QUESTION: What is Kauai coffee? I’ve only heard of Kona coffee. What makes Kauai coffee special and is it any good? — Jared T.
ANSWER: Kauai is one of the Hawaiian islands, but Kauai Coffee is an actual coffee brand and famous, large coffee plantation that is located there. They are the sole producer of the actual product. When people say Kauai Coffee they are typically referring to the brand and not just to any coffee beans grown on that island. As Hawaii’s largest coffee farm—and therefore the largest coffee grower in the United States—Kauai Coffee Company is responsible for much of the Hawaiian coffee you’ll encounter for sale. This article will run down everything you should know about Kauai Coffee before you make a purchase.
These are just a few of the many options of Kauai brand coffee.
Facts About Kauai Coffee
- Kauai Coffee Company has more than 4 million coffee trees on 3,100 acres. The Kauai Coffee Company grows more coffee than the entire Kona region.
- According to Kauai Coffee Company, “From growing the coffee to roasting and packaging, we employ sustainable, environmentally sound practices throughout every step of the process.” Because Kauai Coffee Company is made in the U.S.A., it is not part of the fair trade movement. According the the Kauai Coffee Company website, “All our coffee is grown under working conditions that are held to the same standards as the rest of the United States.”
- Kauai Coffee Company was formerly McBryde Sugar Company, which started operation in the early 1800s as one of Hawaii’s first sugarcane companies. McBryde became Kauai Coffee Company in 1987, starting as a joint venture with Hills Brothers and later joining forces with the Nestle Beverage Company.
- Kauai Coffee Company says that their operation has the ideal environment for growing coffee with a delicate balance of nature, from the rich volcanic soil and gentle hawaiian trade winds to abundant mountain rain and warm sunshine.
- tAt the Kauai Coffee Company plantation, 85 percent of the coffee plants are the Brazilian Yellow Catuai, although they also grow Brazilian Red Catuai, Central America Mundo Novo, Guatemalan Typica, and Jamaican Blue Mountain. All the beans grown at the Kauai Coffee Company plantation are Arabica beans.
- Kauai farms use sustainable practices and are certified by fair trade USA, the rainforest alliance and non-gmo project verified.
- Most of the coffee the Kauai Coffee Company sells is 100 percent Hawaiian. However, some of their foreign origin beans are used in coffee blends with Hawaiian coffee. You can tell which beans are 100 percent Hawaiian because they are marked on their packaging. The 100 percent Hawaiian coffee beans sold by the Kauai Coffee Company can be traced to their exact point of origin. Kauai coffee is the highest quality and does not contain any GMOs.
- All of Kauai Coffee Company’s coffee is double-graded and inspected twice. It first goes through this process with the Kauai Coffee Company, then by the Hawaiian branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Five percent of the crop at Kauai Coffee Company is destined to become part of their Estate Reserve coffee. These are sold to Coffee Club members, visitors to the plantation, and as a limited release through the company’s online store.
- Kauai coffee is less acidic than Kona coffee, with a broader profile. Because Kauai coffee is only grown on the Kauai Coffee Company plantation, it naturally comes along with a high level of consistency. Because of its low acidity, Kauai coffee is a good option for those who have sensitive stomachs, as are the coffee blends and Swiss Water decaffeinated coffee produced by the Kauai Coffee Company.
- Visitors to the plantation can take a guided tour for $25 or enjoy a self-guided tour of the land. You can also enjoy a coffee tasting and take a bag of kauai coffee home with you.
- The entire line of single-origin coffee is available on their website. They sell single origin medium roast, dark roast and decaf coffee varieties as well unroasted coffee beans.
- Not all coffee grown on the beautiful island of Kauai is from the Kauai Coffee Company, though their presence is so large sometimes this may seem true. But Kauai is also home to some much smaller coffee plantations, which produce their own coffees you may encounter when you shop.
Hopefully now you’ve learned about Kauai coffee and the Kauai Coffee Company plantation. The best way to learn about Kauai coffee is to experience it for yourself.