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About > Coffee History

Prior to 1000 AD
History tells us that other Africans, from the same era as the Kaldi legend, fueled themselves upon protein-rich coffee and animal fat balls and unwound with wine made from the coffee-berry pulp.

c. 1000 AD
The drinking of coffee soon spread to Arabia, most likely by Arab traders, and by the end of the 9th Century, a drink known as "qahwa" (literally meaning "that which prevents sleep") was being made by boiling beans.

Coffee is introduced to Constantinople (later Istanbul) by the Ottoman Turks. The world's first coffee shop, Kiva Han, opens there in 1475. Turkish law makes it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he fails to provide her with a daily quota of coffee.

c. 1600
Coffee, introduced to the West by Italian traders, grabs attention in high places. In Italy, Pope Clement VIII is urged by his advisers to consider the favorite drink of the Ottoman Empire part of the infidel threat. One sip, however, and he decides to baptize it instead, making it an acceptable Christian beverage.

Captain John Smith helps to found the colony of Virginia at Jamestown; it is believed that he introduced coffee to North America.

First coffee house opens in Italy.

With a coffee plant smuggled out of the Arab port of Mocha, the Dutch become the first to transport and cultivate coffee commercially, in Ceylon - and in their East Indian colony of Java, source of the brew's nickname.

The Dutch unwittingly provide Louis XIV of France with a coffee bush whose descendants will produce the entire western coffee industry when in 1723 French naval officer Bariel Mathieu deClieu steals a seedling and transports it to Martinique. Within 50 years an official survey records 19 million coffee trees on Martinique. Eventually 90 percent of the world's coffee spreads from this plant.

The Brazilian coffee industry gets its start when Lieutenant Colonel Francisco de Melo Palheta is sent by his government to arbitrate a border dispute between the French and Dutch colonies in Guiana. Not only does he settle the dispute, he also strikes up a secret liaison with the wife of French Guiana's governor. Although France guarded its new world coffee plantations to prevent cultivation from spreading, the lady said goodbye to Palheta with a bouquet in which she hid cuttings and fertile seeds of coffee.

Johann Sebastian Bach composes his Kaffee Kantate.

The Boston Tea Party makes drinking coffee a patriotic duty in America.

Coffee beans were first planted in The Hawaiian Islands by Kamehameha the Great's Spanish interpreter and Physician Don Francisco de Paula y Marin. Marin's plantings were unsuccessful.

Coffee was successfully introduced into Hawaii when in 1825 King Kamehameha II and his wife, and a royal party that included Governor Boki of Oahu, made a state visit to England. The party was beset with measles and the King and Queen both died. While bringing the bodies back to Hawaii, Governor Boki stopped in Rio de Janiero to pick up a number of coffee plants. After returning to Hawaii and having John Wilkinson, a former West Indian planter, plant the trees, the planting stock for the Hawaiian Islands had begun.

After having successfully planted a small field of coffee, Wilkinson died. Others saw the potential of the coffee in the Islands and used seed and cuttings from this small field to begin coffee plantings in other valleys and in other areas around the islands.

Reverend Samuel Ruggles took slips from Wilkinson's field and transported them to Kona making the first plantings at Naole, near Kealakekua Bay. They were planted as ornamental garden plants.

The first commercial venture to produce coffee occurred not in Kona, but in Hanalei on the island of Kauai. In 1845 the venture exported the first 245 pounds of coffee ever from Hawaii, but labor shortages, a drought and a blight put the operation of our business by 1855.

The peak in coffee production on the Big Island of Hawaii happened during this period. Over 415,000 pounds of coffee were exported. Soon after this period, coffee production suffered due to sugar dominance as the Hawaiian crop of choice and the presence of the white scale blight that attacked the coffee crops.

For a short while, interest in commercial coffee cultivation was revived. This was due to the introduction of the Australian ladybird beetle that effectively controlled white blight and the political changes that made more coffee production land available.

The world coffee market crashes.

Hills Bros. Begins packing roast coffee in vacuum tins.

Between 1900 and 1945 donkeys were used as basic transportation in Kona, especially for transporting 100-pound bags of ripe coffee cherry out of the rugged coffee lands up or down to the main road for transport to coffee mills. Dubbed "Kona Nightingales" because of their musical braying, the noble donkey played a vital role in the Kona coffee industry.

The first soluble instant coffee is invented.

German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius turns over a batch of ruined coffee beans to researchers, who perfect the process of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying the flavor.

George Constant Washington, an English chemist notices a powdery condensation forming on the spout of his silver coffee carafe. After experimentation, he creates the first mass-produced instant coffee.

The US imports 70 percent of the world coffee crop.

C. Brewer d.b.a. Royal Kona Coffee, Kona Kai Farms, Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee Co., and Woolson Tea & Spice d.b.a. Lion Coffee Co., filed federal lawsuits that blocked the trade marking of Kona Coffee. This trademark would have aided Kona coffee growers in the battle to combat counterfeiting.

US Customs indicts Kona Kai Farms for counterfeiting Kona coffee

Koa Coffee Plantation opens its doors! The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture began certifying all Hawaiian coffees by origin (island - district). 100% green Kona coffees are certified and graded on a very strict scale.

Hawaiian Isles and C. Brewer, major blenders of Kona coffee, set up camp in Kona causing a coffee cherry bidding war. Local mills who are proponents of only 100% Kona coffee struggle to match the prices of these mills that offer the higher prices. Subsequently, the price of Kona coffee skyrockets and it became apparent that the Kona blend companies were going to cripple the 100% Kona coffee industry. During the previous year a small minority of Kona coffee purists launched a class action lawsuit against several mainland coffee companies who allegedly purchased fraudulent Kona coffee from Kona Kai Farms. The suit targeted several faithful and long time customers and roasters of 100% Kona coffee. Starbucks who purchased a minimal amount of this fraudulent coffee immediately paid a claim of fifteen thousand dollars and vowed never again to boy Kona coffee. Needless to say, this lawsuit has had a devastating effect of potential customers of 100% Kona coffee and has made matters even worse for the hard working local mills trying to sell their high priced 100% Kona coffee.

Kona coffee cherry rises to an all time high of $1.75/lb.

Kona coffee cherry drops to .55/lb after unfaithful farmers, who in the previous season sold to the blenders instead of their regular millers, chased the pot of gold and contributed to a glut of high priced coffee and an unstable market.

We at Koa Coffee Plantation are very proud to offer pure 100% Kona coffee that is State graded and certified. We stand behind our coffee 100%! Aloha!
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