1813: Don Francisco de Paula Marin, King Kamehameha I’s Spanish advisor, planted the first coffee seeds in Hawaii. The plantings failed.

1825: After trying coffee in England coffee shops, on his way home, Oahu Governor Boki ordered the ship H.M.S. Blonde to go to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to purchase coffee seedlings. Boki arranged for English agriculturalist John Wilkinson to come to Hawaii, and he grew coffee and sugar in Manoa Valley.

1828: From Wilkinson’s coffee orchard in Manoa Valley, Reverend Samuel Ruggles took cuttings and planted them near Napoopoo, South Kona, to beautify the area.

1836: With seeds and cuttings from the coffee in Manoa Valley, Sherman Peck and Charles Titcomb initiated the first commercial coffee venture in Hawaii in Koloa, Kauai. They subleased 400 acres to plant coffee, cotton, and mulberry to produce silk. Peck and Titcomb succeeded in producing coffee, but failed in producing silk, their main product. Thus, the company folded.

1842: The Hawaiian government encouraged coffee production by allowing people to pay land taxes with coffee. The government also implemented a three-percent tariff on imported coffee, raising it to five percent in 1845.

1845: Godfrey Rhodes and John Bernard began the first large-scale coffee operation in Hanalei, Kauai, planted 1,000 acres of coffee, and exported 245 pounds. However, severe flooding, the subsequent drought, scale insects, and lack of workers due to the California gold rush hurt the coffee operation. Thus, Rhodes and Bernard ended their business in 1858.

1860: Lack of labor, drought, and infestations forced most coffee plantations, except for those on Kona and Hamakua on the Big Island, to close.

1957: Coffee production in Hawaii reached its peak at 15 million pounds of green beans.

1992: The Hawaii legislature passed a statute that required a coffee using the “Kona blend” label to have ten percent Kona coffee

2000: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave the the Hawaii Department of Agriculture federal certification marks for Hawaii-grown coffees, including 100 percent Kona coffee.

2002: The Hawaii legislature passed a truth-in-labeling law, which required coffee packages sold in Hawaii to indicate the coffee’s origin.

Suggested Search Terms: [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] coffee, kona, plantation.

Relevant Historical Articles

Articles from Chronicling America

“Hawaiian Coffee”
Hawaiian gazette, December 9, 1890, Page 6

“A Good Letter: A San Francisco Firm Has But Praise for Hawaiian Coffee”
Hawaiian gazette, August 28, 1894, Page 7

“Will Look at Coffee Fields: Business Men to Leave for Hawaii Today”
Hawaiian gazette, October 9, 1894, Image 1

“To Cultivate Coffee: The Aloha Company Has 300 Acres of Hawaii”
Hawaiian star, October 10, 1894, Image 3

“Coffee Culture on Hawaii: Reports by Men Who Have Visited the Plantation”
Pacific commercial advertiser, November 10, 1894, Image 1

“Some Kona Coffee Lands: The Cultivation of the Berry Increasing Rapidly”
Evening bulletin, August 15, 1895, Page 2

“Kona Residents Are Thankful: Coffee Picking Season Is at Its Height in the Konas”
Hawaiian gazette, October 4, 1895, Page 6

“Something about Second Industry: John G. Waibel Views It from a Business Standpoint”
Hawaiian gazette, June 23, 1896, Page 6, Image 7

“Possibilities of Kona Coffee: Able Treatise by an Experienced Coffee Grower”
Pacific commercial advertiser, July 14, 1896, Image 1

“Hawaiian Coffee: ‘Kamehameha’ Writes of Hawaii’s Fine Prospects”
Pacific commercial advertiser, November 12, 1896, Image 1

“Solving Labor Problem: Kona Coffee Planter Looking After the Future”
Hawaiian star, January 29, 1897, Image 1

“Mr. Wait Talks: North Kona People Wants a District Magistrate”
Pacific commercial advertiser, January 8, 1897, Page 6

“Hawaiian Coffee Trade: Large San Francisco House Making Heavy Purchases”
Hawaiian star, January 30, 1897, Image 1

“Pleased with Their Trip: The Austins Think Well of the Coffee Industry”
Hawaiian star, March 1, 1897, Image 1

“Shipping Ground Coffee: Enterprise Now in Active Operation”
Hawaiian star, June 4, 1897, Image 1

“Twenty-Five per Pound: Shipment of Kona Coffee Brought This Figure”
Hawaiian star, June 7, 1897, Image 1

“What Is Needed: Inspector to Properly Grade Hawaiian Coffee”
Pacific commercial advertiser, August 4, 1897, Page 6

“Mr. Copp’s Coffee: The Judge Has a Very Promising Plantation”
Pacific commercial advertiser, November 5, 1897, Page 5

“The Value of Coffee”
Hawaiian gazette, March 22, 1898, Page 4, Image 5

“A Coffee Disease: Mr. Marsden Sounds a Warning to Planters”
Pacific commercial advertiser, March 23, 1898, Page 3

“Coffee Man Talks: Prices and Markets the Subjects of His Communication”
Pacific commercial advertiser, April 23, 1898, Image 1

“Coffee Man Talks: Prices and Markets the Subjects of His Communication”
Hawaiian gazette, April 26, 1898, Page 6

“Our Coffee Interests: Practical Talk on the Outlook Ahead”
Pacific commercial advertiser, May 15, 1901, Page 13

“A Boom for Our Coffee: The United States May Give Its Islands a Monopoly of Trade”
Pacific commercial advertiser, May 17, 1901, Image 1

“The Blight of Lantana: How It May Destroy Coffee Trees”
Pacific commercial advertiser, August 26, 1901, Page 11

“The Kona Coffee Districts”
Evening bulletin, November 30, 1901, Industrial Edition, Page 42

“Protection for Coffee: A Report Is Sent to True by Jared Smith”
Pacific commercial advertiser, December 20, 1901, Page 6

“A Symposium on the Topic of Small Farming in Hawaii”
Pacific commercial advertiser, March 29, 1902, Page 15

“Jared Smith’s Advice to Hawaiian Coffee Growers”
Pacific commercial advertiser, December 22, 1903, Page 7

“Market for Our Coffee: The Government Will Buy Product if Price and Quality Are Right”
Pacific commercial advertiser, February 3, 1905, Image 1

“The Coffee Industry”
Pacific commercial advertiser, January 1, 1905, PART 1, Page 2

“Coffee-Growing in Hawaii”
Pacific commercial advertiser, August 8, 1905, Page 5

“Kona Requests Aid for Her Industries”
Pacific commercial advertiser, May 28, 1907, Page 7

“Protective Tariff on Coffee: Mr. Bruner Criticized and His Critic Answered by Mr. Louisson”
Pacific commercial advertiser, December 30, 1907, Page 5

“Hawaii’s Coffee for U.S. Army”
Hawaiian star, April 3, 1912, SECOND EDITION, Page 7

“Kona Coffee for All Troops in Philippines”
Honolulu star-bulletin, September 20, 1912, 3:30 Edition, Page 2

“A Little More Faith!”
Hawaiian gazette, March 6, 1914, Page 4

“Inspection to Help Kona Coffee”
The Hawaiian gazette, July 14, 1914, Page 4

“May & Co. Draw Wide Attention in Coffee Trade”
Honolulu star-bulletin, February 13, 1917, 2:30 Edition, Page 3


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