The History of the World’s Best Coffee: Hawaiian Coffee
Hawaiian coffee has a rich history of coffee production, though it is a relative newcomer to the coffee industry. Mark Twain said Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other.
Samuel Reverend Ruggles introduced it in 1828 from arabica cuttings he brought from Brazil. Coffee grows very efficiently in Kona on both large and small plantations.
In 1842, the Kingdom of Hawaii recognized the potential importance of Hawaiian coffee and taxed any foreign coffees brought into the islands.
But in 1899, a crash in coffee prices forced the plantations to break up their properties. They leased their land to plantation workers, who mostly immigrated from Japan. Other immigrants opened their own coffee farms in Kona. Filipinos and Americans from the mainland came to Kona to grow coffee.
Kona coffee was one of the most important crops in the then-territory in the 1930s. Most of the agriculture industry was made up of large scale sugar cane and pineapple plantations.
Coffee farming is done mostly on smaller, family farms. They typically range in size from three to five acres. About 600 farms make a little over 2,000 acres that cultivating Kona coffee, producing about 2 million pounds of beans.
It is also one of the most recognizable exports of the state. The high price Kona coffee commands is due to the small area that is optimal for growing coffee.
Though Hawaiian coffee is being grown in other areas of the state to capitalize on the popularity of Kona coffee, Kona remains the most sought-after coffee in the world. Many coffee farms in Kona are popular tourist attractions. For coffee lovers around the world, there is nothing like a cup of coffee from Kona.