Big Island

What Makes World-Class Coffee?

Like wine in Napa, when you think about Kona, the first thing that most likely comes to mind is coffee. Kona is one of the only places in the United States where you can travel from farm to farm sampling a variety of coffee grown and processed on location.

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that produces coffee. Ironically, the first coffee trees planted in Hawaii weren’t even planted on the Big Island. In 1813, coffee trees were planted on Oahu as a landscape ornamental plant by a Spanish advisor to the King. Because Kona’s hillside slopes were not ideal for growing sugarcane, coffee was introduced to the region around 1828.

People Coffee

Hand Harvesting Kona Coffee Cherry at Pele Plantations

Kona Offers Ideal Growing Conditions

Yes, other islands are now growing coffee, but their growing conditions are very different than Kona. Kona coffee is produced by a series of approximately 500 small 3 to 5-acre family-owned farms located on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai mountains. People exclaim “but it’s $30 to $50 per pound of 100% Kona Coffee!”

Unlike the large commercial growers in South America and Africa who harvest with machines that shake the coffee cherries of the tree, every Kona coffee cherry is handpicked. When you take into consideration the cost of labor and land, plus the farmers’ commitment to provide a quality product that is 100% locally grown and processed here on the Big Island, it makes the price worth it. Like a fine wine, each farmer takes pride in producing an exceptional quality product.

French Press

Fresh Brazen Hazen Coffee Served Daily

If you haven’t tried it already, Brazen Hazen Coffee located in Holualoa is one of my favorite coffee producers. The farm takes great pride in being a part of the Kona coffee tradition in which their coffee is served at places such as Hualalai Four Season Resort and the Holualoa Inn.

Besides the quality of the product they produce, what I appreciate about this farm is that they offer custom labeling. You can brand the coffee with a custom label that makes a great gift for clients and friends. Or join the Fresh Brew Club and have Kona coffee delivered to your door.


Views of the Kona Coast from Makalani Estates | (MLS# 283928)

The sunny slopes, moderate temperatures, and consistent but light rainfall of the western side of Hualalai Mountain make it ideal for growing coffee and also contribute to the distinctive flavor of Kona coffee. Brazen Hazen grows only Arabica coffee plants, which comprise just 5% of the world’s coffee production.


Coffee country near Holualoa | (MLS# 283595)

The higher elevations above Kona that are ideal for growing coffee also create a comfortable climate to live in. Many love the area surrounding Holualoa for the cooler evening temperatures and beautiful views of the coastline as well as the opportunity to establish lush landscapes, home gardens, and agriculture on their property.

Additional Information

If you are interested in finding out about homes or land available at higher elevations, please contact Carrie Nicholson, R(B), BIC.

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