For 200 years, dating back to 1800, sugar was king in Hawaii. Over the last several decades sugar production on Kauai began to drop off, and finally took its last breath in 2010. In a stroke of brilliance, perhaps foreseeing the demise of the local sugar industry, McBryde Sugar Plantation, encompassing 3,100 acres along Kauai’s semi-arid leeward side, began planting coffee alongside sugar in 1987. In 1995 sugar was phased out, and with Alexander and Baldwin’s leadership, the Kauai Coffee Company was born. Aside from a significant setback in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki decimated the crops, along with most of the island, Kauai Coffee Company has been going strong ever since, and is now the largest producer of coffee in the state, and the country.
Located near Kalaheo on Highway 50, The Kauai Coffee Company produces several coffee varieties from the ground up. Every step, from the growing and cultivation of the beans, to the packaging and shipping of the final product, and all points in between, happens on the estate grounds. It is a long, multi-step process, which includes harvesting acres of beans, sorting, pulping, grading, and roasting, accompanied by strict checks for quality at every point along the way. Coffee lovers can enjoy a self-guided tour of the entire, painstaking process that transforms the fruit of the coffee blossom into one of the world’s favorite beverages. Another option is to sit comfortably on the lanai of the estate manor and watch it all unfold on video, while you gaze out towards the sea, relax, and sip the spoils. Friendly, knowledgeable associates are on hand to answer any questions that arise.
Dedicated to preserving our island home, Kauai Coffee Company employs environmentally friendly practices in both cultivation and production. 2,500 miles of drip tubing delivers water and fertilizer directly to the plants, which dramatically reduces water usage, and removes the need to spray or dust the crops with fertilizers. The crops themselves are planted in specific configurations designed to prevent runoff and erosion, and all cherry pulp and pruning mulch is recycled back into the rich volcanic soil, reducing weeds and boosting the soil’s nutritional content. These and other practices have reduced the need for herbicides by 75 percent, and Kauai Coffee is proud to be GMO free.
During the cultivation process, the mature coffee beans are carefully sorted by quality level, and the very best 5 % become Kauai Estate Reserve, an elite offering of the finest coffee grown on the island, including Poipu Estate and Koloa Estate, with some of the beans coming from their orchard on the Kukuiula property. 100% Kauai and 100% Hawaii coffees are also available, as well as a sampling of delicious flavored blends, including Macadamia Nut, Coconut Caramel, and Hawaiian-style Irish Cream. Green beans are also available for those who prefer to roast their own. The Visitor Centeropens daily at 9:00 am, and remains open until 5:30 in the summer months and 5:00 from September to May. While you’re staying at one of Kukui’ula’s Hawaii luxury homes, drop in for a free tasting, and explore their large selection of coffee, accessories, and select merchandise to take with you. Enjoy a steaming hot cup of Kauai coffee, and savor the unique taste and character of the Garden Island.