Maui has close to 600 acres (243 hectares) in total coffee production, 500 acres (202 hectares) in large commercial production and about 100 acres (40 hectares) in smaller independently owned farms that hand pick and hand process their coffee. Maui coffee is known for its excellent quality and unique diversity. Maui coffees consistently rank as some of Hawaii’s best coffee in the HCA’s annual Statewide Coffee Cupping Competition.
It’s hard to give Maui coffee one or two predominate characteristics because of the diversity of the crop. Maui coffee farmers grow many different varietals including: Typica, Catuai, Caturra, Bourbon, and Mokka in many different micro climates on the slopes of Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. Many farmers also experiment with different processing techniques like wet-ferment, semi-washed, honey processed, and naturals. These creative processing techniques and varietals add many different flavor aspects and keep Maui farmers on the cutting edge of the creative development of coffee in Hawaii.
The Maui coffee industry continues to grow and develop through the many efforts of the Maui Coffee Association that unites all aspects of the industry on the island and improves education and awareness of Maui coffee.
MAUI COFFEE HISTORY
Articles in a 1904 issue of The Maui News report of many healthy coffee plantations on Maui in the Kokomo Districts as well as plantings in West Maui. Editorials from the early nineteen hundreds call for legislative protections of the valuable crop. The Bourbon variety of coffee currently found in the Kokomo District of Maui are thought to be descendants of the trees from Judge Charles Copp’s plantation.
The owner of Maliko Estate Coffee located in the Kokomo District has spoken to several people who remember when they were children picking the wild coffee in Maliko Gulch during World War II. Their parents would process and roast the beans and then they were able to trade the coffee with the Marines stationed at the 4th Marine Base on Kokomo Road. Their favorite thing to trade for was a can of Spam. One pound of coffee = 1 can of Spam!
The Franco family began roasting and blending Maui Organic coffee in 1918. Their farm is in the Keokea region of Upcountry Maui. Their family have been growing, roasting and selling coffee for four generations. Their hand-made, wood-fired coffee roaster can still be seen in Grandma’s Coffee House, located on the Lower Kula Highway in Grandma Franco’s historic home. Currently Maui has more than 50 coffee farms, with more being added every year. There are large-scale commercial farms and many smaller coffee estates spanning from Kä‘anapali to the slopes of Haleäkala and Hana. Several are producing coffee organically.
On the Lahaina side, MauiGrown Coffee is the largest individually operated coffee grower in the U.S. and the original and only major producer of 100% Maui origin coffee in the world. MauiGrown cultivates Maui Mokka, Yellow Caturra, Red Catuai and Guatemalan Typica.
In 2005 several growers and roasters got together and formed the Maui Coffee Association. It now has over 50 members and meets once a month in Kula, Maui.
For more information, please visit www.mauicoffeeassociation.blogspot.com