A Glimpse of Coffee From Hawaii

A Glimpse of Coffee From Hawaii

Posted by Meera Nair on

How often do you hear of countries where the coffee produced is so special that there are laws established around it? That's Kona coffee for you. One of Hawaii’s most premium coffees. 

Grown in the Kona region of the island state, this coffee typically has a fruity, sweet flavour profile. Think coffee with milk chocolate, brown sugar, fruit, and some honey. 

As per the law, for a coffee to be termed as Kona coffee, it must have 100% coffee beans from the Kona region only. If this coffee is used as part of a blend, then the pack must state what percentage of Kona coffee has been used to craft the blend.

When one talks about Hawaii, the first image that floats to your mind would probably be of beautiful beaches. But there’s so much to know about Hawaii’s coffee production. Let’s dive right in!


It wasn’t all smooth sailing for coffee production in Hawaii. As per some records, a few attempts were made in the early 1800s to grow the coffee plant without much success.

It was in the 1820s, when coffee seeds brought into Hawaii from Brazil thrived, allowing production to begin in full swing. With near-perfect environmental conditions such as volcanic soil, adequate rain, and tropical climate, it was a no-brainer that coffee cultivation took off in the state. 

Initially, migrant workers (especially from Japan) and smallholder farmers were employed at these coffee farms owned by the colonialists. 

Unavoidable circumstances like plant diseases, world wars, and the Coffee Crisis were also impediments that led to setbacks in coffee production.

Even though coffee began to be produced in large plantations eventually, it still hadn’t gotten the international recognition needed to boost Hawaii’s coffee industry. 

history of hawaiian coffee

One of the primary reasons could be that the number one agricultural crop that was a driving force for the state’s economy was sugarcane. 

When the demand for sugarcane declined, alongside the increased demand for specialty coffee, coffees from Kona broke through the noise. More and more farmers began replacing sugarcane with coffee in their farms.

Gradually, Hawaiian coffees garnered a name for themselves. Till today, they are held in high esteem because they are grown in ideal conditions, hand-picked by farmers, and of such high quality.

Kona coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world.


  • You can’t possibly imagine Hawaii without visualising a celebration of some kind. After all, the spirit of aloha is at the core of their culture.

    The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival began in 1970 and is a 10-day long festival where the locals get together to celebrate and promote Kona coffee. This event is open to visitors from all over the world.

    You will find parades, cultural performances, and artisanal stalls during the course of the festival - all in an effort to spread the word about Kona coffee to more and more people.

  • Hawaii’s coffee producers have embraced the ethical ways of producing coffee and that is what adds more value to their produce.

    Using sustainable methods such as water conservation, recycling remains enable them to produce great quality coffee without increasing their carbon footprint. 


A typical Hawaiian coffee has a bright flavour profile with notes of fruits, nuts, and florals. You can expect a smooth finish to these coffees. 

what does hawaiian coffee taste like

Those who enjoy well-rounded coffees will be pleasantly surprised by how all the flavour and aroma nuances of the coffee complement each other without a single note being too overpowering.

These coffees are known to have a low-medium acidity and a medium body. 

Enjoy notes of caramel, berries, and citrus fruits? Hawaiian coffees are a must-try for you. 

The main regions in Hawaii where coffee is grown are Kona, O’ahu, Molokai, Ka’u, Puna, and Maui.

As one of the main coffee-growing states in the US, Hawaii produces coffee that is exported to several countries. 

If you have tried Hawaiian coffee, let us know in the comments what you think of it.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment