We stoppped in at Bay View Farm during our January 2008 trip to the Island of Hawaii.
For me, it was a visit to "the source." I am a multi-year mail-order customer because I have tried a number of100% Kona coffees over the years and for me, their beans and roasting are consistently the best. Kona coffee, like Burgundy wine, has "terroir." That is, even within the Kona district, different areas ahve different microclimates and elevations and the beans have distinctinve flavors. Roasting also matters: many people are used to dark-roast coffee, but for me, medium-roast best enhances the delicate flavors of the Kona beans. Bay View offers both medium and dark roast.
The Bay View coffee gazebo, next to the roastery, smelled heavenly. The friendy proprietor offered generous tastes of their Extra Fancy in medium and dark roasts, as well as the French roast and Vanilla flavored coffee. The roastery had just finished for the day and I was able to get 5 pounds of medium roast peaberry, roasted that day. My husband, not a coffee drinker, enjoyed a sample of the chocolate covered beans and the mac nuts and purchased some of the chocolate covered mac nuts for himself.
Bay View has a fantastic view of Kealakekua Bay--you can sit on the shady gazebo porch and look over 1000 feet down to the bay and ocean. The drive there is incredibly scenic, along a narrow but well paved road (Painted Church Road) through lush vegetation and past people's homes and coffee farms. A real plus for us is that Bay View has a well paved and level parking area by the gazebor and roastery--no intimidating and steep, semi-paved driveway!
Bay View Farm is about a half mile on the Captain Cook (north) side of the famous Painted Chiurch, on the makai (ocean) side of the road. They have a coffee bag hanging out as a sign, so hopefully you are driving slowly to enjoy the views or you might miss it.
Top five reasons to visit Bay View Farm: (1) the coffees, (2) the welcoming proprietors and staff; (3) the location near Painted Church--a "must see" in Kona--and easy car access and parking, (4) the generous samples and variety of coffees and roasts, (5) the coffee! :-)
I can smell my coffee as I write this and know that it will keep my memories of a great half daytrip to Kona fresh when I get back to the cold East Coast!