The Caffeinated Poet

I have always dabbled at writing poetry. Usually I buried my efforts in computer files that only I know exist. But working at home among the coffee trees, teaching college over Zoom and jogging daily have either inspired me or driven me completely off my rocker. I write under the name, The Caffeinated Poet, actually a descriptor. The result is lots of coffee poetry. You are not required to like the poems or even read them, but here they are – oh, and if you want to order our delicious, premium Kona coffee, click here! Be safe!

A Little Coffee History

Cafe au lait and mochaIMG_5175
espresso double shot
Iced or hot or syrupy sweet
itʻs best just black and hot

It came from Ethiopia
In Mocha it grew free
a goat boy saw kids munching
bright cherries on a tree

They danced and played as if on fire
their eyes lit up and shone
made the goat boy want to try
the berries on his own

How it came to be so steamy
weʻll never know for true
a monk or sheikh tried roasting beans
and began to make a brew

It matters not how it started
its all around the world
when thinking of the very best
our Kona flagʻs unfurled

We grow it here and it abounds
with aroma and taste galore
We sell it online to everyone
You canʻt buy it at the store

Bon appetaste!

The Caffeinated Poet, 2020

I Wear a Mask

I wear a mask to every storemasked
afraid to shake a hand
I stay at home most of the time
and work the growing land

The solitude resets my brain
and makes me realize
I value time to stand and chat
real social timeʻs a prize

We will endure the virus
until its safe to roam
We will remember all our friends
and know theyʻre safe at home

the World Wide Web has helped us
talk story every day
with likes, memes and jokes in hopes
good health will be our way

The Masked, Caffeinated Poet

Gypsea Gelato Is Calling

Gelato is calling
a voice from afar
I am just going
out to the car

At 2 they will open
for carryout fans
Iʻll be there for certain
money in hand

Cookies and Creme
Mauka Trail too
Chocolate delights
for me and for you

Whoops youʻre not here
so Iʻll eat your share
with coffee from Kona
I know itʻs not fair!

The Caffeinated Poet 2020

You might be thinking . . .

You might be thinking 27540013_10212736826270358_1637706871554896684_n
Itʻs time to start drinking
at dawn as you realize

Iʻve no where to run
and Iʻm dressed like a bum
maybe coffee would be more wise

Yell hi to your neighbors
Give your spouse a big hug
Brew a big mug and surmise

Itʻs great to feel safe
with the family I love
and avoid any Co-vid surprise

The Caffeinated Poet 2020

The Coffee Farm

The bright red cherry
the deep green of the leavesScreen Shot 2017-11-17 at 11.44.06 AM
the crab spider webs
distant surf sound relieves

We stand here in wonder
in love with the land
enchanted by ocean
even more than we planned

The island has trapped us
amber arms of the sun
farming coffee is winning
making work more like fun

The Caffeinated Poet

What to Drink?

I could drink cola
or I could drink tea
I really like beer
but just when itʻs free

I drink lots of water
and take it from me
its better when brewed
as rich Kona coffee

The Caffeinated Poet 2020

Our Kona Coffee

The coffee Iʻm drinking came from our farm.
I know that my labor is part of the charm
I taste the spring rains and warm summer days
I taste the cool evenings, ocean breezes at play
The cherry we pick for months at a time
has captured a flavor – Kona coffee sublime
So think about treating yourself to a pound
It will help pass the time till the cure comes around

The Caffeinated Poet – 2020
Sheltering in Place


Rich Kona coffee beans
ground, steeped in boiling water
my taste buds ready!

– The Caffeinated Haiku Poet

Iʻve Had It, Have You?

