The Big Island is famous for its rich, volcanic soil—soil that produces outstanding coffee beans. Sunny morning weather and afternoon rain is the perfect combination for coaxing the fragrant white coffee blossoms and “cherries” that house fragrant coffee beans. Whether you prefer coffee from Kona or another local Big Island coffee company, take pride in celebrating Big Island coffee!
As one of the most prized coffees of the world, Kona Coffee stands out as the most popular Big Island coffee. Coffee is only considered “Kona Coffee” if it grows on the slopes of the Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes in the Kona district, known as the “Kona Coffee Belt.” Kona Coffee is one of the world’s most expensive coffees for a reason. Over 500 coffee farms cluster along the Kona Coffee Belt, all with orchards that produce the highest quality coffee beans.
Kona coffee trees bloom between January and May with sweet-smelling tiny white blooms that signal the start of the season. As the flowers fade, bright green cherries develop, inside of which are two precious coffee beans. Workers handpick ripe cherries and clean and polish them. Milled and dried green coffee beans then undergo a special roasting process, perfected from over a century of coffee-producing expertise. Kona coffee is a local and international favorite, but it’s not the only flavorful Big Island bean.
The Kaʻū terrain is diverse, with mountainous pockets, grasslands, and sprawling pastures. In the center of the district, you’ll find cattle, macadamia nut trees, people, and coffee. Kaʻū is the Big Island’s largest district. People have cultivated coffee in Kaʻū since 1894, but the industry didn’t boom until recently.
In the last few years, Kaʻū coffees have gained recognition after their entry in the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual competition. Kaʻū coffee has a rich, full-bodied flavor, distinctive aroma, and smooth taste. In the last few years, it’s won numerous awards and top-ten placements in coffees around the world.
In the mid 1800s, there were more than 6,000 acres of coffee orchards in the Puna district of the Big Island. When sugar cane took over Hawaiʻi, the coffee industry took a back seat. Today, however, Puna coffee is back on the rise with over 100 acres of cultivated coffee farms.
Puna coffee comes from Caturra, Typica, and little Moka, and Puna is one of the newest districts to be recognized for outstanding Hawaiian coffee. Puna coffee has a full-body flavor with nutty overtones, perfect for finer mochas in its medium roast form.
Big Island’s Hāmākua coast is known for its spectacular waterfalls, canyons, rainforests, and valleys. Today, however, tourists recognize Hāmākua for more than just its scenic drives. Hāmākua coffee is breaking ground as one of the best coffees to come out of Hawaiʻi, as more and more sugar cane fields melt into coffee country.
Hāmākua coffee farms are small, averaging five to seven acres, with farmers handpicking cherries. Hāmākua’s coffee beans are rich in flavor with a smooth, chocolaty finish.
Each of Big Island’s coffees have something special to offer. Become a true coffee connoisseur and sample all the coffees created with Big Island coffee beans.