OUR ROOTS: HAWAII'S COFFEE PROVENANCE
HAWAII’S PEOPLE ARE DEEPLY CONNECTED TO THE AINA (LAND). SEPARATED BY VAST SEAS FROM OTHER WORLDS, SINCE ANCESTRAL TIMES AND THROUGH THE RISE OF THE GREAT PLANTATIONS, WE HAVE THRIVED THROUGH THE BOUNTY OF OUR FERTILE LAND.
Rich volcanic soil, gently sloping mountains, consistent climate and love of the land (aloha aina) make Hawaii idea for coffee growing. HAWAII IS THE ONLY STATE IN UNITED STATES WITH COMMERCIAL COFFEE PLANTATIONS2, making nkope pure Hawaiian coffee unique in all the world.
More than 200 years ago, COFFEE WAS INTRODUCED2 to Hawaii by Spaniards and planted on Oahu in the time of King Kamehameha the Great. The fate of plantings by Don Francisco de Paula y Marin is unknown, but in the early 1820s, Royal Governor Boki of Oahu provided land for cultivation by English botanist John Wilkinson deep in Manoa valley. With Boki’s permission, and the support of Kamehameha II, who succeeded his father upon his death, planting was later expanded to the Kalihi and Niu valley areas to aid in cultivation experiments with varying microclimates and proximity to the sea.
It has since spread across the islands, making Hawaii the only state in the United States where coffee is grown as a major, commercial cash crop3.
Though SUGAR CANE4 and PINEAPPLE5 quickly brought both fame and fortune to Hawaii, they have since all but vanished from commercial agriculture in the islands.
However, coffee has flourished, with major plantations operating on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Oahu – just minutes from Honolulu. Lovingly tended by descendants of skilled farmers and informed by modern methods perfected on plantations, growers harness the unique climate and soil of each island in their harvests.
Though COFFEE FROM THE SLOPES OF MAUNA KEA AND HUALALAI6 is among the worlds’ most prized and expensive coffees, when blended with beans from across Hawaii, the flavor of each is enhanced by the others, bringing notes of cinnamon, chocolate, cloves and berries to the richness found only in pure Hawaiian coffee.
nkope strives to harness the best from all of Hawaii, making it the first Kope Oka Aina, or “coffee of the land.”
- History of Agriculture in Hawaii (State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture)
- Hawaii Coffee Is The Only American-Grown Coffee (Huffington Post)
- Hawaii Coffee History (Hawaii Coffee Association), 1817 to Present. The History of Coffee in Hawai‘i to Modern-Day Production by Blair Estate Coffee (Coffee Time no. 79)
- Hawaii’s Last Sugar Plantation to Close (NBC News)
- End of an era: Maui Land & Pineapple closing its pineapple operations (Hawai’i Magazine)
- Coffee Plantations on the Island of Hawaii (The Hawaii Islands)