What Is Kona Coffee?

In 1813, Don Francisco de Paula y Marin planted the first coffee over on Oahu.

In 1828, Samuel Reverend Ruggles brought coffee plants to the Kona district of Hawaii. At the time coffee was grown around the islands on larger plantations. Kona had small leased properties in the 5 to 12 acre size, mostly farmed by families.

Around 1845 or so, Hawaii was exporting coffee via whaling ships.

By the latter 1800’s the first of many Japanese immigrants began to arrive in the islands. They started on sugar plantations but soon began to also work coffee.

In the 1930’s Kona school children were allowed to take off during the last quarter of the year to help pick coffee on the farms.

Different varieties have been planted however an Arabica coffee now called Kona Typica has been most commonly planted.

There are two types of coffee plants, Robusta from Africa and Arabica from Ethiopia. Robusta has a higher caffeine content and bitter. Arabica is heralded as milder and commands a higher price.

Hawaii is the only U.S. state which grows coffee commercially. It is possible to grow a coffee tree on the mainland but the weather outdoors there is not compatible with coffee tree needs.