For people who love coffee, which I admit I am definitely one of them, a must see location on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai is a visit to the Kauai Coffee Company plantation.
The Kauai Coffee Company has a sprawling plantation located on the west side of the island that stretches from the volcanic foothills all the way to the ocean:
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The size of the plantation is something readily promoted by Kauai Coffee which claims to be the largest coffee estate in the United States with 3,100 acres dedicated to coffee bean cultivation. Kauai Coffee also claims to grow 60% of Hawaii’s annual coffee crop. The land where the Kauai Coffee plantation is located used to be part of the McBryde Sugar empire on the island. McBryde Sugar was founded in 1899 and produced sugar until the plantation was converted to coffee production in 1987 due to falling sugar prices.
The best place to start a tour of the Kauai Coffee plantation is at its visitor center:
The visitor center is located in two original plantation homes from the plantation’s McBryde Sugar days. Buildings like this housed sugar workers for over 100 years on the plantation. Inside the visitor center customers can by all the various kinds of coffees offered by the company, but not before having a chance to try as many free samples as you would like to drink:
It is quite nice to sit on the balcony and enjoy the views of the plantation:
On a clear day the views of the nearby 1,398 feet (426.11 meters) Mt. Kahili are stunning as well:
Kauai Coffee brews some dark, strong coffee so for hard core coffee lovers expect to leave this place with quite buzz! For those that don’t feel like drinking coffee the visitor center also has ice cream and chocolates for sale as well. I highly recommend trying the coffee bean chocolates, they are outstanding. The visitor center also has a few newer and antique coffee production machines on display as well as plenty of information about coffee production on the plantation:
The best way to learn more about coffee production is to take a walk along the guided trail around the plantation:
Along the trail there are plenty of interpretive signs that explain the history of the plantation as well as how coffee is cultivated. The trail also gives visitors an opportunity to get an up close look at the coffee producing trees:
Here is a closer look at the coffee beans:
There is even some left over sugarcane still growing in the plantation as well:
Besides getting a closer look at the trees the trail also allows visitors to get an up close look at the plantation’s machinery as well:
It was interesting to learn that on Kauai the blossoming of the coffee trees begins in February or March and by May, the young fruit begins to form. The fruit ripens around late September and harvesting begins. Kauai’s harvesting period runs from mid-October through early December. The plantation continues to harvest coffee beans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A visit to the Kauai Coffee Company is something that is not for everyone, especially if you don’t drink coffee. However, even those that don’t drink coffee may find the plantation interesting simply from a historical perspective. I found it quite interesting the historical background of the plantation and the walk through the rows of coffee producing trees made for a pleasant walk. For anyone that is a coffee lover like I am, I really developed a taste for Kauai Coffee and order a few bags of coffee from their website to get my Kauai Coffee fix. I really like the Vanilla Macadamia Nut blend they have which is a taste unique to Hawaii.