Touring Hawaii’s Coffee Farms

Nov 5, 2021 | Activity Information

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The Big Island is coffee drinkers’ paradise. The vast majority of the hundreds of coffee farms in Hawaii are on the Big Island. Other islands also have sizeable coffee operations. The Kauai Coffee Company runs the largest coffee plantation in the U.S. Green World Farm on Oahu’s North Shore has thousands of Arabica trees. Located in the western mountains near Lahaina, Maui Grown Coffee is a 500-acre farm that cultivates several varieties of Arabica beans. But the Big Island wins the prize for variety of coffee farms of all sizes found on both Kona and Hilo sides of the island. Many of the growers of Kona coffee, the most common and well-known variety from Hawaii, grow, roast and sell their own brands on their farms.

Hundreds of coffee farms cluster along scenic roads on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa slopes. Coffee tours include seeing coffee in the fields and then the processes from growing coffee beans to drying, processing, and roasting. Free tastings of course include the opportunity to buy coffee. Coffee Tours usually last about 30 minutes. Some tours need to be scheduled ahead of time. Most tours are free of charge but some last for as long as several hours and do have a charge.

What’s the best time of year to visit coffee farms? When coffee plants bloom in February and March they show lots of beautiful, fragrant flowers. Seeing whole fields of them is a special treat and the coffee plants look like they are covered in snow. These flowering fields of coffee are also referred to as “Kona snow”. Afterwards, when the flowers are pollinated, flowers fall off and a small green berry starts growing at the base of these plants which usually start appearing in April. They stay green until they are red, ripe, and ready to be harvested. The berries turn so red that they are called “cherries”. Not all coffee berries ripen at the same time. Each tree needs to be hand-picked several times between August and January.

For hours and details about tours offered, be sure to look at the websites of coffee farms on the Big Island and anywhere else in Hawaii. Big Island coffee farms that are well worth visiting include: Mountain Thunder; Rooster Farms; Greenwell Farms; Kuaiwi Farm; Sunshower Coffee Farm; Buddha’s Cup; Holualoa Coffee Company; and Kona Joe.