Rich, alluring, unique – these are just a few words you can use to describe a piping hot cup of Hawaiian coffee. With temperate weather, ideal growing conditions, and a broad range of tasting notes, it is no wonder Hawaiian coffee has earned global recognition and specialty coffee superstardom. Find out why with these seven interesting facts about Hawaiian coffee and Kauai Coffee Company.
Coffee Grows on Every Hawaiian Island
Coffee is not a native species to Hawaii. It was introduced to the islands in the late 1700s by Spanish sailors and was first planted in the Manoa Valley by Chief Boki, Governor of Oahu, in 1825. Today there are unique coffee-growing regions or origins on all of the main Hawaiian Islands.
The Kona region on the Big Island may be the most famous coffee origin in Hawaii, but enterprising individuals on the island of Kauai established the state’s first commercial coffee growing operation in 1836. In 1842 the Hawaiian government allowed residents to pay land taxes with coffee (or pigs!), so small coffee farms started to gain traction and pop up on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. At that time, Kauai was again the island of choice for daring coffee entrepreneurs, who created Hawaii’s first large-scale operation in Hanalei on Kauai’s north shore and exported 245 pounds of Hawaii’s first commercially grown coffee in 1845.
Today, the Kauai Coffee Estate is located on the south side of the island near Kalaheo. During the harvest season (September – December), Kauai Coffee collects an average of 180,000 pounds of coffee cherry from the orchard per day!
Healthy Volcanic Soil = Delicious Coffee
The entire state of Hawaii is covered in volcanic soil. Kauai is the oldest of the main islands, and our soil is very red because of its high iron and mineral content. Coffee needs healthy soil with good water drainage to thrive, so taking care of our soil is a priority.
“One of the things about soil is that it is an aggregation of many different things. Without microorganisms, it is just dirt. Soil has character and is full of life,” said Fred Cowell, Kauai Coffee General Manager. “There are more microbes in a tablespoon of soil than humans on Earth,” he continued.
Kauai Coffee Company has one of the most extensive on-farm compost operations in the State of Hawaii. Nearly five million pounds of coffee fruit waste is composted and put back into the soil as a nutrient every year. “In the early days of sugar production and coffee farming in Hawaii, we treated the soil as inert. Today we know that soil is alive and its health directly affects the health of our trees,” remarked Fred. “Over time, our goal is to supercharge our soil with microorganisms. We focus on growing our soil just as much as we focus on growing coffee,” he continued.
Coffee Trees Have Super Powers
Coffee comes from a pretty spectacular plant. Not just because it produces the wonderful little seed that makes our favorite beverage, but also because it is a beautiful flowering tree that erupts in bountiful, fragrant coffee flowers each spring. Arabica coffee flowers are self-pollinating. However, this doesn’t mean bees aren’t helpful around the coffee farm. Even though flowers self-pollinate, plants visited pollinating insects produce more fruit and, therefore, more coffee! At Kauai Coffee, we host several beehives yearly to ensure our trees and flowers are happy and healthy. Keeping bees on the farm also has the sweet benefit of producing coffee blossom honey which has floral and citrus notes that complement coffee and tea nicely.
Hawaiian Coffee is Rare
100% Hawaiian coffee is highly regarded and adored by coffee connoisseurs worldwide. Even though Hawaii is the only U.S. state with a thriving commercial coffee industry, Hawaiian coffee is relatively scarce. With an annual production value of about $50 million and approximately 900 farms statewide, Hawaiian coffee accounts for less than .05% of the global coffee market. Coffee is an annual crop harvested just once per year in Hawaii. At Kauai Coffee, our orchard is home to approximately four million coffee trees. Each one of our trees can produce one pound of coffee every year. This rarity and the exceptional growing conditions in Hawaii make Hawaiian coffee a bean worth knowing about and adding to your coffee cupboard.
Hawaiian Coffee Pleases Every Palate
Hawaiian coffee is exceptionally delicious and has a broad range of flavor notes and unique attributes. On the Kauai Coffee Estate, we grow seven unique varietals, including Acaia, Kauai Blue Mountain, Catuai (red and yellow), Mundo Novo, Typica, Yellow Bourbon, and Icatu. From dark, nutty, and earthy flavor notes to bright, citrusy, or sweet, there is a Hawaiian Coffee for every palate.
Kauai Coffee Company is the Largest Coffee Grower in Hawaii and the USA
Kauai Coffee Company is an authentic Hawaiian coffee company and a 3,100-acre estate. With over 4 million coffee trees Kauai Coffee Company is Hawaii’s largest coffee grower and thus the largest coffee grower in the United States. From farming to roasting and packaging, we employ sustainable, environmentally sound practices throughout every step of the process.
Kauai Coffee is Triple Certified Hawaiian Coffee
Kauai Coffee Company is not only the largest coffee farm in the USA but has also earned the unique distinction of producing Hawaiian coffee that is triple certified by leading sustainability advocates. So, when you drink 100% Kauai Coffee, you’re choosing coffee that is not only Fair Trade but also better for people, plants, and our planet. We’re proud to produce coffee that is Non-GMO Project Verified, Rain Forest Alliance Certified™, and Fair Trade Certified™.