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Coffee industry of Hawaii

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Coffee Industry of Hawaii
Pacific Islands
Hawaii Islands2
Location of Hawaii
Country: United States of America
Earliest production: 1825
Common species: Arabica
Annual production (2006): 6,600,000 pounds
Signature varieties: Kona
Noted growing regions: Kauai, Kona, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu


The coffee industry of Hawaii is the only significant coffee industry in a member state of the United States of America (excluding territories). While Hawaii is a relatively small producer of coffee (6,600,000 pounds in 2006--ranking well in the bottom tier of coffee producing countries), it is well known for its Kona varieties and its coffee consistently sells for a higher than average price. Hawaiian coffee production is often small in scale, with 790 farms cultivating only 8000 acres of coffee[1].

HistoryEdit

In 1825, after visting coffee houses in England, Chief Boki, governor of Oahu, stopped in Brazil to pick up coffee seedlings to plant in Hawaii. Using these seedlings, agriculturalist John Wilkinson successfully planted a coffee orchard on Oahu. From these trees, the first coffee farms were planted in the Kona region [2].

The industry grew in fits and starts through the mid-1800s, with coffee competing with sugar cane as the most profitable crop for farmers to cultivate[3]. However the combination of a coffee blight and a deterioration the local market led to the collapse of the coffee industry in the 1860s. Abandoned coffee estates would eventually be split up into small farms[4]. Throughout the mid- to late-1800s, the coffee industry would remain volatile. In 1861, coffee exports would total 49,000 pounds, rising to 452,000 pounds in 1870. However, by 1877, coffee exports fell to less than a third of that number[5].

In 1898, the United States of America began to occupy the Hawaiian Islands. With the protective tariffs no longer in place for exports to the U.S., prices fell and the coffee industry once again collapsed, inducing farmers to return to growing sugar cane. It would not be until 1912 that coffee prices recovered and coffee farming became a more viable endeavor[6].

RegionsEdit

Coffee is commonly grown in the following regions of Hawaii:

  • Kauai
  • Kona
  • Maui
  • Molokai


GrowingEdit

Hawaiian Coffee trees
Coffee trees in Hawaii
ScottWAdded by ScottW

The growing conditions on Hawaiian coffee farms vary depending on the region in which they are located. While farms in the Kona district are at a lower elevation than many arabica farms, farms in other coffee growing regions are often grown at even lower elevations[7].

Most farms in the Kona district are of a relatively smaller size. While there are a number of small farms in other regions of Hawaii, larger farms are being to become more prevalent[8].

Hawaii is further from the equator from many coffee growing regions. With the resulting cooler climate from its Northerly geographic location, little of Hawaii's coffee is shade grown[9].

GradingEdit

The coffee industry of Hawaii defines five grades for green coffee[10]:

  • Hawaii Extra Fancy - The lot consists of beans from one region. All beans have a minimum screen size of 19. Additionally, all beans are clean and have a uniform green color. No more than eight imperfections are allowed in a 300 gram sample.
  • Hawaii Fancy - Same as Hawaii Extra Fancy, except that the minimum screen size is 18, and up to twelve imperfections are allowed in a 300 gram sample.
  • Hawaii No. 1. - Same as Hawaii Extra Fancy, except that the minimum screen size is 16, and up to eighteen imperfections are allowed in a 300 gram sample.
  • Hawaii Select - Beans which are clean and "do not impart sour, fermented, moldy, medicinal, or other undesirable aromas and flavors when brewed." Up to five percent of Hawaii Select may contain defects so long as no more than two percent are "sour, stinker, black or moldy beans." No particular screen size is associated with this grade.
  • Hawaii Prime - Same as Hawaii Select, except that up to fifteen percent of the beans may be defective so long as no more than five percent are "sour, stinker, black or moldy beans."
  • Hawaii No. 3 - Same as Hawaii Select, except that up to thirty-five percent of the beans may be defective so long as no more than five percent are "sour, stinker, black or moldy beans." Additionally, it is not permitted to use the origin name of the lot used in this classification.
  • Offgrade - Any exported lot which does not meet the minimum requirements of the Hawaii No. 3 classification.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. USDA Statistics for Hawaiian Agriculture
  2. Gerald Kinro (2003). A Cup of Aloha: The Kona Coffee Epic, 9. ISBN 0824826787.
  3. William H. Ukers (1922). “Cultivation of the Coffee Plant”, All about Coffee, 241. ISBN 0810340925.
  4. Alton Pryor (2004). Little Known Tales in Hawaii History, 79. ISBN 0974755117.
  5. William H. Ukers (1922). “The Production and Consumption of Coffee”, All about Coffee, 284. ISBN 0810340925.
  6. William H. Ukers (1922). “Cultivation of the Coffee Plant”, All about Coffee, 241. ISBN 0810340925.
  7. Kenneth Davids (2003). Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival, Rev. updated ed., 83. ISBN 0312312199.
  8. Kenneth Davids (2003). Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival, Rev. updated ed., 122. ISBN 0312312199.
  9. Kenneth Davids (2003). Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival, Rev. updated ed., 83. ISBN 0312312199.
  10. Hawaii Administrative Rules: Standards for Coffee

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