Coffees of Hawaii

Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, Spanish advisor to King Kamehameha I, introduced coffee and pineapple to Hawai‘i.

The History of Coffee in Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i is the only state in the U.S. with climatic conditions necessary for growing coffee. The combination of rich volcanic soil, a year-round warm climate and abundant rainfall adds up to an ideal environment.

From 1850 to 1900 coffee was Hawai‘i's biggest agricultural crop. Sugar cane and pineapple came onto the scene early in the twentieth century and, because they were easier to grow and less labor intensive, most coffee acreage was converted to these new crops. Hawaiian coffee was traditionally grown on small, independent farms. Recently, however, relatively large plantations have been supplying the bulk of the crop.

Recent economic factors have dramatically altered the Hawaiian agricultural industry. Foreign competition has forced the sugar and pineapple industries into a steep decline, with no significant recovery in sight.

Many sugar and pineapple plantations have closed, leaving thousands of acres of valuable farmland under utilized or not used at all. Coffee is being increasingly viewed as a viable replacement crop.

After petroleum, coffee is the second most heavily-traded commodity in the world, and millions of farmers depend on coffee for their livelihood. Each cup of coffee you drink connects you to real people and places. Your choice of coffee helps ensure a better life for farming families and hope for the future!

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