Kailua-Kona, Hawaii - A Hawaiian coffee farm is threatening to sue an admitted coffee aficionado for "setting up camp" just outside the entrance to its property.
Big Island Growers and Coffee Roasters, a third-generation coffee grower and roaster of kona coffee, said in a press release that it is seeking grounds to sue Whole Bean, a self-proclaimed "coffeeholic," who asserts that he simply must have "the freshest possible coffee."
Bean purchases his coffee from BIG and immediately brews it in on his tailgate. Inside the topper-covered bed of his pickup truck is a small generator, coffee grinder, gallons of steam-distilled water, a coffee pot, a small hutchlike piece of furniture that he says contains "... all I need to be happy in life:" Two favorite coffee mugs, a case of coffee filters and a roll of paper towels. The remainder of the truck bed boasts "tourist items," a camp cot, pillow, bed linens and waterproof tarpaulin.
BIG, while acknowledging the considerable amount of kona purchased -- 365 pounds last year alone for his own personal use, plus Bean sends kona coffee to his many friends worldwide, resulting in another 3650 pounds sold in 2007, for a total of 4,015 pounds of coffee sold by BIG to Bean -- says Bean hampers BIG's gift shop business.
"Tourists come from around the world to shop and buy our coffee, only to encounter Mr. Bean just outside our gates and spend the day talking to him and drinking our coffee!" steamed the press release. "Why, by the time they get to our gift shop, the only thing they ask is 'Where's the restroom, please!' Sure, we sell plenty of coffee, but our profit is offset by our vastly increased costs to buy toilet paper!"
BIG admits Bean's presence "...may have helped our bottom line..." because BIG no longer has much kona left to sell to others and does not need to employ the services of a public relations firm. "Bean is actually our unofficial PR guy, because, without his coffee-colored pickup truck sitting outside our entrance, few tourists would be able to find us!"
Another interesting note is that BIG's supply of kona coffee, always limited by the fact that kona is only grown in a small area of the Big Island, is in large part sold to Bean, either for his express use or to be shipped to his friends. "He has become our largest customer, so we have been humoring him, letting him "camp out" near our entrance."
It seems odd that BIG would threaten litigation against its best customer, but Bean thinks it could be merely a public relations ploy. "Why would they sue me?" Bean asks. "I am not only their best customer, but also their biggest promoter!"
One mystery recently been solved: What Bean does with all those coffee grounds. It seems this fellow has an entrepreneurial bent, drying and repackaging the beans and selling them as "Rare Kona Coffee Grounds Mulch" and making almost as much per pound as the original beans!
Bean lives well on the proceeds of his coffeeholism by selling his autograph -- a drawing of a coffee bean with the initials "WB" inside and other small tourist items like postcards and maps of the Big Island with a star denoting his current location, which he applies by hand, "In case BIG makes me move!"
Bean recommends the following website for those seeking ways of reusing coffee grounds: www.greendaily.com/2007/12/28/21-ways-to-use-old-coffee-grounds/
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