From Coffee Farm to Front Door
Ideal Coffee Farming ConditionsTemperature, altitude, and soil are some of the most important environmental conditions to consider and account for on a coffee farm. Coffee grows best in climates with nutrient-rich soil, warm temperatures, and frequent rain. Often referred to as the 'bean belt,' coffee farms are primarily located between 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south. On Kauai, mother nature provides us with rich volcanic soil, tropical sunshine, mild temperatures, and abundant mountain rain, which is the perfect combination for delicious island-grown coffee.
What's Planted on a Coffee Farm?Most people are familiar with the dark and shiny look of roasted coffee beans but might not be able to identify a coffee tree as quickly. The botanical origin of coffee comes from a genus of plants known as Coffea. Within this genus, there are more than 6,000 species of tropical trees and shrubs and somewhere between 25 and 100 species of coffee. All the coffee grown on the Kauai Coffee farm is Coffea arabica. Arabica coffee makes up approximately 70% of global coffee production.
Coffee Tree Growth and MaturityIt can take up to 4 years from when a coffee seedling is planted until it reaches maturity and produces fruit. Coffee naturally loses productivity as it ages, but regular pruning and adequate spacing between plants can improve the tree's lifespan and productivity. Mature coffee trees that are well cared for on the farm can produce coffee for 50-60 years, but up to 100 years is not impossible.
Coffee Flowers, Cherries, and Seeds
When coffee trees bloom, they produce a delicate, self-pollinating flower that lasts only a few hours before it begins to wilt and fall off the branches. After flowering, coffee cherries grow along the branches of the trees until ripe and ready for harvest. One interesting thing about coffee cherries is that they ripen at different times, even on a single branch.
During the early days of the harvest, the team may make a preliminary pass and collect coffee cherries from the top of the trees and then a second pass later in the season to give the remaining cherries that are lower on the tree a little more time to ripen perfectly. Visitors to the Kauai Coffee Estate often ask if coffee cherries are edible. The answer is they are edible but not delectable. Unlike other cherries, coffee cherries are cultivated for their seeds and have very little flesh and a tough outer layer that makes them tricky and unsatisfying to eat.
That doesn't mean the organic material surrounding the seed goes to waste. Our cherry pulp and the mulch from pruning the coffee trees are put back into the land as compost to keep our soil healthy. In addition to adding nutrients to the soil of our coffee farm, this mulch also reduces weeds.
Water for Coffee
Just like your morning cuppa needs the right amount of water to taste great, healthy coffee trees also require adequate water to produce a high yield and high-quality coffee fruit. At many small to medium-sized coffee farms worldwide, growers rely on rainfall as the only water source. Of course, rainfall is critical, but Kauai Coffee is also the world's largest drip irrigation coffee estate, with over 2,500 miles of drip tubing. The efficient drip irrigation system applies water and fertilizers directly to the tree roots, so fertilizer does not have to be sprayed or dusted on the coffee farm. Kauai Coffee compost
Cover Crops and Compost
The Kauai Coffee Farm is the largest in the USA, with approximately four million coffee trees growing on 3,100 acres. One of our top priorities is producing coffee you can feel great about sharing with your 'ohana. We're proud of our triple-certified Hawaiian coffee and focus on sustainable farming practices.
Our orchard sustainability program aims to create healthier soil, reduce synthetic fertilizer and herbicide use, reduce irrigation requirements, and produce even better coffee cup profiles. The two main components of the sustainability program are cover crops and a massive composting program. Learn more about the conversion to cover crop operations and the composting program here.
Harvesting CoffeeThe coffee harvest season is relatively short in Hawaii. We typically begin harvest operations in September and finish in December. We use mechanical harvesters to maximize the yield of ripe cherries. These machines may look beastly but are gentle giants that remove ripe cherries from the coffee trees with rotating, flexible arms that drive over the trees and shake the fruit loose from its branches.
Processing, Roasting PackagingGrowing and harvesting coffee is just the beginning of the journey from seed to cup. The coffee supply chain can often be complex and involve numerous companies handling the farming, harvesting, processing, roasting, and distribution. Kauai Coffee is different. We're a vertically integrated company. This means that every step of the process, from seed to cup, happens under our care. Our 100% Hawaiian coffees are grown, roasted, and packaged on our authentic Hawaiian coffee estate and shipped directly to your door with aloha.
Visit the Kauai Coffee Farm
Did you know you can visit the Kauai Coffee farm and meet the people and plants that make it possible? You can! The Kauai Coffee Visitor Center is in Kalaheo on the south side of Kauai. We're open seven days a week, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Visitors can enjoy free coffee samples, shopping, and tours. Self-guided tours of the Visitor Center are free, and our popular farm tour is back! Purchase farm tour tickets online to board our open-air bus and bounce down the red dirt roads that crisscross the estate for a coffee experience you won't forget! 100% Kauai Coffee is cared for with aloha from seed to cup. Order online to receive a taste of paradise from our coffee farm on the sunny south shore of Kauai directly to your door.
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