I’ve had it with coffee
I’ve had it with cake
I’ve had it with pie
It’s great on a break

So where’s my Gelato
The Gypsea is out
I miss it so badly
I just want to shout

I’ve had it with coffee
I’ve slapped it on cake
I’ve mushed it with pie
I would eat it with steak

So when this is over
I’ll be first in line
At Gypsea Gelato
Their gelato’s sublime

The Caffeinated Poet(Gypsea Gelato fan) 2020

Kona Limerick

There was an old man from South Kona
He drank coffee wearing a kimono
When asked bout his buzz
He said it was cuz
His coffee was so doggone ono (tasty in Hawaiian)

The Caffeinated Poet 2020

It Rains Each Day

It rains each day in KonaIMG_3731
when spring is on the March
The hum of bees just fills the air
the aromas almost harsh

As flowers soon turn to cherry
and cherry pulp is shed
the beans ferment in water
sun baked till moistures fled

And last the dry mill batters
the parchment from the beans
and roasting turns the green to brown
rich flavors flood the scene

When the coffeeʻs ground and brewed
the aromaʻs rich and sweet
the flavorʻs just amazing
a mug of breakfast treat

The Caffeinated Poet (strikes again) 2020

A Blooming Season

Trees are blooming
We’re fine pruning
Coffee’s on the way
Don’t forget
To order soon
Great coffee helps us play

– The Caffeinated Poet (Tim Merriman)

Mauna loa


The Concrete Caffeinated Poet

(c) Tim Merriman 2020

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival 2018 and More

In early November we spent a beautiful Saturday morning at the Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival’s Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll. We found a parking spot above IMG_6241town and walked slowly down one side of the street for about three blocks and then back up the other side. This year 24 of the 800 Kona coffee growers had booths inviting us to taste their best coffee products and we voted for our favorite after tasting at almost every booth. We’ve learned it’s best not to drink too much coffee at home before the event or you can feel a little too caffeinated by the time lunch rolls around. Definitely it was a high energy day.

We are Kona coffee farmers so we couldn’t help comparing every cup to our own unique coffee. Interestingly, no two Kona coffees taste exactly alike. The soils, the micro-climates, the processing and roasting all guarantee that the resulting coffees have unique flavors.

Coffee samples by growers include medium, medium-dark and dark-roast coffees and some growers offer cold-pressed coffee. Each booth is numbered so participants can vote at the end of the stroll for their favorite.

It reassured us that our coffee is as good or better than the best we tasted from the other farms. We liked some of the coffee samples very much but the best seemed similar to our coffee with a smooth hint of chocolate flavor and a slightly sweet finish.

Each year we talk about entering this event but it’s a lot of work to prepare for and execute. For now, we enjoy the stroll and tasting without having a booth of our own. Numerous art shops are open throughout the village, adding some cultural opportunities. The food concessions are unique and fun for a street food lunch. We did the veggie pizza this year but have had great BBQ in the past. Food stands included crepes, ahi poke, hot dogs, pizza and lots of baked goodies.

The festival lasts for two weeks, usually in the first part of November after much of the harvest is in, and includes a wide variety of events including hula performances, a coffee recipe competition, a quilt show, a showcase of local talent, and much more. We try to catch three or four of the dozen or more individual events that take you to half a dozen communities in South Kona (skipping the chance to visit a local farm and pick coffee for obvious reasons). Blending coffee and culture works and over the two week period, thousands of tourists and island residents participate in the various events.


This year, the festival ran from November 3 to 18 and most low elevation coffee farms had finished the harvest for the season. We chatted about the harvest with our fellow growers and all agreed that this season was totally weird with an overall lower yield of coffee. Most said they had 30 to 60% less coffee. Much of the cherry crop looked great, but the beans floated, a bad sign. Floating means either the Japanese coffee borer beetle larva has eaten the bean or the beans didn’t develop properly due to lack of water or some other natural phenomenon.

The Kona Coffee Living History Farm offers some programming during the festival to show traditional ways coffee was roasted.

Since virtually all farmers in the area report much lower yields this year the volcanic eruption for four months may be the most likely culprit. The 800 plus coffee farms are at varied elevations and microclimates so rainfall variances alone cannot explain the widespread low yields. The eruption gave all Kona farms gray skies for extended periods, more acidic rain due to sulfur dioxide in the air, and fine ash over everything. It seemed to change all of the growing dynamics of the area. Some fruit trees did not bloom and bear fruit at all and Christmasberry was in bloom for eight months, not the usual three or four months. During the spring most of us had a little vog cough that went with breathing in dirty air all day and all night for four months. Thankfully, the eruption is over till next time, but we will remember the spring of 2018 and the impact of lava destroying so many homes and changing the landscape in Puna District.

