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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of Hawaiian coffee?
Where is coffee grown in Hawaii?
What type of coffee is grown in Hawaii?
What is 'Single Origin' coffee?
What do the percentages on your coffee mean? (e.g. 100% Kona)
Where is Kona?
Where is Ka'u?
Where is Kauai?
Why is Hawaiian coffee more expensive than other coffees from around the world?


 

What is the history of Hawaiian coffee?

Coffee was first grown in Hawaii in the early 1800's but with the profitablility of sugar cane and pineapple crops far exceeding that of coffee, commercial production was not a priority.
However, as the sloping land of the Kona region (located on the 'Big Island') was not suitable for growing sugar cane, coffee was grown instead. By the mid-late 1800's Kona coffee started to be recognised within the coffee industry. In more recent times, with sugar cane and pineapple production moving to countries with lower labour costs, farmers looked for alternative crops and many turned to coffee or macadamia nuts.
Much of the Hawaiian landscape provided perfect conditions for coffee cultivation due to abundant rainfall, rich volcanic soil and a sub-tropical climate, consequently the coffee industry has thrived.
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Where is coffee grown in Hawaii?

Coffee is currently grown on all the major Hawaiian islands, Hawaii (aka the 'Big Island'), Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Molokai.
Hawaii is the only state of the USA that grows coffee commercially. Although coffee is also grown in Puerto Rico it is technically a US territory not a state.
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What type of coffee is grown in Hawaii?

Hawaiian coffee is almost exclusively the 'Arabica' variety.
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What is 'Single Origin' coffee?

The term 'Single Origin' indicates that the coffee originates from a single place and is not a blend of coffees from different locations.
Most coffee purchased from cafes is a blend of beans form various locations around the world and usually contains a high proportion of less expensive and (in some cases) lower quality beans.
Our Hawaiian coffee contains beans which originate only from Hawaii and is therefore a 'Single Origin' coffee.
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What do the percentages on your coffee mean? (e.g. 100% Kona)

This is similar to the 'Single Origin' tag but more specific. When we say for, for example, that our coffee is '100% Kona', this means all of the beans in the bag are grown in the Kona region.
Because of the rarity and price of Kona coffee, some retailers sell 'Kona Blends'. These are not a combination of different Kona coffees, but a blend of Kona and coffee from other regions. (e.g. Colombia or Brazil). They usually contain the minimum amount of Kona required by law, 10% Kona coffee and 90% cheaper imported beans.
To be considered authentic Kona coffee, the state of Hawaii's labeling laws require the prominent display of the words '100% Kona Coffee'.
We at Coffee Buyers Online sell only '100% Kona Coffee'.
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Where is Kona?

Kona (pronounced cone-ah) is a region on the west coast of the island of Hawaii, also known as the 'Big Island' as it is the largest of the Hawaiian islands. The 'Big Island' is the most eastern as well as the youngest of the Hawaiian islands. It is home to 5 volcanoes, including Mauna Loa, the largest volcano on earth.
The Kona coffee region is approximately 3km wide and 30km long, ranging in elevation from 200m to 600m and contains some 800 coffee farms.
The coffee grown in Kona is considered one of the best in the world and is highly valued by the growers. As such, only coffee grown in the Kona region can by law carry the 'Kona' name.
Our Kona coffee is sourced from 'Kona Joe' situated in the center of the Kona region at Kealakekua.
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Where is Ka'u?

Ka'u (pronounced kah-oo) is a region on the south coast of the 'Big Island' of Hawaii, located on the slopes of the 'Mauna Loa' volcano.
Originally comprised of a number of small, family run coffee plantations, they began by selling their crop to mills in other regions. Later, the Ka'u Coffee Mill was established to provide the coffee farmers of the district with a local processing plant. This provided Ka'u coffee with it's own unique identity. Most of the Coffee grown in Ka'u is in a climatic band from 300m to approximately 800m above sea level. The climate and soils of the region have produced some of the best coffees in the world. After entering coffee bean and cupping competitions, hosted by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, Ka'u has placed among the top ten coffees in the world since 2007.
Ka'u coffee is fast becoming a serious contender for the title of the best Hawaiian coffee, a title previously reserved for coffee from the neighboring Kona region.
We source our Ka'u coffee from the 'Ka'u Coffee Mill' in the town of Pahala. The Ka'u Medium-Dark roast that we sell was awarded a place in the top 10 at the 2015 Hawaiian Coffee Association Cupping Competition.
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Where is Kauai?

Kauai (usually pronounced kah-why) is the most western and oldest of the main Hawaiian islands. Its landscape contains lush rainforests and the 'Waimea Canyon', often called the 'Grand Canyon' of the Pacific.
We source our Kauai coffee from the largest single coffee plantation in Hawaii (and the USA). It is operated by the 'Kauai Coffee Company' and contains 4 million coffee trees over 3,100 acres.
The plantation is a little unusual for Hawaii as it is situated at sea level on the south coast of Kauai where the land is much flatter allowing for mechanical picking of the coffee beans. For this reason Kauai coffee tends to be less expensive (but no lesser in quality) than other Hawaiian coffees, where sloping terrain require the coffee to be hand picked.
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Why is Hawaiian coffee more expensive than other coffees from around the world?

- Because it is a higher quality, single origin product.
- In most cases hand picking with associated labour costs is required due to the difficult terrain.
- Because of the relatively high transport costs, we only import the 'premium' varieties.
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