I was super-impressed with Sunshower Farms’ Dawn blend, a lightly roasted estate coffee grown on their 8-acre farm in the Kona coffee belt of Hawaii. The good folks at Sunshower also sent me a sample of their signature Anuenue Blend. Anuenue means “rainbow” and read on to see how this coffee got its name! Sunshower farms was generous to offer 15% off all orders for readers. Use the coupon code “KCCoffeeGeek” until 4/1/17!
Purchase this coffee for $23/8oz bag (prices range from $6-$40 options)
Sunshower Farms Dawn review (and lots of photos of this idyllic place!)
SUNSHOWER FARMS ANUENUE BLEND
In 2012, Kate and Doug Hickey decided they’d had enough of Chicago’s weather and their corporate jobs in law and finance. A year later they found themselves falling in love with the western slopes of Hawaii and they bought an 8-acre farm in Holualoa, prime real estate in Kona’s coffee belt. Their first harvest was in 2015 and while the 2400ft/732masl growing range doesn’t sound like much compared to pretty anywhere else coffee grows, the latitude that Hawaii sits out magnifies some of the effects that other coffee growing regions rely on altitiude for. This made for what I found to be a very complex and delicious coffee with their lightly roasted (how hard is that to find from Hawaiian roasters??! First one I’ve ever seen!) Dawn blend. Additionally, Sunshower Farms raises goats, grows microgreens and has one of the only, if not the only, homebrew stores on the big island! Oh, and with a view straight west from the slopes of the big island’s mountains, Sunshower Farms is often the place for weddings, dinners, and events of all sorts. Check out my previous review for pictures of this amazing farm!
Sunshower Farms considers these blends to be Estate coffees, meaning they consist of Kona’s three highest grades only. Today’s Anuenue Blend (meaning “rainbow” in Hawaiian) gets its name from the fact that it is blended from three roast levels ranging from light to medium, so you end up with a rainbow of flavors in the cup. Kate says this blend offers a perfect balance of bitterness, acidity and fullness and to expect flavors like, “anise, rye, vanilla, plum, dark fruits, Washington cabernet, crushed rocks and lingering cherries.” This is the first time I’ve seen crushed rocks as a descriptor for coffee, but I have seen that used in the beer world and it beckons toward a mineral-like flavor found in some styles of beer. With Kate and Doug’s interest in beer and homebrewing, in mind, this makes sense!
I used my standard 1:16 pourover ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in notNeutral Gino dripper with white Kalita 185 filters and a Handground grinder set on 3.5. I would definitely group this in with a more traditional Hawaiian coffee vibe with the inclusion of a medium roast in the blend, but it’s still very, very far from the super oily, very dark roast treatment so much of Hawaii’s coffee gets. Buy Sunshower’s Midnight if that’s what you’re looking for!
There are some nice, mellow, smooth roast notes (none of the metallic twang that sometimes comes from spending more time in the roaster) in this cup. Dark, plummy chocolate notes abound in this Anuenue Blend. The black tea notes from Dawn are replaced here by wine-like complexity while Dawn’s lemon-lime acidity still gives this sweet cup balance and a brightness boost mid-sip. Although there is a lot to taste in this cup, I think the flavors really meld and it gives a sense of less overall complexity than Sunshower’s Dawn offering, but that’s to be expected since this blend has darker tones and roastier notes to it. There is a long, lingering aftertaste to this coffee and it’s pretty much straight plum minutes after a sip. So delicious! This would be an amazing everyday cup and I think this has a lot to offer to both someone looking for a sweet, clean and delicious Hawaiian coffee that is not too far removed from a crowd-pleasing roast level and someone looking for nuance. Anuenue would pair great with food and this would be more than welcome with a stack of pancakes or a late-morning brunch. The coffee has a little bit of nuttiness, too, which is a perfect complement to the rest of the flavors in this cup.
If I were only going to buy one coffee from Sunshower Farms, it would definitely be Dawn. You don’t get many opportunities to truly taste Kona coffee with a light roast, so that would have to be your choice. If I had to say which coffee probably would appeal to most coffee drinkers, then Anuenue wins hands down. Dawn was super complex and an amazing experience, but Anuenue is blended for drinkability and so for the average coffee drinker who may not be on a hunt for origin flavors, it’d be impossible not to absolutely love the flavors in this cup. Kate is doing a fantastic job roasting these coffees (all are roasted to order, so they will arrive to you fresh) and Kate and Doug should be applauded both for their attention to this craft and their willingness to take a huge risk and do what they wanted to do with their lives! Amazing couple and these coffees are top notch. Make sure when you order to use the coupon code “KCCoffeeGeek” and you’ll save 15% and keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram accounts for a giveaway contest for one of Sunshower’s coffees or a sampler with a bunch of them! Woot!
One final note, yes, Kona coffee is pricy. Keep in mind this is the only place in all of coffeedom where the crop is grown in a “first world” country. That means Sunshower’s workers make 20x or more the daily average wage of coffee workers everywhere else. They have health insurance, make overtime and have workers’ compensation coverage. If you live in the US, you know how much that costs, and so, yes, Kona coffee is expensive as a result. This is why I believe so strongly in Sunshower’s lighter roasts, though, because if you get most Hawaiian coffee it’s simply nuked into French/Italian roast territory in the roaster. While I like a good dark roast myself, if you’re going to spend this much on coffee, experience what makes this coffee unique from other origins with one of Sunshower’s lighter roasts because the really dark roasts most Hawaiian producers favor could be a Brazil, Kenya, Sumatra or anything else and you would never know.