History of Kona Coffee

Coffee trees were first brought to the Hawaiian Islands in 1825 by Chief Boki, governor of Oahu. He acquired the coffee trees in Brazil on his way back from a trip to London. The coffee was established on Oahu, and from there introduced to the neighbor islands.

Reverend Samuel Ruggles brought coffee trees to Kona, on the "Big Island" of Hawai'i in 1828. In the 1830s, coffee became a commercial crop in the Hawaiian Islands. In the 1890s the world coffee market took off. Americans and Europeans invested in Kona coffee and brought in the era of the large plantations.

In 1885 Japanese immigrants were brought to Big Island sugar plantations to work, often under severe conditions. Many made their way to Kona to work as coffee pickers.

In 1899, the world coffee market crashed. World coffee prices plummeted because of an oversupply on the world market, bringing Kona coffee prices sharply down. At the same time, world sugar prices skyrocketed. This combination of events prompted investors to begin to shift their money from coffee to sugar production. At this time, Hawaii had nearly 6,000 acres coffee under cultivation.

The era of the large Hawaiian coffee plantations had ended. The Kona coffee industry was near extinction. Steep terrain and scarce water, however, made large scale sugar cultivation in Kona impossible. So the big coffee plantation owners leased out their land in small 3 to 12 acre parcels, mostly to their Japanese workers. This marked the beginning of the transition from large coffee plantations to small family farms. This transformation saved and revolutionized the Kona coffee industry.

The tradition of family farming continues throughout Kona today. Presently Kona Coffee is grown in an area 20 miles long and 2 miles wide on the slopes of volcanoes Mt. Hualalai and Mauna Loa. Farm sizes in Kona average 3 acres each, with a few farms of over 50 acres. Total Kona coffee acreage is over 2000 acres, and annual production is generally over two million pounds. Elevation ranges from 500 to 3,000 feet.

Mr. Bean Kona Coffee is located on the slope of Mt. Hualalai at 1200 ft. elevation. There's a gentle slope to the orchard that aides in drainage and soil retention. Our original orchard was started with the saplings from the wild coffee trees that have existed on the farm for many years. Interestingly, the "nursery" is located on the site of an old cattle trail. In the old days cattle were raised up in the hills and then driven down the side of the mountain to Kailua bay where waiting ships took them to market. The fact that our plant stock comes from a cattle trail may explain the vitality of our trees!

Our Kona Coffee is painstakingly grown and hand picked in limited quantities. Each batch of Mr. Bean Kona Coffee is carefully inspected by hand to make sure only the best beans are used. Careful drying, milling, grading, and expert roasting result in a consistently superior artisan product. We hope you enjoy Mr. Bean Kona Coffee, "The Coffee With Character."



Store | About | History | Links |Contact | Privacy Policy | Shipping and Return Policy
P.O. Box 519, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96745 · (888) 802-8204
Copyrights © 2008