The Coffee Arabica plant was introduced to Hawaii from Brazil by Chief Boki the governor of Oahu who brought it back from Rio on his return journey from Europe.
The tree then found its way to Kona by Reverend Samuel Ruggles back in the year 1828. At first he planted it for artistic purposes but was amazed how it grew out so well. The plant flourished so well making it evident how Kona was a perfect ground for growing coffee. The area has enough summer rains, with sunny mornings, gentle winds and productive volcanic soils that allowed the crop to grow quickly in Kona.
The hardship of getting Kona known back in the days
While the plant thrived at the beginning –for good weather in Kona district, it has not been an easy growing and harvesting process in the area for the past 150 years. The area has experienced a of weather changes for example, invasive pests, extreme droughts and drops in market value which almost killed Coffee industry in Hawaii state. The first calamity came in 1860’s when the whaling trade dropped, ruining its market. Same time the prices of sugarcane went high and most shifted to invest in sugar and abandoned coffee. However, in the next 30 years, the world coffee market exploded and that was the first time Kona experienced its massive sales. Due to a lot of demands, thousands of Japanese immigrants were brought to work in the coffee farms and round 3 million trees were planted. But sadly to say, this did not perform well as of 1899 the world market demands went down due to excess supply of coffee and coffee industry almost collapsed the second time.
All hope was not lost and in 1916, the start of World War I the US army brought up big shares of coffee to sustain the troops. And in the 1950’s thanks to the high number of tourists coming to Hawaii, Kona coffee entered the global market and up to today Kona is known to be the one of the BEST coffee in the world.
Kona coffee today
Kona coffee known for its high quality standard makes its sales at high costs as 1 pound going for around $25 in the local stores. And as a matter of fact, getting a pure Kona whilst the price is high, is not easy. A lot of coffee retailers stock blends or mixes which only contain around 10% of Kona and brand the coffee as Kona coffee. This is a strategy to gain sales but as a customer you should be alert and always go for what you want. If it is buying the blends or the high quality 100% kona coffee online or in the local stores.