Next time you treat yourself to a bag of the best Kona coffee beans money can buy, spare a thought for the incredible journey this sought-after commodity has been on.
Centuries in the Making
Kona coffee is one of the most renowned and expensive coffees in the world. It’s produced in the Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is known for its unique climate and spectacular views. The history of Kona coffee dates back to the early 19th century when it was first planted and cultivated by the British and American missionaries who settled in the area.
In the early years, Hawaiian Kona coffee was highly sought after and exported to the mainland United States, as well as Europe and Asia. However, by the late 1800s, Kona coffee had become increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain. This led to a drop in demand and the eventual decline of the industry.
By the early 1900s, Kona coffee bean production was almost non-existent. The area had been hit by a series of natural disasters, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and volcanic eruptions. In addition, the area was hit hard by the Great Depression, resulting in many farmers abandoning their properties and leaving the industry with little hope of revival.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that Hawaiian Kona coffee bean production began to take off once again. This was largely due to the efforts of the Kona Coffee Council, which was created to help promote and protect the industry. The Council worked to encourage farmers to return to the region and to develop better methods of production.
Thanks to their efforts, the best Kona coffee beans ever produced are now widely available, but just as highly sought after as ever. It’s produced using a unique combination of soil, climate, and elevation, which give it a unique flavor and aroma.
A Thriving Trade
Today, the Kona coffee belt is a thriving agricultural region, with over 800 coffee farms and over 800,000 coffee trees. Kona coffee is renowned for its smooth, mellow flavor and is a favorite among coffee connoisseurs. The coffee is grown in rich volcanic soil and is shaded by macadamia nut and banana trees.
It has become a symbol of Hawaiian culture in its own right and is a popular souvenir for visitors to the islands. Kona coffee beans are produced in limited quantities, only adding to its prestige (and price).
The Kona coffee industry is highly regulated, with strict standards for growing, harvesting, and processing the beans. The Kona Coffee Council is responsible for ensuring that all Kona coffee meets the highest standards of quality and is ethically produced.
To say that Kona coffee has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1820s would be something of an understatement. So again, spare a thought for the journey your Kona coffee beans have been on, next time you enjoy a cup of this glorious Hawaiian treasure.