Kauai Hawaii: Is This The Most Famous Coffee You’ve Never Heard Of?

by | Jul 29, 2019

When you think of coffee production, the first place that springs to mind is probably not Hawaii. In fact, great coffee is a part of Hawaiian culture. On the market, the most famous brand of Hawaiin coffee is Kona Coffee.

It’s this way due to the coffee being cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s become one of the most expensive coffees in the world. The mineral-rich volcanic soil of Hawaii has made growing conditions very favorable.

Many of the Coffee farms and plantations are located across Hawaii. With some of the most famous being located in Kauai Hawaii.

Despite Hawaiian Coffee being one of the most expensive coffees in the world, you would be hard pushed to walk into a coffee shop in the US and find it for sale. This article aims to dive into the world of Hawaiin Coffee and find out its mysteries and secrets.

What Are The Facts About Hawaiian Coffee?

So we know where Hawaiian Coffee is cultivated and we know why it grows so favorably. But what are some more facts about Hawaiian Coffee?

The first significant fact about Hawaiian Coffee is that Hawaii is the only state in the US that grows coffee commercially. The coffee plant was introduced to the Kona region of Hawaii in 1828 by Samuel Reverand Ruggles from Brazilian cuttings of the Coffee plant. It became a recognized brand later in the 19th century through the work of British Merchant Henry Nicholas Greenwell.

There are around 790 Coffee farms located in Hawaii, so the production of Coffee is a large operation. Kona coffee beans are known for their rich flavor. The famous American author Mark Twain stated that: ‘“Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other…”.

In 1899 the Coffee World suffered from a market crash, which caused plantation workers to lease their lands to workers. Before the crash, many Hawaiian Coffee farms employed native Hawaiians and Chinese workers. After the crash, many worker spots were filled by the Japanese who were brought to the Island to work on the sugarcane plantations.


What Are The Different Types Of Hawaiin Coffee?

There are many different types of Hawaiin coffee, and each brings its own unique flavor. Many are grown throughout Hawaii but the six most common are Catuai, Caturra, Kauai Blue Mountains, Mokka, Mundo Novo and Typica.

Catuai coffee can have a bitter taste and has a sweet aroma with earthy notes. Catuai coffee is a hybrid between Mundo Novo and Caturra coffee. Caturra coffee has a silky texture with fruity, berry aromas.

Kaui Blue Mountain coffee tastes like chocolate, with a hint of caramel, while Mokka coffee has cocoa with fruity flavors with hints of wood and black cherry. Mundo Nova has a spicy aroma with hints of clove and Typica has a chocolaty flavor with spicy flavors such as caramel, wood, and nuts


The Magic Of Hawaiian Soil

You may be wondering why so many types of coffee can be grown in Hawaii. The reason simply is the richness of the soil. The growing conditions of Hawaiian coffee depend on the region in which they are located. While farms in the Kona district are at a lower elevation, many coffee farms are located in other coffee-growing regions at a higher elevation. 

Coffee grows best on deep, porous soil. In Hawaii, especially in the Kona region some soils are of recent origin and almost appear to be pure lava, due to the high volcanic activity on the island. Coffee does well in such soils where rainfall is abundant and well distributed. This explains why coffee grows so well in some areas of Hawaii.


Kauai Hawaii: Where To Taste The Best Hawaiian Coffee?

There are many places where you can go to enjoy Hawaiian Coffee (Kauai coffee). If you do an internet search for Hawaiian Coffee in your city, there is bound to be a place you can go to either buy some Hawaiian Coffee or taste some.

If you are looking to try some in Hawaii, there are many Coffee tours you can do in Hawaii. Between the areas of Hualalai and Mauna Loa, there are more than 650 coffee farms of all sizes. Many of these farms offer tours to the public.

During these tours, you get the opportunity to be shown around the plantation and see the growing coffee in the field. You are shown the processes that take a simple coffee bean to an enjoyable cup of joe. At the end of most tours, you can enjoy a taste of the local coffee grown on the farm.

