The Delicious Story of Maui Coffee From Hawaii

| August 4, 2012 | 0 Comments
oahu mountains

oahu mountains (Photo credit: foxtail_1)

Do you get excited when you smell a good cup of coffee? Then follow your nose to Maui for some of the world’s best coffee!

Coffee connoisseurs the world over cherish the distinctive flavor and overwhelming aroma of Hawaiian coffees. Hawaiian coffees are truly unique, not only in quality and flavor, but they are also the only coffees grown and produced in the United States.

Maui coffee has it’s own special place in the Hawaii coffee industry and if your a coffee lover, you’ll be glad to know there are some great coffee plantations to explore on Maui and a great cup of Maui coffee around every corner. No matter what flavor you like or what type of blend you seek. Maui has something you will like in the way of coffee.

Just because coffee grows on trees doesn’t mean that gourmet coffee is easy to make. Freshly picked coffee cherries are processed in many stages, using modern technology and decades of experience to turn the colorful berries into ready-to-roast beans. When it comes to completing the process in the best way possible, Maui steals the show.


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 Maui and the now famous Kona Coast.

Coffee on Maui

When Pioneer Mill diversified its sugar crop in 1988, it began field trials to test many coffee varieties under West Maui growing conditions. Four produced superior results: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and Mokka. The first recognized Maui coffee farm was born.

Today, there are hundreds of acres of mature coffee trees on the slopes just above world famous Ka’anapali beach. Saplings are grown in an on-site nursery from Ka’anapali coffee seeds, and planted in hedgerows with sudax, a tall grass that acts as a temporary windbreak until the trees are full-size.

Maui’s Upcountry is known to be the island’s bread basket. The area’s climate is well suited for growing a variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Over the last decade, there have been a number of Upcountry agribusinesses that include some fabulous coffee farms.

Why is Hawaiian coffee so good?

Though coffee is not native to the Hawaiian Islands, the climate and topography of the Islands offers some of the most ideal growing conditions in the world – thus producing some of the best coffee in the world

The coffee tree needs six 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 decent coffee can be produced in climates which offer just a few of these conditions, the climate in Hawaiian 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 Harvest

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.

Now that you are all caught up on your Maui coffee facts, it is time to grab a cup. What kind? Try them all, experience their variety and complexity and enjoy the magic of Aloha that comes into your life with everything that has its roots here in Hawaii.

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