Most growers hire pickers to pick two to six times during the four month harvest season. Being a small farm, we pick daily and take only the bright to deep red cherry fro processing.

The good news is that Kona coffee is still Kona coffee. We grow, pick and process our estate grown coffee carefully and hand clean each batch to remove every single bean that is damaged in any way. The result is a very good cup of Kona coffee. This year’s crop for us tastes as great as last year’s crop. We had so improved our coffee farm with careful pruning and fertilization that we expected a larger coffee crop this year. We actually had about the same yield as last year so the eruption simply held us back from the expected growth in outcomes.

If you are having family over during the holiday season and want to give a gift of Kona coffee or simply serve it at a special meal, you can order now at

Happy holidays!

Tim and Lisa


Finding Your Honey

Who doesn’t want to find his honey? I found mine with Lisa, my wife, but this is not about us. It’s about bees and beans, coffee beans that is.

When you live on a coffee farm, you pay attention to details you simply never noticed before. We not only have 300 coffee trees, we have three bee hives. When the coffee trees burst into bloom, the air is filled with the fragrant aroma of tiny gardenia (coffee) flowers and 27459473_10212742740138201_5095573786419470879_nthe buzz of thousands of bees wandering from flower to flower. They take pollen and collect nectar, coincidentally pollinating flowers and helping to start the production of bright red coffee cherry in six to eight months.

Bees really do not produce much honey in months where their favorite flowers are not in bloom in profusion. Honey comes in bursts called nectar flows, when one or two kinds of flowers that produce lots of nectar are blooming in profusion. When I had bees in Colorado, it was the summer alfalfa fields in bloom creating light, tasty clover honey. In the fall it was rabbitbrush’s dense yellow flowers providing a very dark, sorghum-like honey.

In Hawaii, mid-January brings the occasional rain in the dry season and our coffee trees bloom along with the many macadamia nut trees in our area. Our neighbors have large orchards of macnuts in dense groves of the dark green, spiny-leafed trees. The rain and winter season brings them into bloom with long racemes of tiny white flowers producing amazing nectar that bees love. This  lasts for two to three months.

I went out to our Langstroth hive at end of January, thinking that there might be some new honey. I quickly pulled five honey-laden frames from one hive and then looked into one of the African top bar hives and found four new leaves of comb honey. In only two weeks our happy bees had put away more than five quarts of coffee/macnut honey. I see beekeepers advertising coffee honey in our area. I don’t know how they know that. These two trees are next to each all over Kona district and the bees simply work both at the same time. I think the honey is from both flowers. Coffee blooms for only two days and the flowers dry up. The macnut trees bloom continuously for months, so macnut nectar is the bulk of the flow. The honey color is a deep amber and the flavor is simply amazing, maybe the best honey I’ve ever tasted. It defies a description except to say it is as distinctively tasty as maple syrup is in its own way.

28056562_10212836109992389_3850532939932096107_nLisa processes the honey, putting it through two strainers to filter out such things as chunks of wax or occasional bee parts. She tastes each side of each frame to make sure the flavor is consistent. Each frame in this last batch was simply perfect. We soon had enough set aside for our home use for the next year and perhaps two more months remain of great flows of macnut and coffee honey. We will harvest again in late March and bottle the honey to sell.

Bees are great partners on a coffee farm. They help insure that you have lots of cherries by pollinating every flower. They produce delicious honey as an added crop. And they pollinate all sorts of other flowers for us and the neighbors, especially macnuts. On the mainland you must leave the bees 50 to 100 pounds of honey to make it through the winter. Here we are producing honey in the dead (live) of winter.

My favorite bakery on the Big Island is Punaluʻu Bakery in Naʻalehu near South Point. They make a sweetbread that I like to slice into a buttered skillet to make fried toast. Then I drizzle the coffee/macnut honey on top and try to stop eating after one slice. A cup of Kona coffee from our farm is the right followup to the honeyed toast.

When you shop for honey be aware that all nectars taste different and some make spectacular honey, better than any you have ever tasted. And to some degree it is all up to you. Select your personal preference by testing a variety for a great flavor from nature that you prefer. Macnut/coffee has become my new favorite flavor. Who doesn’t want to find their honey?

