What Makes Hawaiian Coffee So Special?
Coffee was first introduced to the Islands by Chief Boki, the Governor of Oahu, in 1825. He acquired coffee plants in Rio de Janeiro while aboard a British warship, the H. M.S. Blonde. These first coffee plants were planted in Manoa Valley, on Oahu, where they flourished. From this original planting, coffee trees were introduced to locations around the Islands, including the now famous Kona Coast.
The coffee tree needs six specific conditions to thrive: rich soil, proper elevation (between 500 and 3000 feet is ideal), sunshine, cloud cover, rain and a moderate slope for proper drainage of roots. While some good coffee comes from climates which offer just a few of these conditions, The Hawaiian climate offers all six elements. This perfect blend of conditions provides coffee trees with the ideal environment, and allows Hawaii to produce some of the richest coffee in the world.
The growing season in Hawaii begins in January and ends in June. Coffee growers watch expectantly for coffee blossoms to appear on the trees after rains early in the season, and these flowers eventually turn into coffee cherries. Much like the grapes destined for fine wines, coffee cherries are allowed to ripen on the tree, under the close watch of the farmers. When they are bright red and ripe, each coffee cherry is harvested individually.