MauiGrown Coffee carves new marketing niche, popularity growing worldwide
LAHAINA, Maui, Hawaii — March 18, 2014
It has been almost 25 years since the former Pioneer Mill Company first started planting coffee on their Kaanapali Estate in West Maui. Today, MauiGrown Coffee is not only flourishing as one of the largest commercial coffee growers in the U.S., but they've also carved a growing market niche worldwide for their 100% MAUI Origin Coffee.
"Back in 1988 we planted four Arabica varietals — Yellow Caturra, Red Catuai, Typica and Mokka," said James "Kimo" Falconer, President of MauiGrown Coffee. "At the time, it was considered cutting edge to have multiple coffee varieties planted on a single estate. Through the years, we focused on refining our varietal approachread more
to growing coffee and our harvesting and processing methods. Today, the fruits of our labor are paying off."
MauiGrown Coffee is unique in that the farm offers both washed and natural process in each variety of coffee. Their methods for harvesting, processing and storing their varieties separately also differ from most coffee farms worldwide. This distinction has helped the company carve a new market niche and driven up the demand for 100% MAUI Origin Coffee.
In 1995, in their first year, the Kaanapali Estate sold approximately 65,000 lbs of coffee. In 2013, over 450,000 lbs of coffee were sold under the MauiGrown Coffee brand in Hawaii, the Continental U.S., Japan, Germany, Korea, Australia and Canada.
Hawaii roasters embraced MauiGrown Coffee's natural product from the get go, whereas the U.S. Mainland markets have traditionally preferred the washed product. However, the company sees a shift in this trend with more mainland roasters now carrying the natural product which may be attributed to either a taste preference and/or the company's continued efforts to perfect the handling of their natural coffees.
"Since the opening of the company's retail store in Lahaina seven years ago, we've seen the demand for these coffees quadruple," Jeff Ferguson, Co-owner of the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store. "Our niche is offering MauiGrown's natural processed coffees which our customers from around the world seem to gravitate towards. These distinct coffees offer a sweeter, fruitier flavor with occasional notes of dark chocolate and cherries."
"MauiGrown Coffee is a great example of the expansion of coffee in Hawaii," said Dave Gridley, President of Maui Oma Coffee Roasting Co. "For so long everyone growing coffee in Hawaii tried to be like the Kona varietals on the Big Island of Hawaii. Then MauiGrown Coffee came along and created their own reputation offering unique processing techniques and multiple varieties of coffee to choose from. It really opened the door for other coffee growers in Hawaii."
"It seems like only yesterday that we were knee-deep in coffee research and traveling to coffee-growing regions around the world," said Falconer. "Fast forward 25 years and fresh off our recent harvest season, I feel like we're still perfecting our craft, improving, learning and passionately involved with the Hawaii Coffee and Specialty Coffee industry in order to create a superb cup of coffee. Our varietals are like our babies and we're excited to see them growing up."
MauiGrown Coffee will be exhibiting at the 26th America Exposition in Seattle, WA on April 24-27 (booth # 10042), as well as at future Coffee Fest shows in St. Louis, MO and Portland, OR later this year. Sampling of MauiGrown Coffee's new Maui Mokka coffees will debut at the shows.
For information, contact Kimo Falconer via e-mail or call 808-357-1204, or Ci-Ci Hehemann via e-mail or call 808-870-6215. The MauiGrown Coffee Company Store is located at 277 Lahainaluna Road in Lahaina, Maui, call 808-661-2728 for information and/or store hours.
Hawaii Magazine, March, 2014
In HAWAII Magazine's 2nd Annual Readers' Choice Award, announced in their March issue, MauiGrown Coffee was ranked fourth in the "Best Hawaii-Grown Coffee Brand Category." Readers voted for their favorites in different categories and the magazine did not provide a "list" to pick from in each category, which literally meant readers needed to remember the company name. Majority of the voters were from the U.S. Mainland.
MauiGrown Coffee extends a big mahalo everyone who voted and are continuing to enjoy the fruits of our labor on the U.S. Mainland, statewide and at our MauiGrown Coffee Company Store in Lahaina. Our cup runneth over!
