Friday, April 6, 2012

History of Kona Coffee

Kona coffee got its start in 1828 when a traveler named Samuel Ruggels brought the first arabica coffee plants to Hawai‘i. It wasn't long before farmers realized that Kona's rich volcanic soil, varied elevations and stellar climate made the ideal location for growing some of the best coffee in the world. Even Mark Twain commented: "I think Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other."

Local coffee growers met with many ups and downs through the decades, beginning with a white scale blight in the 1850s, followed by a black fungus blight in the early 1900s. Eventually, the pests were brought under control. The first coffee mill was built in Napoopoo, near Kealakekua Bay, in 1850. Later that century, many cultures of immigrants began cultivating their own coffee farms, as larger plantations were divided into smaller plots of land averaging five acres. Pretty soon, Japanese farmers became very adept at the art of coffee growing. More than 6,000 acres of coffee was planted in the North Kona area alone. By the 1930s, coffee had become one of the most prolific products in the territory of Hawai‘i.

Today, there are more than 600 farms in the Kona Coffee Belt, many of which have been passed down through generations. Some even offer tours of their fields and mills.

Located in the upper elevations of Holualoa, Brazen Hazen boasts an excellent elevation for producing the perfect cup of brew brimming with complex flavors. Our love and appreciation for the Kona coffee traditions is what keeps us working hard to uphold the quality that's inherent in the Kona name.

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