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Stories about the final preparation for the world’s most famous triathlon

It’s difficult to feel stress when you’re sitting on the deck at Daylight Mind Coffee Company in Kailua-Kona.  Waves break on the lava below, a salty breeze eases the tropical heat, and the scent of fresh coffee soothes you. Perhaps that’s why you’ll often spot IM World Champion Sebastian Kienle or IM super-couple Luke McKenzie and Beth Gerdes recharging here after their morning workouts in the weeks leading up to the race.

Hailing from the official start of the IM World Championship, a parade of hundreds of swimmers pass by each morning hoping to log a solid open water training session before the wind picks up and it gets too choppy. As deep as the culture of triathlon runs in this town, however, only its coffee culture runs even deeper.

Despite the temperature regularly reaching 90°F (32°C) at this time of year, locals, tourists and athletes alike constantly stream in the front door to enjoy specialty coffee from all over the world, brewed to perfection and roasted just fifteen feet away.

Most mornings you will hear a low, mechanical rumbling coming from the back corner of the open air café and roastery. On these days, this man is responsible for the delicate task of turning green coffee into the beautiful beans that will be packaged and shipped all over the world or simply walked over to the baristas for customers to enjoy right here at Daylight Mind.

Brian Webb, Head Roaster at Daylight Mind, favors a light roast to highlight each coffee’s natural flavors rather than hide them with a darker roast. He carefully inspects the beans during the roasting process to ensure they are done to perfection.

Cupping is a very precise method of evaluating coffee by experiencing the aromas and flavors in each of its phases–dry whole beans and grounds, it is then brewed, and finally slurped and spit. There are timers and thermometers, even the little white cups and silver spoons are a very specific size and shape in order to level the playing field from cupping to cupping anywhere you go. Although this could sound intimidating to a coffee novice, the public cuppings held here twice a week are a safe space to share impressions and passion, both new and honed, for coffee.

Few have a passion for coffee as honed and infectious as Shawn Steinman, PhD, author, and Chief Science Officer at Daylight Mind. The first thing he admits is that he can talk coffee for days and as soon as he begins, you are ready to clear your schedule.

At a picturesque farm 1500ft above town called Papa Kona, these coffee cherries are handpicked during harvest season, washed to remove the outer skin, and then raked into neat rows to dry.

Under a close eye for one to three weeks when it is determined that it is dried to perfection, the final parchment layer is removed during the hulling process to reveal a little green bean. This is when Brian steps in to work his magic at the roastery.

Appreciation and demand for specialty coffee is growing on and off the island. The team at Daylight Mind works tirelessly not only to perfect their craft, but also to educate you about the process from seed to cup and help you discover what a phenomenal cup of coffee means to you.

If you’re not in Kona this year, you can start the process at home by ordering from Daylight Mind’s selection online here. You don’t need anything fancy to create the perfect cup if you start with high quality beans. Daylight Mind’s brew guide is a valuable tool for showing you the way.

If you are in Kona for the IM chaos, swing by Daylight Mind for a public cupping, the avocado smash on fresh baked sourdough, or simply sit back and enjoy the perfect cup with the perfect view.