New owners ride the Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms wave
Lahaina News, February 13-19, 2014
KAANAPALI — Surfing has a way of bringing people together. For new Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms owners Abby and Robert Rinke, they didn't realize just how much their favorite pastime would change their lives until recently. After searching for nearly six years for their second home, Abby recalled how it brought them to Maui. For full article click here.
No tricks, only treats at MauiGrown Coffee Company Store
This Halloween, treat yourself to MauiGrown Coffee Company Store's "Ghouls Brew," a serious blend of dark roasted coffees. According to the store's co-owner Jeff Ferguson, legend has it that each year, the Ghoul comes to town and selects a special coffee to be his Ghoul's Brew. This year, he chose MauiGrown Coffee to create his special brew. The Ghoul leaves town at midnight on October 31st, but this coffee is so hard to resist, they're making this flavor available through November 1st.
This special brew is just one of the many sweet surprises awaiting coffee lovers as MauiGrown Coffee celebrates three milestone anniversaries with the start of their new harvest season — the 25th anniversary of Kaanapali Estate (established by the former Pioneer Mill Company), the 10th anniversary of MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. (established by 5th generation farmer Kimo Falconer), and the 7th anniversary of the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store.read more
In celebration of this milestone year, the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store will be offering coffees, shirts, mugs and memorabilia for sale starting from November 1st through November 9th. Customers will enjoy samplings of MauiGrown Coffee's exceptional varietals — Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and their famous Maui Mokka. A special anniversary blend called "Kimo's Brew" will be unveiled and offered for the first time to the public. Additionally the 25 year Anniversary Blend will be on sale — a unique blend of all four coffee varietals in one flavorful cup. Organized coffee tours, sample coffee roasting, live music and a coffee cup art contest are also being planned. Watch for announcements of these and other events and promotions throughout the year on website www.MauiGrownCoffee.com and/or follow on Facebook.
For Ferguson, who opened the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store with his partners Diane Boyd and Falconer, it's been a whirlwind 7 years. Fueled by their passion for coffee, their team has helped to position the store; located adjacent to the historic Pioneer Mill Company smokestack; as a must-stop, must-experience destination — an accolade that they've certainly earned. Their customers appreciate the friendly service and local knowledge of the Kaanapali Estate coffee growing region and, together with landowner Kaanapali Land Management Corp. (KLM), they've helped to put MauiGrown Coffee on the map.
Looking towards the future, Ferguson is optimistic about the MauiGrown Coffee brand.
"It all started with Kimo's dream — to see coffee thrive in West Maui," said Ferguson and we wanted to help make that happen. "Today, MauiGrown Coffee is creating a buzz amongst coffee aficionados worldwide thanks to the dedicated efforts of Kimo, KLM, local farmers and our store's team. But in the end what matters most is what our customers think. As long as they continue to appreciate an exceptional cup of coffee, MauiGrown Coffee has a bright future ahead."
The MauiGrown Coffee Company Store is located at 277 Lahainaluna Road, next to the historic Pioneer Mill smokestack on Lahainaluna Road in Lahaina. Open Monday through Saturday, 6:30 am to 5 pm. For more information, visit www.MauiGrownCoffee.com or call (808) 661-2728.
Happy Anniversaries, MauiGrown Coffee!
Lahaina News, August 29, 2013
As numbers go, this year is a celebratory one for MauiGrown Coffee.
25 years ago the former Pioneer Mill Company first started planting coffee on their Ka‘anapali Estate—today, it is home of the premier agricultural community of Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms. 10 years ago Ka‘anapali Estate vice president, Kimo Falconer, realized his dream of starting his very own coffee operation when he established MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. 7 years ago MauiGrown Coffee Company Store, located adjacent to the historic Pioneer Mill Company's smokestack, opened its doors in 2006 to the delight of coffee enthusiasts locally and worldwide.read more
Today, MauiGrown Coffee is one of theŹlargest commercial coffee growers in the U.S. and the original and only major producer of 100% MAUI Origin Coffee in the world. Efforts to establish a unique brand and a coveted place in the coffee world have been an amazing journey for this kama‘aina company, and the opportunity to share the fruits of their labor to a worldwide audience continues to fuel their passion.
