On the slopes of the island of Hawaii grow the most delicious coffee loved the world over, Kona Coffee. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world as it can only be grown on the Big Island in Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona districts. As champaign can only be called so if from that region in France so it is with Kona coffee.
First brought to the island as cuttings from Brazil in 1828 by Samuel Ruggles, it took until the end of the century to get to a stable crop. It was grown on large plantations until 1899 when the world coffee market crash created a situation where the land had to be leased out to the workers. Most of these workers were from Japan and came from sugar cane plantations and each parcel was 5 to 12 acres.
There are about 800 farms on the island now and the average parcel is less than 5 acres. Approximately 2300 acres of the island are dedicated to growing coffee. Production of green coffee is over 2 million pounds annually.
Coffee flowers bloom in February and March, the small white flowers are known locally as Kona Snow. In April the green coffee beans appear and by late August the red berries are ready for picking. Each tree is hand-picked several times between August and January yielding 23 to 30 pounds of beans.