For most people, even those pretty familiar with the most commonly known Hawaiian coffee, Kona, the history of HOW coffee became part of Hawaiian agriculture is still not well known.
The coffee cherry skin version (aka a nutshell) – Part One:
In the early 1800’s, the first coffee trees were brought over from Brazil by a Hawaiian Ali’i (Chief) named Boki. They were a gift for the King, Kamehameha, and were delivered to the island of O’ahu. These were trees that had been growing in the Amazonian regions and were used to low elevations, hot temperatures and fairly heavy rainfall. O’ahu has a fair amount of those qualities, too, depending on the area of the island. From there, seedlings were sent to the islands of Hawaii (to the Kona region) and Kauai. In fact, the first coffee plantation was on the island of Kauai, where the trees seemed to do quite well. Although they grew on Hawaii Island, and small family coffee operations sprung up from Captain Cook to Koloko Mauka, the Kona region is not as closely matched to the Amazon and the trees did not thrive as they did on Kauai or in their native Brazil. (Stay tuned, dear Blogger, more to come…)