Help us on Rain Forest Coffee Farm, Hawaii


United States

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 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks

  • Description


    We are David and Ana and we lovingly care for a lush 6 acre Organic Coffee and Macadamia nut farm 2000 feet above Place of Refuge National Park.Our old lab/golden retriever mix and 4 cats and a small flock of chickens keep life interesting. Because we live in a rain forest niche microclimate zone, it is a real jungle here with ferns everywhere and ever so many lusty weeds to control! We prefer to have a couple or at least two friends who know each other well. Sometimes we can accommodate an individual. We ask for four to five hours a day four to five days a week (16-25 hours) but we are very flexible and accommodating. We do ask workers to be ready to go to work by 7:30 to 8am. We usually enjoy a coffee break around 10:30 for half an hour and that is often when workers use the internet.
    Except in coffee picking season (in late October thru late December when time is of the essence) you can work your hours in to accommodate your travel plans to other areas of this amazing island. Even then we are somewhat flexible but lose ripe coffee if it stays on the trees too long. After work you may go to the beach or take hikes or play games or do your artistic stuff (painting/writing/??)

    Our nearby airport is KOA and we do offer our workers back and forth trips to the airport. there is a $40 fee for airport pickup which will be refunded after one week of work. There is no charge for returning to the airport after the agreed upon work exchange is completed.

    Our usually clear sunny mornings are cool and afternoons are a pleasant 75 F. most of the year. The farm is seriously isolated (it's a 30 minute walk down and 45 minute walk up from the main road) and incredibly beautiful. We enjoy gorgeous Kona sunsets many evenings. Rain is usual in the afternoons from April to November and frequent other months.

    Please do not consider this farm if you do not value solitude and glory in the beauty of nature and aspire to live very simply and very sustainably. If you are not expecting somewhat primitive facilities (it is a step above camping) do not come here. We recently put running water in the worker kitchen and hope by the end of August to have a worker bathroom with composting toilet and hand washing sink. There may or may not be a shower but our family shower is a few minutes walk away and has hot water and flushing toilet.

    Our rainy season is April to October/November and during this time you can expect to wear organic mosquito repellant to stay comfortable. We also suggest you wear loose long pants and long sleeved shirts of light weight fabrics during the rainy season. We wear hats and have extras to share. I have extra gloves but bring your favorites if you like.

    There are bananas and avocados and macnuts and lemons year round. Oranges and tangerines are typically late winter and spring delights. Guavas and lilikoi are often available as well. Our coffee is superb!

    We spend a lot of time controlling weeds as we are wetter than any other part of the West Coast of Hawaii's Big Island.
    The sounds of the coqui frogs at night are fairly loud due to our frequent rains (most afternoons from April to November) and of course there are mosquitos too. We offer mosquito coils and a variety of bug sprays (some organic and some with Deet).

    You will need a light source (headlamps are best but a flashlight or cell phone with flashlight app works too) as we are off the grid. We'll have some battery light but if you want to read after dark you must have a headlamp. You will need sturdy work shoes and comfy socks. We have several sizes of muck boots to share and work gloves. Bathing suits and aloha wear are very cheap at local thrift stores.

    We have snorkel gear, boogie boards and kayaks to borrow.

    Please bring your positive attitude and your creativity and curiosity. We are happy to share with you what we have learned and we are sure you have things to teach us too.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help in the house
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We offer one or more trips to cultural sites and we have lots of reading material about the Hawaiian culture and history which we are happy to share. David knows quite a bit about the sailing and canoe culture of Polynesia. We know quite a lot about coffee and the plants on our farm. Our reading materials include books about our and other volcanoes, Hawaiian history, Hawaiian crafts, Hawaiian plants, birds and fishes and whales, Polynesian voyaging canoes, and much more. We are serious readers and book collectors!

  • Help


    First, we expect TWO friends/partners (straight gay no matter) to make a minimum commitment of THREE WEEKS. Longer stays are possible.

    WORK EXPECTED: see the first section. I should mention that we try to offer a variety of tasks and give our workawayers a choice. No work in the house is expected or required but if you are good at cleaning and organizing and want to help in the house, that is always an option.

    Rarely can we accept just one volunteer but it might be possible. We cannot agree for long term stays until the three week initial period allows you to say you are happy here and us to say we are happy with you.

    In the late winter we mainly need help with coffee pruning (we prune and volunteers would be cleaning up from pruning-removing branches and dragging brush). In the spring there is coffee fertilizing and macnut fertilizing. In summer, gardening and general maintenance is needed and in the fall from October to January there is coffee to be picked.

    Macnuts fall year round and need to be picked up from the ground. The chickens live near the worker area so feeding the chickens would be appreciated. (And yes, our roosters may crow at weird hours..which is true of most rural areas here.)

    Our website is not functioning and is going to be recreated so if you are web friendly, maybe you can help with this. Marketing our coffee needs some help too.

    We'd ideally like you to be interested in living an organic lifestyle and helping us maintain our organic food gardens. We have lots of possible building projects if you are handy.

    If you are an artist or writer, there is enough free time to pursue your interests and you are sure to be inspired by the natural beauty of our little corner of paradise.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English and limited Spanish

  • Accommodation


    We have a basic simple cabin for sleeping (two single bunks) and a similar basic cabin for cooking and eating and hanging out. Each is floored and has a combination of screens and plywood panel sides and clear (sorta) roofs. I say again, basic and a step above camping. I provide linens and pillows and blankets. (We offer you mosquito coils which work pretty well to keep these areas clear of the bugs.)

    You will need to purchase special beverages and sweets or luxury items (meat/fancy cheese/prepared foods, etc.)

    We have a heated shower and conventional flush toilet about 2 blocks from the worker cabins. My the end of August we should have our worker bathroom in place adjacent to the worker kitchen.

    Hitching rides is safe and easy unlike on the Mainland USA. Bus service (Hele-On) is sometimes useful though not frequent. Our neighbors are pretty nice about giving rides if you happen to be walking up or down the 1.6 miles between the main road and our farm.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We do NOT use tobacco at all. We do drink alcohol in moderation. If you use tobacco or drink alcohol to excess you will be asked to leave.

    Our internet access does not reach up to the cabins but you may come down to use the wifi. Wifi is only currently available when the sun is shining. We have a place to charge your cell phone/computer.

    We have good cell phone reception. (except for Sprint). I have AT&T and have had Verizon. So far no one has had problems using their cell phone but we cannot promise all services are good here.
    I recommend What's App for your cell phone (if you are not from the USA) to keep in touch.

    We are close to the three best dolphin and swimming beaches in this area. We will offer a lift to a three times a month potluck at Hookena Beach on Wednesday. There is a potluck the first Wednesday of the month at a nearby State Park (not at a beach). When we go into Kailua-Kona (about 40 minutes north) shopping, usually at least once or twice a week, we can offer you a ride most trips.

    Once again, our facilities are primitive and our farm is isolated. If you don't like camping, this farm is not for you.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    20-24 hours per week (we are very flexible)

Mads and Mathias from Denmark enjoy a music event
Mads makes friends with a baby Jackson's chameleon while working in the coffee lot
Mathias and our red poodle both have curly red hair and enjoy the ride home from a delicious potluck dinner
It's rare to see a rainbow on our farm. Here you also see "Kona Snow" which is blooming coffee trees in early spring
This shows a bit of Kealakekua Bay visible from our farm and a very famous spot on Big Island

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