So, if you have some vacation time, then look into heading to Hawaii and enjoying the taste and rich flavors of Hawaiian Coffee.


The State Of Hawaiian Coffee Today

Coffee is the second most valuable commodity produced in the state of Hawaii. Coffee in Hawaii has an annual production value of over $48 million. Despite the substantial numbers, Hawaii-grown coffee makes up only 0.04% of global coffee production. In recent years as prices increased there was a pattern of counterfeit coffee farms that sprang up around Hawaii, this played a major role in two prices crashes which affected Kona Coffee in the 1990s.

Before the price crashes, there was a cooperative of Kona Coffee farms, after the crashes many Kona Coffee farms to leave the cooperation and go independent. This diversified the market of Kona Coffee and its prices became more independent of conditions in the world commodity market.

The economy of Hawaiian Coffee grew after the crashes in the 1990s. The Kaui coffee brand grew in output by 600% between 1994 and 1998. The size of coffee farms in the Kona district also grew throughout the 1990s.

The economy of Hawaiin Coffee really began to bloom in 1975 when worldwide coffee prices surged and re-energized Hawaii’s Coffee farmers. The economy was also boosted by the rising interest in specialty coffees in the 1980s. Despite the crashes in the 1990s by the harvesting season of 2003/04, there were 715 farms with 7,300 acres of land in crop statewide.


How To Roast Hawaiian Coffee Beans

There are different ways you can roast coffee, hence the various labels on coffee that you regularly see in any shop. Dark Roast, Light Roast, and Full Roast are common. Light roasts are best for experiencing the natural flavor of the coffee plant or bean. The flavor is unique to the soil and climate of the area that the bean is grown.

So, for example, the light roast bean that is grown in the Mauna Loa volcano and is lightly roasted should taste have a taste that is similar to the soil and climate of the region.

green coffee bean extract

Coffee beans are roasted inside a heated drum that continually turns the beans to ensure roasting on all sides. Light Roast beans are roasted until the first ‘crack’ or crackle; this happens when the beans expand in size. As soon as this happens, roasting stops and if the batch is to be a light roast.

Full and Medium roasts are cooked longer than Light Roasts until the ‘’second crack’’ or when the beans begin popping again. Dark Roasts occur when the bean is roasted until it begins to smoke.

You can find all of these types of roast in the various types of Hawaiin Coffee available.


The Best Practices For Brewing Hawaiian Coffee Beans

Although the brewing process can be different depending on the bean, there are a few general rules you should follow when brewing Hawaiian Coffee. The first step is to buy fresh beans. For example the best and highest quality beans can be bought directly from a plantation but beans can also be bought in most popular grocery stores.

The second step is to store the beans in an air-free environment. Roasted whole bean coffee can stay fresh for a few days if left in an open container, be sure not to let oxygen get to the beans.

It’s also advised that you use spring water to brew your coffee if the water doesn’t taste good, then neither will your coffee. So, be sure to use spring water or filtered water when brewing. The optimum brewing temperature for your coffee is around 200 degrees.

You should keep your coffee making equipment clean. Coffee beans are full of oil, and coffee oil in contact with the air will go rancid.


Where Can You Buy The Best Hawaiian Coffee Beans?

The best Hawaiian Coffee beans can be bought directly from plantations. If you can go directly to the plantations then you may want to plan a trip. Alternatively, many websites will allow you to purchase beans directly from the plantations online.

If you can’t buy beans directly from the plantations then be sure to do some research as to where beans are available in your area. Most popular grocery stores will have some Hawaiian Coffee beans stored. The Final Word

Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight into Hawaiian Coffee beans, there are many different brands available and will vary dependent on the region in which the beans are grown. Hawaii brings a rich culture to coffee making and if you do decide to take the plunge and try some Hawaiian Coffee be sure to savor the flavor and also try out different brands.

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