East Meets West
by Les Drent
Yours truly amidst the
first organic coffee plantings at Blair Estate Coffee
Farm in Kauai. After 15 months of growth a late
winter flowering will bring coffee in the fall of
When I realize that the last 13 years of my life has
been spent on an island in the Pacific far from the
roots of my New England upbringing I suppose its
only natural to look around and reflect on the past,
present and future of this journey. Couple this with
10 years of running a coffee and publishing business
here in Hawaii and I start to realize that my roots
here in the islands have grown deep into my soul.
Nearly two years ago I made the decision to attach
myself permanently to the aina (land) on the island
of Kauai and pioneer a new frontier in coffee farming.
The choice to settle in Kauai and raise organic coffee
while running my Coffee Times 100% Kona coffee roasting
business has complemented an already fantastic way of
Coffee production in Kona continues to soar to new
heights and the hundreds of farms now existing there
produce, hands down, the finest coffee known to man!
Realizing this I felt it was time to explore a new opportunity
and new taste in Hawaiian coffee.
Choosing the island of Kauai to seek out this dream
was actually quite simple as some places and people
in life just speak directly to your heart. The last
place to have such an impact was a small village in
northern Vermont called Stowe, a tiny but lively New
England ski village where it seems everyone knows everyone
else... and even the newcomers feel right at home. While
I sometimes catch myself dreaming of returning to that
place I know my heart is truly matched with Kauai and
without this island my life simply wouldnt be
Design work stopped on
this day as two feet of fresh fell across Vermont.
Les (left), David (center), and Kim (right) head
for the trees in Stowe.
Meeting of the minds
come together in Stowe as plans are drawn for the
building project. Left to right: Jane, Abigail and
Kim Brown (architect), Les Drent (owner of LBD Coffee),
Ian Andersen and Scott Dorwart (master carpenter
and lead builder).
So rather than trying to keep the luring of this past
in check I found it easier to surround myself with a
part of New England here in Kauai by building a little
bit of that world into the life Im living now.
A computer assisted design
rendering of the future visitor center at Blair
With the help of some talented and special friends
this will all be possible as the summer of 2003 will
be spent constructing a Yankee style post and beam barn
on a coffee farm in Hawaii. Doubling as a residence
this utilitarian structure will serve as destination
point for coffee lovers throughout the world. The visitor
center and retail shop will feature on sight coffee
roasting, milling demonstrations, orchard tours and
a full coffee bar where visitors will be able to taste
not only organic coffee from the farm but 100% Kona
and other island coffees as well.
With the help of family and friends this effort should
culminate with a grand opening by Christmas. At that
point the first planting of coffee trees will reach
two years of age and the Fall of 2004 is expected to
bring the first bountiful harvest at Blair Estate organic
coffee farm. To stay up to date with the progress being
made at the farm everyone is welcome to visit the farms
web site at. Ill do my best to keep the pictures
rolling throughout the summer as the doors will soon
be open for your next visit to Hawaii!
may submit editorial comments to any of our stories
by sending an email to email@example.com.
We would be happy to attach your comments and feedback
to anything we publish online. Thank you for your interest."
appeared originally in Coffee Times print magazine and
appears online for archival purposes only. Any use or
reprinting of these stories without the expressed written
consent of the author is prohibited.