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Okinawa's Coffee Secret

January 22, 2011

Many of us are familiar with Southeast Asian coffee and may have tried a few from Sumatra, Thailand, Indochina, and even Vietnam. We might wonder where the Japanese coffees are, since the islands are in the same latitudes as Hawaii and other big coffee producers.

One Japanese island – Okinawa – is known as a great tourist spot, particularly the Pacific beaches. Writer Mandy Bartok recently visited the northern part of Okinawa, where he found a coffee plantation farmed by the Adachi family for the last 15 years. The late Hiroshi Adachi picked this area –Yanbaru - for its fertile soil in which to plant his 1000 Brazilian coffee trees. Having learned coffee farming from a relative in Kona, he dreamt of doing the same thing in his native Japan. After three years the bushes were flourishing and they now yield about a ton of beans every winter.

At the Adachi farm, you can not only stop and walk through the coffee bushes, but you can watch the roasting in the outside kitchen and pick up a few bags of freshly roasted beans to take home. You can also taste the Adachi’s coffee in a small modest coffee shop on the grounds. Picture roasted coffee beans lying around you on the floor, giving off their wonderful aroma every time a passing foot steps on one. Service includes cookies and iced water with a steeping coffee leaf and lemongrass.

The Adachi’s coffee is only sold in the Yanbaru area of Okinawa and is not exported. For the Japanese, this small out of the way coffee shop would be a great relief from Starbucks, which has stores not only in the bigger island of Japan but also Okinawa.

Japan - another tea-drinking country experiencing a growing love for coffee.

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