Established in 1977, Aloha Farms is a Kona coffee farm located on the southern portion of the big island of Hawaii, where under the tropical terrain of the active Mauna Loa volcano the coffee farms thrive. Our farm is located in an area that is all agricultural land in the district of Kona and Ka'u. The rich volcanic soil allows them to harvest the rarest and finest Kona coffee in perfect growing conditions. At 13,680 feet above sea level, rainwater starts its slow descent from high on top the volcano, into the lower aquifers, and filtered naturally through the volcanic rock and loam. The water used by Aloha Farms takes a trip through that sediment at a very slow rate thanks to gravity and pressure, and after a 25-year trek to reach the farm, the water is enhanced naturally with minerals and nutrients because of this volcanic filtering process.
Aloha Farms are advocates of Sustainable Farming so they use an Ecological approach for farming coffee. The coffee orchards are shaded and intermixed with bananas, mangoes, and avocados, as well as other local species of trees, for the creation of a coffee agro-ecosystem that benefits soil, plants, and the whole area fully. Being careful of soil protection, they use pruned branches to make mulch to cover and protect the soil. They use an ecological approach to weed control that also produces a lot of organic matter for the soil. Additionally, they only use organic fertilizers.
The coffee trees are carefully tended, employing both local labor, benefiting the communities living near the farms, and foreign. A fun part of their ecological sustainable farming is their use of sheep and donkeys to control weeds! These animals do not eat the coffee but enjoy eating out all the weeds. As these animals do not uproot or eat the whole weed plants they keep the soil protection properties of the weeds while reducing competition for water and nutrients. The harvest is carefully controlled, picking by hand only the ripe cherries in multiple harvests to the same tree.
About Hawaiian Coffee
When we're talking about coffee production in the United States, we're really talking about Hawaii. Coffee was introduced to Hawaii once in 1817 and again in 1825, but the coffee that we know today as Hawaiian Kona is the Typica variety and it was introduced to Hawaii by way of Guatemala in 1892. In the 1980's, production of coffee increased as sugar cane production was largely abandoned.
Coffee is produced on every island to some degree. The volcanic soils, mild temperatures, and lush conditions create amazing coffees even at lower altitudes than seen in other places around the world. Being a little farther away from the equator also allows the coffee to flourish at those lower altitudes.
Hawaiian coffee fetches a high price for three reasons: it is very rare, it is very high quality, and farm workers receive the highest wages anywhere in the world thanks to USA's labor laws. High prices, obvious logistics considerations, and little support from the government can create challenges. Aside from these issues, Hawaiian coffee production and quality look stable.