A Brief History of Hawaiian Coffee Part Two

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..It’s been quite a while since my last post and I apologize.  The farm has taken more of my time and sales of the coffee have gone through the roof, happily.  But it has given me little time to do much else.

A Brief History of Coffee in Hawaii – Part Two

With Brazilian coffee trees now established on three islands and plantations operating in Waimea (Kauai), Kona (Hawaii) and in several valleys on Oahu, an industry began to develop.  More coffee trees were transferred around the islands, namely by Rev. Samuel Ruggles, the “Johnny Appleseed of Hawaiian Coffee”.  These were planted and the quality taste of Hawaiian coffees began to be noticed by consumers around the world.  Awards were won and things seemed to be headed up for coffee in Hawaii.  This coffee is often referred to as Kanaka Kope, or the Old Hawaiian Coffee.

In the late 1800s, an Oahu farmer, Robert Wideman and a Big Island rancher, John Horner, teamed up and made a journey to Central America to look for plants which would grow well in Hawaii and add commercial opportunities to the islands.  Upon visiting the Antigua Valley of Guatemala, Horner and Wideman discovered coffee trees baring little resemblance to those found in Hawaii.  These trees were larger, heartier and produced more abundant fruit.  The men brought 400 seedlings back with them and these trees were planted on Horner’s Ranch, on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island.

The new trees grew so well that the seedlings were bagged up and transplanted throughout the Big Island and later to the other islands, replacing the old trees.  This new coffee acquired the name Melikan Kope (American Coffee).  It is this varietal which today carries the name Kona Typica, regardless of where in Hawaii it is grown.

(more to come)

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