Brazen Hazen

Meet the Roaster

Meet the Roaster


At Brazen Hazen, we believe that coffee is an art form and strive to provide you with an experience with each cup of coffee. This standard is only achieved through precise technique, refined expertise, and commitment to excellence. That's where Brazen Hazen's roaster, Brian Axelrod, comes in. Brian has gone by many titles; "Roaster," "Chief Roast Master," "Master Roaster," and at one time his LinkedIn profile even said, "Head Bean Wrangler."

Brian and his wife, Amy, provide "tree to cup" services for Big Island coffee farms, including Brazen Hazen. From harvesting, to pulping and separating, to soaking and rinsing, to drying, to hulling and grading, to roasting, to packaging and shipping, Brian manages every step of the process.

Brian's is one of only 3 or 4 operators on the Big Island that offer "tree to cup" coffee. Most farmers lack the equipment to do every step of the process themselves. By keeping all the production in-house, Brian has complete control of the quality of the product he provides. He says as soon as the coffee is picked, it starts deteriorating. His job is to preserve the coffee and remove imperfections so that the final product reaching the customer is the best that it can possibly be.

Brian has been honing his craft as a master roaster since 2007. When he and Amy came to the Big Island from Ohio, they fell under the tutelage of Bob Nelson, the then-owner of Lehuula Farms. He shared the fruits of his more than 20 years of experience running a coffee farm, eventually passing the reins and selling the farm to Brian and Amy. Building on that foundation, Brian toured other facilities on the island and conducted extensive research on best practices to perfect their process. The result is the cultivation of a true standard of excellence.

"If I'm putting my name on it, I want it to be the highest quality it can be," he says.

That meticulous level of scrutiny makes it to the final product, meaning Brazen Hazen always offers only the highest-grade beans.

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The Perfect Cup of Coffee

The Perfect Cup of Coffee


We already think our 100 percent Kona coffee beans are some of the best in the world, but we get a lot of strong opinions about the best WAY to prepare and enjoy our coffee. Coffee is an artisanal beverage, and variances in the brewing process can provide vast differences in the final drinking experience. So how does one brew the perfect cup of coffee?

The perfect cup of coffee must start with perfect beans. Brazen Hazen beans, grown on the lush slopes of the Big Island of Hawaii, have a unique flavor profile that Brazen Hazen owner and coffee connoisseur David Duron is proud to share with his customers.

"I find 100 percent Kona coffee to be much smoother than coffee grown in other regions," says David.

In addition to the perfect coffee-growing climate, David says some of that distinct Kona flavor can be attributed to the quality regulations and heritage farming practices employed to grow it. Kona beans are always hand-picked, never with machines, ensuring only perfectly ripe cherries get harvested.

With the finest beans, David weighs in on his favorite way to turn them into the perfect cup of coffee.

"I love this conversation because flavor varies so much depending on how the coffee is prepared," says David. "Even within a given preparation, the taste can vary with grind size, coffee/water ratio, water temperature, etc."

Roasting is a critical part of the flavor process and requires precision and timing. The difference between perfectly roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds. At Brazen Hazen, coffee is always roasted in small batches to ensure freshness and consistency of flavor.

"Generally, I would describe our coffee as being rich and nutty with notes of chocolate and fruit," says David who offers both medium and dark roasts of his beans.

But what's the difference? Like the name suggests, dark roasts spend more time in the roasting process, making for bolder flavor and less acidity. However, more time in the roasting process can also mean more uniformity in flavor resulting in less nuance and fewer individual or distinct characteristics of the beans prior to roasting. So, for more subtlety or complexity, there's an argument to be made for medium roast.

This choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and David has his.

"While I enjoy both roasts, I am partial to the Dark Roast," he admits. "I really enjoy the flavors that pop as a result of the roasting process. To me it is robust but of both worlds."

Not sure which one to try? David has come up with the perfect gift idea.

"I'll send friends who haven't tried my coffee yet the Mixed Roast Gift Basket. That way they get the wonderful presentation of the gift basket and our two different roasts so that they can try each and determine which flavor best suits them," he says.

