Hawaii is known worldwide for its gourmet 100% Kona coffee, but true coffee lovers know that Kona is only part of the story. In the last century, coffee has jumped across the island chain, breaking new ground in flavors and growing techniques.
Coffee is grown in over 80 countries around the world, so what’s so exciting about growing it in Hawaii? For one, Hawaii is the only state in the United States that grows coffee. This makes it possible to explore Hawaii’s coffee along every part of its journey — from bean to cup. In today’s import/export market, this is a rare treat. In many countries, people don’t drink the coffee they grow. In contrast, many of Hawaii’s farms play a big role in sharing their crop with local cafes, retail outlets and restaurants.
Hawaii’s isolation and high cost of living have dissuaded farmers from competing in volume or price in the world market. Rather, Hawaii coffee competes by only producing high quality, specialty coffee. Every farm in Hawaii has the potential to produce one-of-a-kind coffee.
Hawaii’s coffee industry has moved beyond just growing and selling coffee to becoming an experience worth traveling for. Many farms have opened their doors to visitors as farmers themselves are often eager to meet people who want to learn about coffee. The whole state, not just the coffee industry, benefits when curious people explore the nature and culture of this fantastic crop.
People in the Hawaii coffee industry are passionate, even fanatical. When talking to farmers, roasters or baristas, it’s hard not to find their enthusiasm energizing. It’s not just the caffeine that affects them. Coffee inspires minds, infuses dreams and fulfills destinies. For this industry, coffee isn’t a way of life — it is life.