"It seems like only yesterday that we were knee-deep in coffee research and traveling to coffee-growing regions around the world," said Falconer. "Fast forward 25 years and heading into a new harvest season, I feel like we're still perfecting our craft improving on our growing, harvesting and production methods to create a superb cup of coffee."
The company's roots began in the late 1980s. West Maui, it turned out, provided a perfect growing environment for four arabica varieties — "Yellow Caturra","Red Catuai", "Typica", and a nearly 1,000-year old variety called "Mokka". Because of the impressive results of its field trials, Pioneer Mill planted what would eventually become a 500-acre commercial coffee operation. The company built a processing plant and purchased coffee harvesting equipment. In less than a decade, Pioneer Mill renamed the operation Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee and was producing 500,000 pounds of green arabica beans annually.
Despite a tremendous amount of hard work and perseverance, continued losses in sugar proved to be the downfall of Pioneer Mill Company. But the company's commitment to preserve West Maui's agricultural roots remained steadfast. Even after Pioneer Mill closed down, landowner Kaanapali Land Management Corp. continued to maintain the coffee trees in the hopes that someone would take over and keep the land in agriculture as they had intended.
Re-enter James "Kimo" Falconer — a fifth-generation Lahaina resident with a passion for nurturing the land and for coffee in equal measure. With the help of Kaanapali Land Management Corp. and his strong resolve, the dormant Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee plantation would soon live again under the MauiGrown Coffee banner.
Today, one can visit Kaanapali Coffee Farms on the breathtaking slopes of the West Maui Mountains, home of MauiGrown Coffee. It's definitely worth a visit or you can choose to live in this master-planned community (ownership includes your very own coffee orchard!) — a place steeped in tradition and natural beauty.
With a bevy of anniversaries to celebrate this year, MauiGrown Coffee can honestly say their cup runneth over.
For information on MauiGrown Coffee, visit www.MauiGrownCoffee.com, follow them on Facebook, or visit the store at 277 Lahainaluna Rd. For information on Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms, call 888-KCF-MAUI (888-523-6284), visit www.KaanapaliCoffeeFarms.com or follow them on Facebook.
Interview with Kimo Falconer
Howard Dicus, Hawaii News Now, August 29, 2013
Hawaii News Now's Howard Dicus interviewed MauiGrown Coffee's Kimo Falconer on August 29th. Hear what Kimo had to say about the Kaanapali Fresh event (with its coffee theme) and about MauiGrown Coffee's growing success.
A cup of Paradise
Kaanapali Magazine, Summer/Fall 2013
When Lahaina farmer Kimo Falconer visited New York City last February, he stopped at a Starbucks. The barista was brewing up individual cups of coffee on a fancy, newfangled machine. At $7 a pop, these weren't just any coffees. They represented the cr¸me de la cr¸me of the coffee world, a limited supply of exceptional beans from a select few farms. For full article by Shannon Wianecki click here.
Hawaii Business Magazine, July 2013
Maui Coffee growers step out from Kona's shadow to define their brand. For full article by Shannon Wianecki click here.
Growing & processing methods pay off for MauiGrown Coffee
May 7, 2013
As MauiGrown Coffee winds down on another successful harvest season, the company is optimistic about the future of their 100% MAUI Origin Coffee thanks to their unique varietal approach to coffee, innovative coffee growing and processing methods, and a strong demand locally and nationally for their products.
"It's exciting to see how far we've come since the first coffee field trials were conducted in the State of Hawaii," said Kimo Falconer, president of MauiGrown Coffee.read more
Back in 1988, Pioneer Mill participated in a University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources field trial experimenting with over 23 coffee varietals in different test plots throughout the major Hawaiian Islands. As a result of this trial, four coffee Arabica varietals — Yellow Caturra, Red Catuai, Typica and Mokka — were found to best match the growing conditions of West Maui.
"We planted all four varietals. At the time, it was cutting edge to have multiple coffee varieties planted on a single estate," said Falconer. "Today this varietal approach is industry practice. Much like fine wine being distinguished by varietals, so too gourmet coffee is offering the consumer many cup profiles from a single coffee estate."
MauiGrown Coffee's unique cultivation approach to growing coffee is not the only thing paying off — their processing methods for their coffee varietals is also contributing to the company's growing success.
