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The district of Kaʻu on the Big Island of Hawaii spans the south side of the island from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the East to Ka Lae or south point on the west. From Black sand beaches on the shore to the oft snow capped peak of Mauna Loa at 13,678' this coffee growing region provides a unique climate for the growing of specialty coffee.
Most of the Coffee grown in Kaʻu is in a climatic band from 1,000' to approximately 2,500' above sea level. The climate and soils of the region have produced some of the best coffees in the world. Since entering coffee bean and cupping competitions in 2007 at the Specialty Coffee Association of America annual events Kaʻu has placed among the top ten coffees in the world. Why does Kaʻu coffee score so highly? The soils of the district are young volcanic ash deposits from nearby Kilauea volcano; they are well drained and acidic in nature which the coffee plants love. The climate of the region provides sunny hot mornings, then a characteristic cloud filled afternoon with light rains. Then at night the cold mountain air flows off of Mauna Loa towards the coast cooling the region and allowing the coffee plants to store energy and sugars within the ripening beans.
There are three major ‘terroirs” of coffee growing areas within the district. With alluring names like Cloud's Rest, Pear Tree, and Wood Valley, these areas are cultivated by a group of enterprising local farmers. The total area in coffee with these regions is only about 600 acres however there are ongoing efforts to expand production n response to the world's demand for this exceptional specialty coffee. Kaʻu Coffee has been described by cupping judges and connoisseurs as having "…Rich flavor, piquant acidity and intriguing hints of sweetness and spice, citrus and jasmine aroma, fresh butter undertones, hints of lime and currant, and a long spice finish…"
The producers of Kaʻu welcome visitors to the heritage town of Pahala where coffee fields grace the slopes above town. Just 25 miles south of Volcano National Park, please stop in for a taste of some of the finest coffee the island has to offer.