How Does Volcanic Ash Affect Coffee Quality?

by | May 30, 2018 | Coffee Quality

Aerial view of Ka’u Coffee Mill fields

It doesn’t! So far ash shows no effects on our coffee crops. Since the recent continued eruptions of the lower East Rift Zone in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, there have also been Ash eruptions from the vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at Kīlauea’s summit.  The ash has been carried downwind towards the Ka’u area which has caused some concern about its effects on coffee crops in the area.  Here at Ka’u Coffee Mill, we have taken careful preventative measures to mitigate the effects of ash.  Our crew has been running large capacity sprayers spraying water on the coffee trees to rinse off any major ash deposits.  We have noticed that there is still a light coating of ash remaining on the coffee trees, however so far there seems to be no ill effect to the trees. 

Yesterday brought heavy rains which helped to rinse the trees off once again.  We are expecting more rain throughout the week which will help reduce any further ash fall as well as improve air quality.  We continue to monitor our coffee crops.  We are presently not in harvest season which is beneficial in several ways in that there are fewer workers in the fields exposed to ash and SO2 emissions, and the coffee cherries are not being processed.  Historically, coffee has always thrived in Volcanic regions, so we don’t foresee the ash eruptions as being an issue and that is a good thing!