About the Origin: The only state in the United States of America able to grow coffee plants commercially is Hawaii. Kona coffee is the market name for coffee (Coffea arabica) cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It has become one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Only coffee from the Kona Districts can be described as “Kona”. The weather of sunny mornings, cloud or rain in the afternoon, little wind, and mild nights combined with porous, mineral-rich volcanic soil create favorable coffee growing conditions. The Hawaiian Islands are notable for their summits of Mauna Loa (4,170 m or 13,680 ft high) and Mauna Kea (4,206 m or 13,799 ft high). The islands are the tops of massive volcanoes, the bulk of which lie below the sea surface. Ocean depths are from (5,750 m or 18,860 ft deep northeast of Maui). Historical lava flows erupted from the summits and rift zones of Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Hualalai volcanoes on Hawaiʻi.
Don Francisco de Paula y Marin recorded in his journal dated January 21, 1813, that he had planted coffee seedlings on the island of Oʻahu, but not much is known of the fate of that planting.
The Waiākea Mission Station was the first Christian mission on the eastern side of the Island of Hawai’i. Also known as the Hilo Station. Rev. Joseph Goodrich tried planting some coffee to make the Hilo mission self-sustaining. Goodrich planted gardens over his 12 years at Hilo, and taught classes for native Hawaiians on cultivation of both for cash to support the mission, as well as vegetables and tropical fruits for their own meals.
In 1825 a larger grass structure was built on present-day Kalakaua Park. Goodrich brought some coffee trees here some time after 1825, and Samuel Ruggles brought some to the other side of the island (the first Kona coffee) in 1828 when he was transferred to the Kealakekua Church
(1795–1871) Samuel Ruggles brought coffee to the Kona District. He carried some Brazilian cuttings of coffee to the Kona District when he was transferred from Hilo on the eastern side of the island of Hawaii to the Kealakekua Church on the western side in July 1828. Although it would take time to get established, this area would be the most successful.
Now the new crop being grown in this area was coffea, the tree bearing fruit made into “beans” for coffee. Although the first trees were brought to the Kona area at nearby Kahikolu Church in the late 1820s these few earlier attempts had uneven results, but.
(1826–1891) Pioneer coffee merchant Henry Nicholas Greenwell moved to the area and established Kona coffee as a recognized brand later in the 19th century. The Greenwell brand developed a reputation for consistent quality for Kona coffee. In 1873, the world’s fair in Vienna awarded Kona trader Henry Nicholas Greenwell an “Award for Excellence”, which gave some recognition to the “Kona” name. Around 1880 the first coffee mill in Hawaii was built near Kealakekua Bay. In 1876 Greenwell provided coffee as part of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 1892 the Guatemalan variety was introduced to Hawaii by German planter Hermann A. Widemann. Widemann was interviewed by US Commissioner James H. Blount in preparing his Blount Report on May 20, 1893. He was the first to experiment with the Guatemalan variety of coffea tree, which turned out to be well adapted to higher elevations; it became the most popular variety through modern times.
Hawaiʻi is said to have been named for Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Other accounts attribute the name to the legendary realm of Hawaiki, a place from which the Polynesian people are said to have originated (see also Manua), the place where they go in the afterlife, the realm of the gods and goddesses. The name is cognate with Savaii, the name of the largest island of Samoa. Captain James Cook, the English explorer and navigator who was the captain of the first European expedition that discovered the Hawaiian Islands, called them the “Sandwich Islands” after his patron, the Earl of Sandwich. Cook was killed on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay on February 14, 1779, in a mêlée which followed the theft of a ship’s boat.
Hawaiʻi was the home island of Paiʻea Kamehameha, later known as Kamehameha the Great. Kamehameha united most of the Hawaiian islands under his rule in 1795, after several years of war, and gave the kingdom and the island chain the name of his native island. The Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893 and the United States annexed the islands in 1898
In the Hawaiian language, kona means leeward or dry side of the island, as opposed to ko’olau that means windward or the wet side of the island. In the times of Ancient Hawaiʻi, Kona was the name of the leeward district on each major island. In Hawai‘i, the Pacific anticyclone provides moist prevailing northeasterly winds to the Hawaiian islands, resulting in rain when the winds contact the windward landmass of the islands – the winds subsequently lose their moisture and travel on to the leeward (or kona) side of the island. When this pattern reverses, it can produce a Kona storm from the west. Kona has cognates with the same meaning in other Polynesian languages. In Tongan, the equivalent cognate would be tonga; for windward, the associated cognate would be tokelau.
The community was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated rule of the archipelago, and it later it became the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The capital later moved to Lāhainā, then, to Honolulu. Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. The town later functioned as a retreat of the Hawaiian royal family. Up until the late 1900s, Kailua-Kona was primarily a small fishing village. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the region has undergone a real estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.
Kailua is located along the shoreline of Kailua Bay and up the southern slope of Hualālai volcano. There are no major rivers or streams in Kailua or on the Kona side of Hawaii.