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Hawaii Coffee Tour

Our final adventure takes us to the Aloha State. This is the last journey in our Travel the World with Coffee travelogue series. We hope you have enjoyed it. Hawaii, also seen as Hawai’i, is the only state in the US that can grow coffee. Hawaii is found in the Pacific Ocean, roughly 2,000 miles from Southern California and a little over 4,400 miles, or a 9 1/2 hour flight, from CoffeeAM. I can almost hear the ukulele accompanied by the crashing waves and sea breezes, so, change into your favorite Hawaiian shirt, grab your coffee, and let’s head out!   Coffee growing in Oahu  


Hawaii is an archipelago made up of eight main islands, Ni’ihau, Kaua’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Kaho’olawe, Maui, and the Island of Hawai’i, sometimes called the Big Island of Hawaii. The land may have been discovered by Spanish explorers as early as the 16th century, however, it is more widely accepted that James Cook, the British explorer, was the first European explorer to make contact with the inhabitants of the islands. Cook named Hawaii the Sandwich Islands for the sponsorship of his travels John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. The native name he recorded when publishing the location of the islands was Owyhee. European traders, explorers, and whalers came to Hawaii because of its convenience as a safe harbor and for supplies. The flag of Hawaii hints at this widespread British influence with a British Union Jack in the upper left corner.   Once known as the Kingdom of Hawai’i, the monarchy was undermined by the Bayonet Constitution which was written by settlers who forced the sitting king, Kalakaua, to sign it. After Kalakaua’s death, his sister Lili’uokalani took the throne. She was eventually overthrown by American and European capitalists and landowners in 1893 after announcing she would institute a new constitution. President Grover Cleveland commissioned the Blount Report to conduct investigations into the defeat of the queen which found that her removal was illegal. Congress then commissioned a second investigation, the Morgan Report, which disputed the Blount Report. In 1898, the Territory of Hawaii was annexed to the United States and remained as such for 60 years. On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the last of the 50 states. As a previously independent nation, it holds the honor with three other states, California Republic, Vermont Republic, and the Republic of Texas, as well as the original thirteen colonies.  

The People

The population of Hawaii is made up of Native Hawaiians, Asians, and those of European descent. There is a large number military inhabiting the islands due to the eleven bases found there which support the US Army, the US Marines, and the US Coast Guard. There are also quite a few tourist residents who have moved to Hawaii. Speaking of tourists, Hawaii’s main industry is tourism. Many people flock to the islands to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, visit the active volcanos, and surf the great swells. Of course, English is the main language in Hawaii, though the native Hawaiian language is still spoken by some of the residents. Some Hawaiians speak Pidgin English. This is a Hawaiin Creole language that derives mostly from English with Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Ilocano, and Tagalog mixed in.  

The Land

Hawaii is an archipelago and was formed by volcanic activity. It is one of two states, the other being Alaska, that does not border another US state. It is the southernmost state and is second to Alaska for westernmost. Hawaii is also the only US state not located in North America, the only US state completely surrounded by water, and the only US state that is an archipelago. The tallest mountain is Mauna Kea at 13,796 feet. If measured from the base of the mountain, which is the floor of the Pacific Ocean, it reaches an astonishing 33,500 feet, making it taller than Mount Everest.   The weather in Hawaii is tropical with microclimates based on latitude and topography. For example, the Island of Hawaii sees tropical, arid, temperate, and polar climates depending on where you are on the island. Temperatures in Hawaii are also determined by topography. At sea level, you will see high temperatures ranging from 58F to 90F in the summer and 79F to 83F in the winter. You will rarely see temperatures above 90F or below 65F. Moving up the mountains brings cooler temperatures and in the winter, on the highest mountains of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Haleakala there is often snowfall. There is a near constant wind on the islands which keeps them temperate. There are frequent brief showers in Hawaii with the occasional downpour. Winter brings most of the heavier rains with major storms occurring between October and March.  

The Coffee

Because of the temperate weather, coffee grows well in Hawaii. It can be harvested year-round, however top production is late summer through early spring. Just under half of the coffee from Hawaii is grown on the Island of Hawaii while the rest comes from the islands of Kauai, Maui, and Oahu. CoffeeAM offers six Hawaiian coffees. Our Hawaiian Kona “Volcanic Estate” is grown on the slopes of Mauna Loa between 800 and 2,500 feet. Sweet hints of chocolate and a fruity undertone make this smooth brew perfect for any time of day. The Hawaiian Kona Reserve is equally as delicious. These high-grown beans mature slowly in the trade winds of the Island of Hawaii. This coffee is well-balanced with a sweet nutty chocolate flavor.   Our Kona Coffee Blend takes Kona beans from the Big Island and blends them with the best arabica beans from Central and South America to make a deliciously rich cup with chocolate and nut undertones. The Maui Mokka is a cultivar of traditional Yemeni coffee plants. You will find notes of dark chocolate and a sweetly spicy flavor. Our Maui Yellow Caturra turns yellow when ripe rather than red. It is a full-bodied coffee with a smooth flavor featuring spicy notes of cinnamon and allspice. And finally, the Maui Red Catuai, known as “the Cabernet of coffees”, is a cross-varietal related to the Maui Yellow Caturra. It has a mild spiciness with hints of butter and citrus.   If there are just too many to choose from, or you want to try them all but don’t know where to start, try one of our samplers. The Hawaiian Coffee Sampler includes half pound bags of Hawaiian Kona “Volcanic Estate”, Maui Mokka, Maui Yellow Caturra, and Maui Red Catuai. If you prefer to stick with Kona, try our Kona Coffee Sampler. With this set, you receive half pound bags of Hawaiian Kona “Volcanic Estate”, Hawaiian Kona Reserve, Hawaii Kona Coffee Cuvee, and Kona Coffee Blend.  

Wrap Up

Thank you for traveling along with us on this journey of the coffee “Bean Belt.” We really had fun researching and learning more about the countries that grow and produce our coffees. We hope you enjoyed the series as well and that you may have found a new favorite coffee or two in the process! We invite you to come back every week to see what new subjects we cover. Please feel free to reach out with suggestions or subjects you would like to see here. We hope to see you soon.
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