The History Of Kona Coffee Beans in Hawaii

Kona coffee beans are responsible for some of the most prized coffees in the world, valued for their mild, subtle, yet complex flavors. Despite its instant name recognition and popularity, it might surprise you to learn that coffee isn't native to Hawaii. Not even 100% genuine Kona coffee.
 
Coffee Is Introduced To Hawaii
 
Coffee beans and plant cuttings from Brazil were originally brought to Oahu in 1825. These coffee plants flourished in the Hawaiian climate and soon all of the islands were growing coffee plants and harvesting beans. By 1828, Kona coffee beans were growing successfully on the Big Island, proving to be an extremely successful agricultural product and cultural phenomenon. In the late 1800's the Brazilian plants were replaced with Guatemalan coffee plants from which today's crops are descended.
 
Production Peaks And Dips
 
Kona coffee beans were grown on small family farms for much of their history, and for the most part, they still are. At peak production in the 1950's, there were 6,000 acres of Kona coffee on the Big Island. This yielded 17 million pounds of Kona coffee beans annually, the largest yield of any coffee region in the world.
 
Changes in market demand, pricing, and labor costs led to a decline in production from the 1960's, late 1980's when the gourmet coffee trend started to take off. It was the rise of gourmet coffees that helped to elevate Kona coffee to its esteemed position around the world. Kona coffee became much easier to find at coffee shops and Kona coffee beans found their way to supermarket shelves around the globe.
 
Today, the entire world's supply of Kona coffee beans is grown on about 600 farms on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, just upland from the town of Kona on the Big Island.
 
Kona Coffee Beans And Blending
 
Kona kope (coffee) is in high demand and has a limited supply. This makes it more expensive than other types of coffee. To help make it more affordable for consumers, many roasters sell Kona blends. These coffees blend the more expensive Kona coffee beans with less expensive beans from other parts of the world. Buyer beware, though, some blends contain very little Kona coffee. Look for labels that state "100% Kona Coffee" or state a specific percentage of Kona coffee beans that were used in the blend or you risk overpaying for a lower quality coffee.
 
Purchase Kona Coffee Beans From Honolulu Coffee
 
Honolulu Coffee sells 100% Kona Coffee as well as Kona blends made from Kona coffee beans harvested from our own farm. Visit our website to browse our selection of coffees, food, and merchandise.