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Denise you had to pay for a coffee tour? We've never had to. Of course the only one we've toured was on the Big Island, Bay View Farms. Very low key, but fun to do once. We do stop at their tasting room each time we go though. One of the nicest tasting rooms I've seen (gorgeous view) and the coffee is good as well.
I buy coffee from a small farmer on the Big Island near Captain Cook. Last time we were there, we stopped by for a tour. No charge, but not a large operation. We have also stopped at Greenwell's severla times.
The coffee tours on the Big Island aren't real tours. They usually walk you a few feet to a coffee bean tree, show you a cherry and bean, show you the pits and dryers, and then off to the gift stand with some free samples. It takes about 10-15 minutes.
Bay View Farms and Greenwell have bigger operations and good vista views. Otherwise there are about a 100 small farms off the various roads in South Kona that will give you a tour.
Is it worth it? It's a short stop if you are in the area (going to Captain Cook's, Place of Refuge, or toward VNP), so I would totally do at least one.
I wouldn't drive all the way from Waikoloa for to visit a coffee farm, but there is tons to do and see in that South Kona area.
We also did the Bay View Farms tour 13 years ago. I don't drink coffee, but dh does, but even I enjoyed the tasting room. It was an interesting tour. We called ahead and were the only people doing the tour at the time, so it was very personal. I don't remember if there was a charge, but I don't think so. We bought plenty of coffee and mac nuts (they have THE BEST mac nuts: huge and unsalted) (both are excellent souvenirs for the folks back home, way better than Hawaiian shirts or something else silly) to make it a worthwhile tour for them and us.
We also went to Bay View. Neither of us is a coffee drinker, but we enjoyed the tour none-the-less. We bought some coffee as gifts. After the tour, we stopped at the Painted Church. Both were part of a longer day of sightseeing.
We have done and LOVE the Greenwell Farms tour on the Big Island. Last we were there, it was free (Sept07). Kona Joe's however, is no longer free. It is all about the money with them . . . and with his background in California wineries, it was probably only a matter of time before they started charging. We expressed our displeasure in Sept07 by leaving and letting them know it didn't seem a value to pay to see how they work and to market to us.