolling event for weddings and special occasions. Since the launch, we’ve been invited to perform at special events on multiple islands, delightfully entertaining the guests who are lucky enough to attend. We get a huge amount of praise from everyone involved and we are very proud of this upscale service that we offer. For more information on live cigar rolling for special events, please visit our special events page: http://www.kauaicigar.com/events
A New Fermentation?
Before we reveal our newest tobacco experiments, let’s take a minute to briefly breakdown a cigar’s components. A typical cigar consists of three parts: the filler, the binder and the wrapper. The filler, as the name implies, is located in the middle of the cigar and provides most of the tobacco. The leaf that wraps around the filler is the binder. And finally, the leaf that is wrapped around the binder and the filler is called the wrapper, the beautiful aesthetic face of a cigar. The wrapper is harder to grow, harder to process and thus more expensive than any other tobacco used in a cigar.
Masters at growing and processing filler and binder, our big challenge for the Grand Alii — the upcoming 100% Kauai Grown and Made cigar – has been consistently producing a quality wrapper. After visiting shade-grown wrapper producing farms on the east coast of the United States, owner and operator, Les Drent has come back to Hawaii with enough knowledge on processing wrapper tobacco to apply an experimental fermentation to our tobacco. The fermentation of cigar tobacco is an important process where several complex changes occur. Traditional fermentation requires the tobacco to be handled frequently where damage to the leaf is not uncommon. With the new fermentation process, we will be able to ferment the wrapper tobacco without over handling the delicate wrapper. Since the wrapper leaf is the face of the cigar, it needs to be perfect with no rips or holes unlike the filler. If our experiments prove to be successful, production of the Grand Alii can begin as soon as 2011.
New Face on the Farm
We are proud to introduce Marta Lane, a talented writer who will write for our new Coffee Times Blog. Please look for relevant and timely articles regarding the Kona coffee industry, Blair Estate Farm and our state of Hawaii. Marta has worked on organic farms, writes for the local paper and lives in Kauai with her husband and two dogs. She is excited to bring her passion for organic farming and great coffee to life on the Coffee Times blog. Please converse with her; ask questions, relay experiences or give suggestions for future posts. She’s here for you!
It has been a wonderful year filled with new ideas and incredible adventures. As always, thank you for your continued support. From the Drent family and everyone at Blair Estate, we wish you all a Happy Holiday season and the best in 2011!