In the former sugarcane fields on the slopes of Mauna Loa, a number of small farmers are growing coffee beans whose quality equals—some say surpasses—Kona’s. More and more tasting competitions seem to agree; in any case, this farm and mill in tiny Pahala provides an excellent excuse to break up the long drive to the main entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 23 miles northeast. Free 45-minute guided tours are offered three times daily; enjoy tastings of coffee and macadamia nuts throughout the day in the pleasant visitor center. Note: The 10-day Kau Coffee Festival ( in early May includes hikes, music, hula, farm tours, and plenty of coffee samples.