Kaʻu Coffee Mill
Kaʻu Coffee Mill, LLC is a full service coffee mill providing services and retail sales in the district of Kaʻu on the Island of Hawaii. The retail shop provides free tours of coffee orchards, milling, and roasting. The products available for sale include a wide variety of fine Kaʻu coffee, macadamia nuts, art, and gifts all from local artists and producers.
Visiting tourists and local residents have given the retail store and its staff outstanding reviews. (See Yelp.com & Tripadvisor.com). Since its grand opening in May 2012 retail sales have climbed steadily and has quadrupled their sales in a single year. From “nothing of its kind” to a beautiful, highly recommended retail shop is not to be missed in the district. The store has received outstanding reviews and remarkable sales growth within a short number of months.
Kaʻu Coffee Mill has become an increasingly large financial stimulus for the towns of Pahala and Wood Valley in the Kaʻu district. The mill has been able to locally provide job opportunities, community outreach, and international recognition for Kaʻu coffee. A growing interest within the tourism industry has sprouted new ideas and ventures for the hardworking, close-knit town. Visitors are greeted enthusiastically and welcomed to free tours, samples, and unique items for sale found nowhere else on the island. Kaʻu Coffee Mill strives to bring connection with other local companies to keep business on island. In addition, the mill’s new 400kW hydroelectric plant is currently being built to fully power all operations via renewable energy.
Kaʻu Coffee Mill, LLC is a major, fundamental sponsor of the Kaʻu Coffee Festival; Miss Kaʻu Coffee Beauty Pageant; Kaʻu Coffee Recipe Contest; Southside Volleyball Club; community support group, “O’ KaʻuKakou”; Friends of Honoapu; The Nature Conservancy; Hawaii Island Land Trust; Trust for Public Land; and Kaʻu Hospital.
In addition to Yelp.com and Tripadvisor.com, Kaʻu Coffee Mill’s Facebook page is filled with commendations. Recently, Edmund C. Olson, the owner of Kaʻu Coffee Mill LLC, was featured in Hawaii Business Magazine. (July 2013). The 2013 SCAA Roasters Guild Roasters Choice Competition in Boston Massachusetts awarded Kaʻu Coffee Mill as being one of the top ten roasters worldwide.
In 1813, during the last years of the reign of Kamehameha I, Spaniard Don Francisco de Paula Marin introduced coffee plants into his abundant gardens on O‘ahu. Fifteen years later, missionary Samuel Ruggles brought cuttings from O‘ahu to the Kona District south of Kailua, where he was stationed. Within a few years coffee began its ascent as a commercial crop; from the regions of Kona to Kā‘u , and extending to the Hāmākua. In 1892, coffee pioneers introduced Typica: a new variety of coffee bean from Guatemala. Belonging to the coffee arabica species, this cultivar is still used today.
In Kona, coffee followed a unique path compared to other regions. Few other crops besides coffee fared well in the area’s rocky soils; aiding in Kona’s unyielding determination to grow coffee into a thriving, healthy industry. Unfortunately, Hawaiian coffee was quite often subject to global market fluctuations, causing a rather tumultuous legacy.
World coffee prices frequently tumbled, and Kona’s small coffee farmers often paid the unruly debt. Efforts to stabilize sales by exporting “Kona Coffee” blends to the mainland did not initially amount to much success. However a welcomed change came in the 1980s, as consumers were ready to appreciate locally grown, specialty coffees; independence from the world market finally became a possibility. Around the same time sugar cane plantations, which covered farmlands in Hāmākua and Kā‘u, began to plummet. The timing couldn’t have been more ideal for coffee growers island-wide; and Kā‘u was more than ready. Knowing that their trees delivered superior quality, many farmers had maintained their Coffee Arabica trees from earlier days. In the early 2000s, Kā‘u coffee began proudly showing its strength in cupping events worldwide; a number of small farms in Kā‘u began garnering awards. In 2009, the first Kā‘u Coffee Festival was successfully launched, demonstrating coffee to be a tradition of agriculture that will undoubtedly extend Kā‘u into both a promising economic and ecologic future.