Situated on the south side of the Big Island, the Ka’u district has gained international recognition and won numerous awards for coffee excellence in the past decade. Coffee has been growing in the region since 1894 but its reputation for quality didn’t start until farmers began submitting their coffees for competition in 2007. This Ka’u is a stellar example of the quintessential profile with rich, sweet flavors of pecan, caramel and cinnamon and notes of orange and vanilla.
Coffee was first cultivated in Ka‘u in 1894 by J.C. Searle. However, his coffee business was not commercially successful due to the competition for land and labor posed by the sugar plantations. When the sugar industry collapsed one hundred years later, and the Ka‘u sugar plantation closed in 1996, the displaced plantation workers looked to coffee as one of the most promising avenues for post-plantation agriculture. The first years of the fledgling Ka‘u coffee industry were rife with challenges as the farmers struggled to acquire the daunting array of agricultural, processing and business skills required to succeed in the modern coffee industry.