We’re looking forward to the Dec.15, 2011 issue of Wine Spectator. It’ll have a nice story about Big Island and Maui coffees from Mark Pendergrast, author of “Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.”
The article already is online. Mark had a lot to say about Rusty’s Hawaiian, as well as a nod to Miguel:
“About 30 miles southeast of Kona is the Ka'u region, featuring a completely different microclimate and richer and deeper soil. The coffees, including Rusty's Hawaiian (www.rustyshawaiian.com), are beginning to receive more recognition. Rusty and Lorie Obra, natives of the Philippines, began planting coffee on their leased Ka'u land in 1999. They planted seedlings from other people's farms, resulting in quite a hodgepodge.
Since Rusty died of lung cancer in 2006, Lorie has run the farm alone. With advice from coffee guru R. Miguel Meza (who also helped the Patersons), she began to experiment with her different types of trees and processing methods. Her yellow Caturra is easy to spot, since it turns yellow rather than red when it ripens. Obra discovered that when the cherries were naturally processed, they yielded a remarkable cup. I can testify that it is extremely fruity and spicy in aroma and flavor, with an orangy nutmeg tang and brighter acidity than you'd generally expect from Hawaiian beans.
I also sampled Rusty's Red Bourbon, which is processed using the wet method, except that instead of soaking the pulped beans in vats of water, Obra mostly lets them ferment in their own juices. This results in a spectacularly full-bodied and fruity but clean cup. Obra does most of the work herself, including the processing and roasting, and she is obsessive and meticulous.”
Our thanks to Mark for taking the time to taste our coffees! You can read the rest of the article here.