Tim Merriman


Order Coffee – We’re sorry, but as of April 25, 2022, we are temporarily out of coffee for sale. This notice will be removed when we have more coffee available. Mahalo!

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 4.24.12 PM

1 lb. of Heartfelt Kona Coffee

You are ordering Heartfelt Kona Coffee to be shipped within the U.S. by USPS Priority Mail. The cost covers shipping and we make a 10% donation to charities helping care for people and the environment on the Big Island.


December: Ending & Beginning the Cycle

Our coffee farm is nestled above Kealakekua Bay at 930 feet elevation. The end of November brings the end of the coffee harvest. When only a few cherries are left on the trees, we do a final round to strip the remaining cherries, whether green, red or raisins (dried cherry) and throw them away. A high percentage of the last round are damaged by Japanese coffee borer beetles, a new pest on the island since 2009, and the quantity of good coffee beans in the cherries is just not enough to be worth the effort to process them further. Leaving cherry of any kind on the trees serves as food for the beetle and stripping the trees helps to starve them out.

Cherry is fed into the pulper bin at the top. Turn the handle, beans fall to the right and pulp waste falls into the bin below to the left.

Earlier in the season, we process the good cherries by putting them through a pulper to remove the skins and pulp, leaving behind the coffee beans covered with mucilage. We place the beans in a bucket of water, skim off the floaters (beetle damaged), and let the wet mix naturally ferment overnight. The next day we change the water and feel the beans. If they’re still slimy, we let it sit another night and the

We remove the parenchyma or mucilage by the wet method. Large growers do it with a machine.

fermentation effectively breaks down the rest of the slime. When the beans have a gritty texture and are no longer slick, they’re ready for drying. We strain off the water and place the wet beans in a plastic tray to dry in the sun for 5 to 10 days, stirring regularly to keep the wet beans exposed. When it rains, we move the beans under cover.

IMG_5185When the moisture is less than 10%, the beans are green and hard inside a white outer cover of parchment that protects them. At this stage, they can be stored for long periods before dry hulling and roasting. But first, we go through the very slow process of grading the beans on a glass table with a light beneath it. Dark beans, damaged beans and waste material show up good with normal light and with a light below they really stand out. They get manually removed and discarded. Finally, the good white parchment is ready to go to the roaster. We use a custom roaster, Greenwell Farms, who have been doing this work for 137 years. They do it well including dry milling the parchment off the bean, roasting to medium, weighing and packaging. In December we have lots of coffee for sale and it sells out usually well before the next harvest. Order now if you want to try our rich, flavorful Kona coffee.

The end of one coffee season is just the beginning of the next coffee season. We spray Beauvaria spores, a fungal spore infusion that attacks the beetle eggs and larvae on cherries missed on the trees or on the ground. If left alone, the beetles lay eggs in the fruit, the larvae eat the growing beans, and the damaged cherries are hollowed out. Leaving damaged cherries with larvae of the beetle in the field will make next year’s crop infested with beetles.

Each December we prune away the extra limbs and haul them to the “green” dump, a county operation that grinds and composts all plant material into bug-free mulch that they give back to the public at no charge.

December is a good time to do the last fertilization for the year and prune the trees for the new year, leaving three to five vertical stems on each trees. One third of the tree trunks are cut off at knee height every year, making those trees put out new vertical stems. After a year or two, they produce lots of coffee cherry. After that the stems get brittle, too tall and less productive, they are cut away and mulched or hauled to the “green” dump to be composted. Coffee trees often live a hundred years but they always look like stumps with three to five stems after they are a few years old.

Coffee flower buds grow in clusters and open into tiny bouquets that attract bees. The aroma of these gardenia relatives is unmistakable.

This year we had an inch of rain just before we pruned the trees. They immediately formed flowers and just after Christmas Day the miniature white flowers of the coffee covered the limbs like snow. Our honeybees hurried to collect nectar and pollen and help pollinate the flowers. The flowers will quickly transform into tiny green cherries that will grow over the next seven months and eventually turn bright red for a harvest by early August of 2018.

