Something crazy happened to me this year. It started at the end of last summer and it was no intention of my own.
My dearest husband has two passions in life. Both take liquid form. Beer and Coffee. I like to think that I showed him the way to good beer. He likes to disagree. But since this is my blog, I’m going with what I hold true and that is that Wade would still be throwing back the New Castles if it wasn’t for me. However, I will give proper credit to him when I say; Wade has turned me into a coffee drinker!
Most of you are thinking, ” What, Ashley?! How could you fall into the dark side. Coffee is terrible and shouldn’t be consumed.” I know, I know and for 30 years I avoided it. I held my head high and said “No, I’ll just take a water”. I was strong but Wade won. It started when it was time to get back into the swing of things for the school year. “Here Ash, this will help. Just a cup to help you get going for the first day”… week…. month…. forever. I now drink coffee when I wake in the morning, when I get home from an exhausting day at work (which is everyday lately, it has been one hell of a March), multiple times on the weekend.
Did you know this stuff was addicting?
We were driving to Cape Hedo and it is a long drive, especially when you decide to take the longer way. Which we did. We drove up the east side of the island and took our time savoring the beauty of Okinawa. Then it happened, around 2 o’clock we were suddenly in need of coffee. No amount of 90’s r&b can revive you from the landslide of drowsiness. Hiro Coffee Farm appears right at that moment in our drive.
Okinawa actually juuust barely falls in the “coffee belt” latitude of the world, in this way it isn’t quite ideal for coffee growing.
According to good ol’ Google, coffee in subtropical areas needs to be grown at high altitude with clear wet and dry seasons. Okinawa would fall into the kinda/sorta of that category. So it can grow, if you really take the time and care to make it happen. Hiro Coffee Farm does just that.
Located about 20 minutes north of Higashi village is the tiniest, most cutest, coffee shop. This little farm is just perfectly out of place. There is nothing else nearby, other than a ramen cafe a few minutes ahead. The building is painted just like you would imagine Lisa Frank’s house to be. A whimsical mix of pinks, yellows and teals. How could you not stop here? Very un-okinawan.
Hiro Coffee Farm started in 1993 by Hiro. Hiro learned all about coffee farming while spending some time working with his uncle in Hawaii. Hiro passed several years ago but his children still work very hard to carry on his tradition and take their coffee just as seriously. Remember I said Okinawa wasn’t ideal for growing coffee? Well in 2012 Hiro Coffee Farm was destroyed in a typhoon. The building took a hit but the real devastation was in the plants. Subtropical coffee has one growing and one maturation season. So you can imagine how big of a set back this would be.
Yet, here it is 2016 and they are back up and running. They used it as a time to start over and regroup. The building was rebuilt and painted as you see here and the trees are carefully being cultivated. You can see the pride they are putting into this shop, all in honor of their father. The coffee trees are kept under a netted structure to help preserve them, but they do have one you can take a peak at. I don’t believe they are roasting 100% of their own beans yet, in the meantime they use the same type of bean they grow. They grow Brazilian coffee, which is probably where they actually were inspired for their paint choices and not Lisa Frank. Inside it is small, but they sell all types of candy and snacks from all over the world.
We didn’t stay long, we were on a mission after all. In the time we did wander around we really enjoyed it. The coffee was good but I loved the atmosphere. It is unlike other okinawan cafes, known for their tranquil, quiet corners. Hiros is busy, vibrant and beautiful. I couldn’t love it more.
So when you are driving way up north, on the high hills of Okinawa, in the middle of nowhere, you will definitely come across Hiro Coffee Farm. You just can’t miss it.