Kona Coffee
Kona Coffee

Flavors of Hawaii

Hawaii is the only state in the nation where coffee is grown commercially. But how did this ornamental tree imported into Honolulu in about 1813 by the Great's Spanish interpreter and physician Don Francisco de Paula y Marin become Kona's economic mainstay?

The first coffee was planted in Kona by missionary Samuel Ruggles in 1828 or 1829. These first arabica trees were taken from cuttings planted on Oahu a few years earlier. Coffee and Kona were a perfect match - Kona with its rich volcanic soil, hard-working family farmers, and perfect climatic conditions.

More than 1,800 acres on the Big Island are utilized in coffee farming, producing about 2 million pounds a year, valued at about $6 million. There are over 500 coffee farms, cultivating coffee on the western slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai mountains in the Kona district between 800 and 2,000 foot elevations. Kona coffee is one of the top gourmet coffees in the world, highly prized due to its aroma and full-bodied flavor.

Peaberry Kona coffee
Kona peaberry, a small, round, and very dense bean, is often referred to as the "four leaf clover" of the Kona coffee crop. Only an estimated 4 percent of the annual Kona coffee harvest yields a Peaberry grade of coffee. Peaberry occurs when a coffee tree is stressed in its growing environment, resulting in an individual coffee cherry producing only one round and very dense bean rather than the usual two beans. The taste of Peaberry in the cup is simply exquisite.

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