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A Kau farm at risk of losing land to grow world’s best coffee

Kau roasted coffee for sale to restaurants and retailers
Kau roasted coffee for sale to restaurants and retailers

Lorie Obra told the Big Island Tribune Monday that the uncertainty of the pending sale of the land where her Kau coffee farm, Rusty’s Hawaiian , has her worried. The property in this pending sale consists of 5,880 acres, 300 of which have been leased by Obra.

Back in the 1990’s, Rusty and Lorie Obra retired from full time careers and started running a coffee farm in Kau. Starting with nothing but the knowledge that Kona coffee was already world famous and a long history of growing coffee, the Obras had a high learning curve to master the art of growing and processing coffee.

Although Kona coffee has been well known, Kau coffee was not. Kona coffee growers would say that the Kau coffee was inferior. This discouraged many Kau coffee farmers. Unfortunately, after encouraging fellow coffee farmers to persevere, Rusty Obra passed away in 2006. His wife, Lorie, kept their dream alive.

Now, Lorie Obra struggles with the anxiety that their dream and many years of hard work and dedication to Rusty’s Hawaiian are potentially at its end depending on the pending sale of the property. Everything lies on what the new owners of the property will want to do with the land and the current leasing farms.

Consumers can find Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee at local farmers markets in Kau and Hilo as well as from their website: