Bumper coffee crop, Kauai Cigar launches, and new direction for Coffee Times magazine.

Once again, the past year at LBD Coffee encompassed change, growth, and some new directions. As we mentioned, Gigi and I feel truly blessed with the new addition to our family. Jorgen’s arrival added to a great year, and he came during an incredibly busy time at the farm, as the harvest and Christmas mail order rush is in full swing.

Now in its 5th year of production and 7th year since its inception, Blair Estate certified organic coffee farm had its break out year. The crop has been the best yet, and the coffee cherry continues to flow in daily. We are expecting the harvest to finally wrap up by mid January, as we have been picking since early September. The quality of the coffee is unrivaled, as our coffee pickers have done an exceptional job of picking only the ripest coffee cherry, and yours truly has personally overseen the wet milling, fermenting, washing, drying, and hulling of this world class coffee.

The majority of coffee at Blair Estate has been hand picked by a community of Marshall Islanders who live on Kauai. We are very grateful for their loyalty and work ethic. The harvest would not be possible without their help, and we thank them.

This past weekend we cupped the September pick and have deemed it ready for sale. So it is with great pleasure we release the 2007 Blair Estate organic coffee. We promise you will find this coffee to be of the highest quality, from perhaps the finest beans on earth. The long days of picking and wet hulling, sometimes into the night and through the rain, sore backs, and time to age have all paid off in the cup.

Organic coffee farming is a year round activity that requires fertilization, several rounds of pruning, and maintaining strict USDA National Organics Program standards. We have also created a beautiful canopy of nitrogen fixing gliricidia trees to shade our coffee farm. The natural environment at Blair Estate is humming with health, as we have created a great setting for not only coffee, but our St. Croix hair sheep, as well as many species of birds. Because the privacy of our home and farm became an issue over the last year, it was necessary to close the farm to the public. We met so many very kind, and grateful people during 2005-2006 years when we were open, and we thank you all for visiting. However, it became impossible to continue the farm work and maintain our private family life here at Blair Estate. We’re sorry for the disappointment this has caused some visitors to Kauai. But we still invite you to enjoy the fruits of our labor by purchasing this coffee online. Our focus, once again, is solely on the growing of coffee. Thank you for your understanding.

Several years ago, my interest in premium hand made cigars peaked an interest in growing tobacco. This interest and a lot of hard work has now produced a cigar as good as our coffee. For three years, and after a lot of trial, and a lot more errors we have created a cigar so unique that some cigar critics have called it better than Cuban! While not all the tobacco in this Island Prince cigar is from Kauai and the cigar is hand made in Nicaragua, the Kauai filler tobacco used in this cigar has created an unprecedented demand for our product. With over 50 retail accounts throughout the Hawaiian Islands, we have created a business activity that has not operated in the islands since the early 1900’s. In fact, it was a Hawaii tobacco study done in 1904 that first laid a road map for producing some of the finest tobacco in the world. Our use of Cuban seed and advice from friends within the industry in Nicaragua, have created a truly magical cigar. Kauai Cigar Company now employs a dozen or so employees to plant, harvest, string, and loosen our tobacco. Bradford Jones, who is our full time cigar salesman, handles the many accounts we have in Hawaii. This new venture, grown at a secondary farm site, has also made a nice off season addition to our coffee farming endeavors.

Early art from a box of Kona cigars, circa 1906

A future goal for the Kauai Cigar Company is to create Hawaii’s first home grown certified organic 100% Kauai cigar. This future cigar will be grown, cured, fermented, and hand rolled here in Hawaii. This cigar will not only use Kauai filler tobacco, but be bound and wrapped with Kauai leaf as well. The creation of this cigar is a work in progress and will require a long period of time to complete. Please stay tuned, and if you have an interest in premium cigars, we promise that you will absolutely love our Island Prince cigar, or your money back! Please visit http://www.kauaicigar.com to learn more about this fun and interesting venture.

While the Coffee Times magazine has seen many changes since its beginning in 1993, we have finally decided on a new direction that will maximize our outreach and reduce the amount of monthly media work. Our magazine has been transformed into a yearly Hawaii Visitor’s guide that will be made available to visitors in all of Hawaii’s airports. The guide will feature each island in Hawaii, with photos and a written guide. Maps and main island features, along with our complete mail order catalog will serve everyone’s needs from mail order clients to visitors to Hawaii. Harumi Kobayashi, who handles all of the graphic design and layout for Coffee Times, Blair Estate Coffee, and Kauai Cigar Company has once again done a terrific job laying out the new guide. Bradford Jones, has written the very user friendly guide, and Kirk Lee Aeder has provided us with his always great photographs. My thanks to all of them for their great work.

Now in it’s 14th year, our Coffee Times 100% Kona coffee mail order business continues to serve as one of Hawaii’s leading sources for fresh roasted to order only 100% Kona Coffee. Because we sell only fresh roasted, premium grades of Extra Fancy and Peaberry #1 Kona coffee, we remain a popular choice of those shopping for Kona coffee on the internet. Over these 14 years of roasting and selling 100% Kona coffee, we have become a permanent fixture in many of your homes. The long relationships I have with many of you have brought a lot of satisfaction to my life. Roasting and selling Kona coffee to you goes far beyond business, and I truly thank you for your support and friendship over the years.

Gigi, Jessica, Jorgen, and I want to thank you again for an incredible year. And we look forward to continuing our hard work in 2008 to bring you some of the finest coffee and cigars. Happy Holidays and Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!

ps… I’d like to send out a shout to the University of Hawaii Warrior football team. Let’s beat the University of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s day! Go Bows!

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