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Activities and Places

Activities and Places

Authentic Activities

Eka Canoe Adventures specializes in Kona's famous manta ray snorkel experience- a must do while on the Big Island. With no barbs, stingers or teeth, these gentle giants glide effortlessly through the water to feed on plankton while snorkelers float comfortably on the surface. Eka Canoe Adventures keeps their group sizes small, so guests get an intimate interaction with an animal long revered by the Hawaiian people. Their boat is one of only a few accurately recreated, traditional Hawaiian double-hull canoes and is the world's only
commercially licensed Hawaiian canoe.

Not only do they offer unique encounters, Eka Canoe Adventures also supports the non-profit which uses Hawaiian canoes as a vehicle for youth to create a sense of place and develop intellectual skills and cultural values. The foundation promotes social tolerance and environmental responsibility through the perpetuation of cultural traditions and practices of Native Hawaiians.

Aloha Adventure Farms is only a few minutes' drive away from our Big Island Bed & Breakfast and offers tours that combine history, culture, and adventure. Their Polynesian
ATV Adventure tour
takes guests through a Hawaiian rainforest to explore cultural heritages of Polynesian peoples from Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. Guests can
participate in traditional hands-on activities and games with Polynesian guides. Join their Wood Carving and spend some time with a Polynesian 4th generation Master Carver to create your very own authentic wood carving. Made from top quality wood grown locally on the Big Island, the finished carvings make perfect authentic souvenirs.

Hawaii Forest and Trail offers a variety of tours to explore the many natural wonders of the Big Island, but their Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Give Back Experience is something special. It combines their popular Maunakea Summit & Stars tour with a volunteer opportunity to support the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative. This community-supported non-profit aims to protect and restore critically endangered native Hawaiian dry forest habitat.

Interpretive guides lead you on a light hike through an endangered Hawaiian dry forest, teaching about native species including their cultural and ecological importance. Participants then take part in real conservation work such as seed collection. After a visit to the dry forest, the tour culminates in a visit to the summit of Maunakea, a site considered sacred to many Hawaiian people. Watch the sunset, enjoy a picnic dinner, and marvel in the world-class clarity of the Hawaiian night sky with a private star show using a high-powered telescope.

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Kona Coffee

Kona Coffee



Though the coffee plant thrives in the rich volcanic soil of Hawaiian Islands, coffee is not native to Hawaii. The first commercial Hawaiian coffee was imported from Brazil, but it is an Arabica variety first imported from Guatemala in 1892 that comprises the majority of Kona coffee today, known as “Kona typica.”

Sugarcane was being grown extensively throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but the rugged slopes in the district of Kona, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, was unsuitable for growing sugarcane. Instead Kona became the center of the island’s coffee industry. Coffee growing was once a large-scale plantation industry, but the 1899 crash of the international coffee market compelled large growers to break up their land into smaller manageable plots which could be leased for family farms. Small-scale coffee production has endured as a unique trait of the Kona district and most Kona coffee beans are still grown on family farms.


Coffee plants are hardy, but they grow best in tropical climates with bright sun, ample cloud cover, and regular (but not torrential) rain. Kona Coffee is grown in an area approximately 26 miles in length and 3 miles wide, mostly between 700 feet and 2,000 feet of elevation on the slopes of Mount Hualalai. This area is known as the “Kona coffee belt.” The area is known for consistent morning sunshine followed by drizzly overcast afternoons. That combined with volcanic soil rich in minerals creates perfect growing conditions for coffee. Perfectly sheltered behind the massive mountains Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the coffee trees are uniquely protected from harsh trade winds (In Hawaiian, Kona means “leeward” or “without wind.”)

Located right in this sweet spot for coffee cultivation, Brazen Hazen coffee is grown on property featuring rocky, volcanic soil which provides our Kona coffee beans with essential nutrients. To keep our plants happy and healthy, our coffee trees are planted along the natural contours of the land in the Old-Kona fashion. Many of our trees sit beneath sprawling canopies of avocado and mango trees, which provide additional shade.

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