A Historical Timeline of Coffee in Hawai‘i

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1813 – Don Francisco de Paula y Marin records planting coffee on O‘ahu.

1825 – The HMS Blonde sails in Honolulu with 30 coffee plants.

1828 – Coffee is planted in Kona and Hilo on The Big Island of Hawai‘i.

1830s – Coffee initiated as a commercial crop.

1835 – Coffee is planted in Koloa, Kaua‘i.

1849 – Coffee is exported to California during the Gold Rush.

1877 – Lava from Mauna Loa volcano flows through the Kona District.

1882 – Hawai‘i Agricultural Society forms.

1890 – Strong economies in Europe and America results in rise of market prices for coffee, creating a boom for Kona coffee.

1892 – Hermann Widemann introduces a Guatemalan coffee variety to Hawai‘i that is now referred to as “Kona Typica.”

1898 – Japanese coffee farmers establish the Kona Japanese Coffee Producers Association in an effort to improve processing and market a higher value product.

1904 – Judge Copp plants coffee in the Kokomo District of Maui. 125 acres are planted by Honolua Ranch in West Maui.

1904 – Donkeys, known as “Kona Nightingales” are brought in to help with the coffee harvest.

1910 – Japanese coffee farmers make-up 80% of the total farming population in Kona.

1932 – Dept. of Education institutes the “Coffee Vacation” so students can pick coffee during their hiatus from school from August – November.

1944 – Upcountry Maui children trade hand-picked and roasted coffee to the Marines of the Fighting Fourth at Kokomo for cans of Spam.

1956 – Fukunaga and Beaumont publish research from the Kona Experiment Station revolutionizing coffee pruning worldwide.

1957 – 15 million pounds of coffee are produced in Hawai‘i—the peak of production.

1959 – Statehood.

1967 – Kona Pacific Farmer’s Co-Op purchases and converts a former pineapple cannery into a coffee mill.

1969 – “Coffee Vacation” canceled, Kona schools conform with the rest of Hawai‘i.

1970 – Kona Coffee Festival

1980 – Malulani Farm plants 500 acres of Red Catuai coffee on Moloka‘i.

1987 – Kaua‘i Coffee Co. plants 3100 acres of former sugar fields into coffee.

1988 – Pioneer Sugar Mill converts 500 acres to Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee in West Maui.

1994 – The Internet revolution. Coffee farmers are now able to market directly to consumers.

1995 – The Hawai‘i Coffee Association is formed.

1998 – Labeling guidelines law passed for origin certification in Hawai‘i.

2005 – Kona Coffee Council and Maui Coffee Association established.

2010 – Kaua‘i Coffee Co. produces half of the coffee grown in the United States.

2013 – 200th Anniversary of Coffee in Hawai‘i.

History of Coffee in Hawaii