October 26, 2007--Posted at 11:40 a.m. CDT
JONESBORO--Dr. Jim Ameika spends most of his time in the operating room working to repair a patient's heart, but when he's not in the O.R. he's building his coffee bean business. You see Dr. Ameika owns a coffee estate in Kona, Hawaii. Kona is the only place in U.S. where coffee is grown. There's a micro climate in Kona that has a 12,000 foot mountain that produces rain each day, the perfect climate to produce coffee beans.
Back in 1997, Dr. Ameika and his wife Karin bought some property about 2 thousand feet up Kona mountain and Kona Cloud Coffee Estates was born. "Definitely not a casual endeavour," said Dr. Ameika. "Once we bought the land we said now what do we do?" They had to learn the business from the ground up, literally. It takes 3 or 4 years to grow coffee beans, and then every Kona Cloud bean is picked by hand. Since coffee deosn't ripen all at once, you have to make multiple passes through the orchard picking nothing but the ripe beans, then maybe two or three weeks later, going back and picking them again.
After five years of growing and cultivating his beans, Ameika opened his Jonesboro storage and roasting facility, which is believed to be the only one of it's kind in the mid south. "We have it in a climate controled atmosphere," said Ameika. "Coffee needs to stored in 60 degrees with 60 percent humidity, other wise it will dry out and lose it's quality. We have a storage facility where we store about a ton of our coffee all the time."
Dr. Ameika sells his coffee beans anywhere in the world, thanks to the internet and when there's an order, that's when Kona Cloud office manager Andrew Williamson get's to work, firing up the computerized roaster. "Everything is computerized so that we can consistently roast and get the same batch everytime," said Williamson.
It takes about 30 minutes to roast 30 pounds of beans, then Williamson bags the beans immediately to seal in the rich roasted flavor. Kona Cloud Coffee is 100% Kona coffee with no blends or flavors, completely controlled from bean to brew, from Hawaii to Jonesboro to the world.