When it comes to coffee, Hawaii has it all – everything from seed to cup. The islands are blessed with a combination of geographical and weather elements that are conducive to growing excellent coffee: year-round warm, sunny weather, rolling hillsides, rich volcanic soil, ample rain, and tranquil trade winds – so it’s no wonder that Hawaiian coffee is one of the best in the world.
Hawaiian coffee is harvested every year, with harvest season starting as early as July and finishing as late as January in some places although September through December bear the bulk of Hawaii’s harvest. The annual production of Hawaiian coffee is 7 million pounds, making it the biggest and only coffee-producing state in the United States.
Although the Big Island’s Kona coffee is still the best known, Hawaiian coffee is also grown on each of the major islands. Below are short descriptions of the different types of Hawaiian coffee currently produced and sold in the market:
As already mentioned, Kona coffee is the best known Hawaiian coffee. The Kona coffee plant is exclusively grown within the borders of North and South Kona, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. In contrast to foreign coffees which have a harsher, sharper flavor, 100% Kona coffee is more delicate and smoother. Its aromatic flavor makes it a perfect blend for other coffees.
Coming in at close second to Kona coffee as the best known Hawaiian coffee is Kauai coffee which is increasingly becoming popular among coffee drinkers. In fact, many prefer its mild acidic flavor to Kona’s sometimes too-delicate taste. At any rate, Kauai coffee guarantees a flavorful cup.
Ka’anapali Maui Coffee
Described by gourmet coffee drinkers as a medium-bodied, smooth finish Hawaiian coffee, Ka’anapali Maui coffee tends to have slightly more body than Kona coffee but less dry than say, Moloka’i coffee.
Haleakala Maui Coffee
A type of Arabica coffee known as Catuai, the Haleakala Maui coffee is Hawaiian coffee unique in its geographic region – it is grown on the slopes of the 10,000 ft. Mt. Haleakala. It is described as a rich and aromatic coffee.
Made from the washed and completely sun dried Arabica beans, Moloka’i coffee is rich-bodied and medium roasted Hawaiian coffee. At the finish, it has a luscious hint of chocolate, which acts as the perfect complement to its mild acidic flavor.
Grown only on the island of Oahu, specifically on the beautiful North Shore of Oahu, Waialua coffee come from Hawaiian coffee trees planted on both sides of Kamehameha Highway between the towns of Wahiawa and Waialua. It is farmed in the Kona tradition – that is, it is handpicked, fermented, and washed before the beans are sun-dried and then roasted.