Growing Coffee on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai
The coffee plantation on Molokai is called Coffees of Hawaii Estate and Farm. The 500-acre coffee farm as well as a coffee mill are located in the village of Kualapuu at about 850 feet above sea level on the upper slopes of the central part of the island.
Molokai Coffee Plant Varietals
Most of the coffee plants at the Molokai coffee plantation are of the Arabica varietal Red Catuai. This coffee plant type has been shown to grow well in the red earth common in the area.
The fertile volcanic soils of this region made it good for growing sweet potatoes (uala) in ancient times and thus the village name of Kualapuu which means “Sweet potato hill.”
Growing Coffee on Molokai
Irrigation of the Molokai coffee plantation utilizes a 1.5 billion gallon reservoir which serves the Hoolehu agricultural plains as well as the village of Kualapuu.
Coffees of Hawaii Estate and Farm consists of many long rows of irrigated coffee trees. The crop is picked using harvesting machines much like the large-scale coffee growing operation on Kauai. These are in contrast to Kona Coffee which is hand-picked.
Varieties of Molokai Coffee
Coffees of Hawaii offers two main coffee brands including the dry processing Molokai Muleskinner and the wet processed Malulani Estate.
Molokai Muleskinner coffee is given a medium dark roast while the Maulani Estate is given a medium roast. The Maulani Estate coffee provides a rich body with a mild acidity and tones of chocolate. The complex aromas include herbal notes.
Other offerings include Molokai Style Espresso and a vanilla-infused Molokai Island Princess Coffee. Coffees of Hawaii also blends Nicaraguan coffee beans with coffee beans from Molokai, Kona, and Maui.
Molokai Coffee Farm Tour
Coffees of Hawaii offers a free self-guided “deck tour” providing information about the history of the plantation and how the operation is run today. They also offer guided tours on foot for $20, and mule-drawn wagon tours ($35 for adults and $10 for children).
Visitors can also enjoy some food at the Espresso Bar & Deli and pick up some souvenirs at the gift shop. The Espresso Bar is a popular stop for Molokai visitors on their way to or from the trailhead to the historic Kalaupapa Peninsula where Saint Damien ministered to the sick.
Every Saturday evening live jazz music is featured at the Espresso Bar. Every Sunday afternoon on the lanai at Coffees of Hawaii is live entertainment featuring contemporary and Hawaiian music.
Coffees of Hawaii is open from 6am to 5pm on weekdays, 8am to 4pm on Saturdays, and 8am to 7pm on Sundays. The plantation is located along the Farrington Highway.
History of Coffee Farming
Coffee cultivation began in Kualapuu after Del Monte shut down their pineapple-growing operations in the region in 1988.
It was not until 2004, however, when the land was bought by a Nicaraguan coffee grower along with California co-owners, that Coffees of Hawaii created a thriving coffee-growing operation on Molokai.
Coffees of Hawaii named their business Friendly Isle Coffee Company but operates as Coffees of Hawaii because they offer products from other Hawaiian Islands in addition to Molokai coffee.
For more information see: Hawaii Coffee; Big Island Coffee; Kona Coffee; Oahu Coffee; Maui Coffee; Kauai Coffee; Hawaii Coffee Grading; Hawaii Coffee Facts; Hawaii Coffee History – Kona Coffee History; Kona Coffee Farm Tours.
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