Hawaii Coffee Association

Coffee History in Hawaii

Coffee Trees arrived in Hawaii in the early 1800s. The British warship H.M.S. Blonde brought coffee trees, to Hawaii, from Brazil in 1825. Chief Boki, Governor of Oahu, had acquired coffee trees in Rio de Janeiro, on his way back from London.

The coffee was planted in Manoa Valley on Oahu, and from a small field, trees were introduced to other areas of Oahu and neighbor islands. Reverend Samuel Ruggles moved trees to Captain Cook, Kona in 1828. Hanalei Valley on the North Shore of Kauai was home to the first coffee plantation. Coffee was established in the valley in 1842, but was wiped out in 1858 by coffee blight, a scale insect.

In the late 1800s efforts to establish coffee plantations were defeated by economics. Small farms averaging less than 5-acres in size replaced the Kona coffee plantations.

By the 1930s there were more than 1,000 farms and as late as the 1950s there where 6,000 acres of coffee in Kona. At the turn of the last century there was coffee on all the major Hawaii islands, and now 100 years later, there is once again coffee on all the major islands. There are 6,500 acres in coffee statewide and annual production is 6 to 7 million pounds green bean.
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