History Of Hawaiian Kona Coffee : A Rich Saga Revealed

Chronicles of Hawaiian Coffee

1813 – Spanish doctor Don Paula Marin brings the first coffee seedlings to Hawaii, but the plants perish.

1825 – Governor of Oahu, Boki goes to England, and requests agricultural expert John Wilkinson to plant and grow coffee on his Manoa valley farm.

1826 – Wilkinson sets up a small coffee plantation on Governor Boki’s farm in Manoa region on Oahu island.

1827 – Coffee saplings sown by Wilkinson grow up and yield cherries.

1828 – Samuel Ruggles, procures saplings from Governor Boki’s Manoa farm and brings them to Napoopoo.

1841 – Kona District undergoes setup of its first large coffee farms.

1873 – A pioneering Kona coffee merchant called Henry Nicholas Greenwell gets an award for excellence at the Vienna World’s Fair.

1880 – John Gaspar Machado installs Hawaii’s first coffee mill at Kealakekua Bay.

1892 – A new kind of coffee known as “Kona Typica” is brought from Guatemala to Hawaii by Hermann Widemann which eventually becomes the most popular coffee in Hawaii.

1899 – A severe drop in coffee prices almost causes coffee to disappear from the islands.

1910 – Family operated farms contain 80% of all coffee plantations in Kona.

1914 – Price of Kona coffee rises due to US Army purchases in World War I.

1920 – Mayflower Kona Coffee is roasted, packaged and marketed by American Factors company .

1922 – Kona District now contains the last coffee plantations in Hawaii.

1929 – Kona farmers are unable to pay their debts because of price fall during Great Depression.

1940 – Kona coffee prices increase due to World War II. Upper price limit is capped by US administration.

1950 – 24 million pounds of coffee are now being produced annually in Kona region of Hawaii

1958 – Sunset Coffee and Pacific Coffee Co-operatives are created by Kona farmers to setup their personal mills.

1959 – Hawaii is officially integrated as a state of United States of America. Kona District now contains twelve coffee mills.

1960 – Sunset Coffee Co-operative now controls the major Kona mills. Captain Cook & American Factors Company shutdown their factories.

1970 – First cultural festival held for Kona coffee. Shortage of labor, high costs and low prices cause the last big slump in the Hawaiian coffee industry.

1980s – Kona gets recognized as a unique gourmet coffee and it begins to attract more admirers. Prices start increasing.

1991 – The law for blended kona coffee is passed. This bill permits manufacturers to name coffee mixtures containing just 10% Kona beans as “Kona blend”.

2000s – Over 630 farms in Kona district now produce around 3.5 million pounds of coffee every year. This generates about $15 million in revenues annually.

A Whole New Generation of Kona Farmers

Evolution of Kona Districts