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 4.24.12 PMOur medium roast gets the richest, aromatic flavor from Kona Arabica beans. We ship them as whole beans so you can grind them at home for the freshest flavor possible. Our coffee is always carefully picked and processed by us and never mixed with beans from other places so it is 100% Heartfelt Kona estate coffee. To order send $35 per pound to PO Box 685, Kealakekua, HI 96750 or pay through Paypal to tim(at) Be sure to provide your shipping address. We pay the shipping and ship the next day by USPS Priority Mail. It arrives at any U.S. home in three to four business days. We contribute 10% of all sales to local community organizations that help people and the environment on the Big Island. There’s community in every cup of Heartfelt Kona Coffee.

Happy New Year!

Tim and Lisa





Heartfelt Kona Coffee

Just four years ago we were planning a move from our home in Fort Collins, Colorado, to the Big Island of Hawaii. Lisa researched the real estate options and found a property we quickly grew to love in the Captain Cook area above Kealakekua Bay, where we began building our dreams in 2014. Our farm is not large, but it suits our style. We built a bamboo house with off-grid solar power and saltwater storage batteries. We raise miniature Appaloosa horses along with two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and koi. Slowly but surely, we have planted a variety of fruit trees and rehabilitated the half acre of 300 Arabica coffee trees that were on the property to make them productive and healthy. Many of them are 100 years old or older but they had all been badly neglected for over a decade, overgrown by vines and ten foot tall grasses when we arrived, knowing virtually nothing about coffee farming.

The trees are wonderful teachers. And fortunately, there are lots of resources available for the novice. Some of the basics:

• It takes 5-7 pounds of coffee cherries to yield 1 pound of finished Kona coffee – leaving 4-6 lbs of waste or byproducts if you can figure out how to use them. Some farms make tea from cherry skins, while others compost the skins. We’ve opted to compost, with the horses contributing manure to the process of making new rich soil we use on the farm.

• In 2009, the Japanese coffee borer beetle made it to the Big Island from elsewhere and it now infests all coffee groves here. Beauvaria, a fungus that infects and destroys beetles, can be introduced in coffee groves through spraying the spores of the fungus. With regular application and careful management of the trees, we have only 5 to 10% damage to our crop, not 30 or 40% like the farms that don’t manage the beetles.

• There’s something to do year-round to keep the coffee healthy. In the dry season, usually from December through March, we prune, fertilize, irrigate and spray Beauvaria, along with enriching the soil base around the trees. As the coffee begins to grow in spring with the start of the rainy season, we’re fine pruning the small branches of new growth that would otherwise make the tree too dense and hard to pick. By early August, it’s time to pick with the harvest season usually lasting through some time in November.

• Reading the label is an art form when it comes to Kona coffee. If it says “estate,” it means the coffee comes from one farm, not mixed crops from multiple farms. If it says “100%,” it’s pure Kona, grown here on the Big Island, as opposed to a “Kona blend” which may include coffee from anywhere else in the world. Look for “medium roast” which is the preferred roast for Kona coffee to bring out the subtle, sweet finish that makes creamer and sweeteners unnecessary.

We are now three years into the experience and had our largest yield this year, about 1000 pounds of cherry, yielding more than 150 pounds of finished Kona coffee. That’s not a lot, but not bad considering our first year was a mere 40 pounds of finished coffee. We pick it ourselves, pulp off the cherry skins, sun dry the entire crop, and carefully select only the best, bug-free beans at the dry parchment stage to take for custom roasting and packaging by Greenwell Farms. They’ve been processing coffee for 137 years and are considered one of the top processors for estate coffee. We take great care and inspect every single bean on a glass table with lighting from below to remove damaged beans. Kona is known for excellent coffee. That’s more than good marketing – the combination of trees, weather, soils, and good stewardship in the handling of the product all contribute to quality and there are significant variations in the coffee produced by small farms. Each year, we keep enough for ourselves and sell the excess.

You can order our Heartfelt Kona Coffee from this site. We ship to the mainland United States by US Postal Service Priority Mail, so you receive it within three to four days. The cost of postage (about $7.15 a pound) is included in the price. 10% of all sales are donated to local charities that encourage people to care for each other and the island on which we live.

And just a reminder at this time of year – a pound of 100% Kona coffee makes a great Christmas gift for your friends, family, or office break room.


Tim and Lisa