Hawaiian Kona Coffee: From Its Origins to Present

How it Started

Kona Coffee Berries
Kona Coffee Berries

Coffee Arrives in Hawaii

Coffee trees were first imported to the Big Island around 1825. There is some question about whether there may have been earlier attempts import coffee trees. If so, these attempts were not successful. Over the following years, coffee growers faced many hardships. Among the problems were plant disease, insect infestations and price fluctuations.

Because coffee production is labor intensive, there were periods that it was difficult to find enough laborers to harvest the coffee beans. However, production persevered and spread. Today Hawaiian Kona coffee is a major cash crop for the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Kona Region – Kona Coffee

Today Arabica Beans harvested in a narrow strip of land approximately 3 miles wide and 30 miles long are known as “Kona Coffee Beans.” Only beans harvested in this area can be called KONA COFFEE. It is cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is hand-picked, pulped, dried, hulled before being graded and roasted.

There are many commercial Big Island Coffee Plantations here, but small family farms also provide much of the Kona Coffee grown here. Some of the family farms are less than 5 acres and produce enough coffee beans to generate income for the owner.

The Ideal Environment

Coffee Plantation
Coffee Plantation

Although coffee is cultivated on many areas of the Big Island, the Kona coffee is renowned for its flavor and consistency.

The climate of this area is known for its bright sunny morning, humid rainy afternoons and mild evenings. This the ideal climate for coffee production.

The elevation is also an important factor in the flavor of the coffee. In the Kona the plantations are usually located between 500 Ft. and 3000 Ft. above sea level. Freezing temps at this altitude are unheard-of.

Finally, the well drained acidic volcanic soil of the mountainsides allows the plants to thrive and produce this unique Kona Hawaiian Coffee.

Kona Coffee Ratings

Kona Coffee is prized around the world for its flavor and fragrance.  Kona coffee is known  for it’s low acidity and mild taste. It is not uncommon for Kona Coffee to be rated 95 to 97 on a scale of 0 to 100. This reputation has caused Premium Kona Coffee to become one of the more expensive coffees in the world. But many coffee aficionados believe its well worth it.

A word of caution, some coffee distributors offer a Kona Coffee Blend, to enjoy the real flavor, we do not recommend anything other than 100% Kona Coffee. If you have any questions about Kona Coffee please contact us through our comments section. We’ll be glad to help.

You Have to Try It

Coffee Beans in Cooling Tray
Coffee Beans in Cooling Tray

We want to encourage you to try Kona Coffee. It is one of our favorites from around the world. We are sure you’re going to love it. Just click on the link  https://myhawaiiankona.com/myhawaiiankona-com-home-page/ to go directly to the home page to 100% Kona Coffee from the Distributor we recommend.

Oh and if you are ever in Hawaii, we recommend that you make plans to tour one of the 600 plantations in Kona-Kailua. We have toured several farms and thoroughly enjoyed our visits. These tours are very interesting and the producers love to inform visitors about the process involved.





About the author

Wayne and Sharon have be blessed to travel to various islands in the State of Hawaii. They have found that each island is unique with geographical and cultural differences. They have three children and seven grandchildren. They enjoy introducing their family and friends to the Hawaii they have come to love.


  1. Nice post and I wondered how much the volcanic activity of Hawaii plays a part in their tasty coffee.

    One question: What exactly is Arabica and why was it chosen for coffee plantations in Hawaii?

    1. Thanks for your comments! I have not found any research to document the effects of the volcanic activity. I can say from our time there that we observed some foliage wilt because of the gases from the crater.
      The Arabica coffee plant is thought to have originated in the eastern highlands of Ethiopia. From there it has been transplanted around the world. It makes up over almost 60% of the coffee harvested annually.

  2. Kona coffee is great isn’t it? I didn’t realize there were so many plantations in Kona. Will have to do a tour next visit to the Big Island. Thanks for this informative post.

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