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We recently planned a trip to the Hawaiian island of Maui. I had never been to this particular island, but when I travel to a coffee-growing region of the world, I make a point of visiting a coffee farm. Not only does it provide you with an amazing and eye-opening perspective on coffee and its origin, but also provides you with coffee as farm-fresh as you’ll ever find.
My research ahead of time had pointed me in the direction of the MauiGrown Coffee company, but it took some work to get the information that I was looking for. A lot of my research pointed me in the direction of coffee roasters that were situated on Maui, but roasting coffee from the Kona region of Hawaii’s Big Island. This isn’t what I was looking for. I’d been to Kona a couple times already, and had visited farms there. I knew that Maui offered the same tropical climate, elevation, and rich soil that made Kona coffee so esteemed, and wanted to learn about its own unique coffee.
Over e-mail, I met Jeff Ferguson, vice president of the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store. I let him know when we were landing on Maui, and that we would be driving straight to their location. Even before checking into our condo, I might add – hey, we weren’t going to be drinking anything but premium coffee throughout our stay!
As soon as we arrived at the store, we were treated to a tasting and background of the four varieties of coffee that are grown on Maui: Yellow Caturra, Red Catuai, Guatemalan Typica, and the esteemed Maui Mokka, that you will hear much about in the weeks ahead. In this picture, Jeff is walking me through the bean-to-cup process of how MauiGrown grows, separates, pulps, dries, roasts, and bags its coffee.
MauiGrown Coffee is Hawaii’s largest independently owned coffee grower, with 500 acres of trees on the slopes of West Maui. Fifth-generation Maui resident and native Hawaiian James “Kimo” Falconer started MauiGrown, only the second company to grow coffee on Maui. The first was Pioneer Mill, for which Falconer was director of agriculture. Since 2003, MauiGrown Coffee has been the only major producer of 100% Maui origin coffee.
I’m a coffee fiend, so the tasting didn’t make the decisions of what to buy any easier. We wanted to make sure we were drinking good coffee during our stay in Maui, but also had enough good coffee to take home. On top of it, we wanted to make sure not to buy so much that any of it would go stale back home. While we deliberated, Jeff warned us that the place where we were staying in Maui included MauiGrown coffee for guests!
In this picture, Jeff is walking us through the four different varieties grown on Maui, their background, and flavor characteristics.
From the store, we went on a self-guided tour of MauiGrown‘s coffee orchard. Harvest generally starts in September for the Yellow Caturra, and extends into the early part of the new year for the Guatemalan Typica.
In this picture, the dark green color of the coffee cherries means that it has not yet ripened, but will soon turn to the ripe dark red color, at which time it will be picked.
Check out MauiGrown’s website, to learn more about them.
Check out MauiGrown’s online store, where you can order their signature coffees and merchandise.