"Our Yellow Caturra coffee varietal received great reviews at the Cafe Show in Seoul, South Korea last November," said Falconer. "We feel this is due to the refinement of our processing techniques in the Wet and Dry Mills, timing of picking and overall maturation of the trees. These refinements have helped our Natural coffees overall resulting in only subtle visual differences between the Naturals and Washed coffees and, more importantly, in the cup, where cuppers can clearly distinguish the fruit and not the ferment."
The percentage of Washed process coffees which are about 40% of the harvest, has increased over the last couple years due to the timing of picking. The quality of coffee has also improved overall due to the addition of two fermentation tanks. Even the company's signature Maui Mokka™ has undergone changes.
"We modified Maui Mokka's processing technique to store the dried cherry raisin for about six months prior to running it through the Dry Mill," said Falconer. "This technique enhances the body and brings out the hearty plum, cherry, and dark chocolate notes and accentuates the characteristics of this particular varietal."
Coffee connoisseurs continue to take note of Maui Mokka's exceptional flavor. In fall 2012, Maui Mokka™ was chosen by Starbucks® Coffee to be included in their esteemed Starbucks Reserve Coffee® product line, as well as being served in select Starbucks Clover stores. According to Starbucks®, they screen through thousands of coffees from all over the world and only a precious few are exceptional enough to become a Starbucks Reserve® Coffee. Coffee critics and consumers worldwide also give Maui Mokka™ high marks for producing a superb cup of coffee.
"We've learned a lot through the years," said Falconer. "But some things stay the same, like our passion for growing and producing exceptional coffee. We love what we do and we're proud to share the fruits of our labor with the world."
The public may take self-guided tours of MauiGrown Coffee's coffee estate located in the Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms community in West Maui. Those who have recently visited any coffee farms on the Big Island, where the Coffee Berry Borer pest is prevalent, are advised to take precautions when visiting any farms to prevent this pest from spreading to other islands.
MauiGrown Coffee reports record harvest with Maui Mokka its shining star
March 12, 2012
This week, MauiGrown Coffee reported a record harvest of their Arabica coffee varieties grown at the 500-acre Kaanapali Estate. MauiGrown Coffee is the largest individually operated coffee grower in the U.S. and the original and only major producer of 100% MAUI Origin Coffee in the world.
This year's harvest, which totaled in excess of 350,000 lbs of green coffee, exceeded the volume of any prior harvests. The company credits their continued focus on quality as a major contributor to the increase in cherry production.
Since MauiGrown Coffee was established in 2003, the company has been working on revitalizing the coffee plants abandoned by the old Pioneer Mill Company, which closed its doors in 2001. Today, the fruits of their labor can be seen and measured. read more
The cherries of MauiGrown Coffee's four coffee varieties — Yellow Caturra, Red Catuai, Typica and Maui Mokka™ — have increased in size due to better nutrition received by the coffee trees over the years. The plants are much healthier and in better condition thanks to the ongoing efforts of veteran farmers and grower Kimo Falconer, president of MauiGrown Coffee, who also serves as current president of the Hawaii Coffee Growers Association.
"Our goal is to produce a bountiful range of unique, distinctive and high quality coffees," said Falconer. "We take a seed to cup approach, from ensuring the health of our plants to continuing to improve on how we process our coffee cherries. For instance, all our cherries are now 100% fully washed versus semi-washed just one year ago, an additional processing step that has gained positive feedback from customers and cuppers."
Maui Mokka™ continues to take the lead as MauiGrown Coffee's star varietal. Last year's Maui Mokka™ inventory all but sold out and customers are anticipating the release of their new 2012 crop, which just became available for sale this month. This demand is due in part to the loyal following of Hawaii, U.S. Mainland and Japanese customers, but also due to Maui Mokka's recent entry into the European and German markets. Japan Airlines now serves 100% Maui Mokka™ coffees on all of its Japan to Hawaii flights and is looking to expand the Maui Mokka™ offering on all of its international routes. MauiGrown Coffee anticipates more exposure and growth for their Maui Mokka™ varietal in national and international markets this year.
Mokka is an amazing coffee variety originally discovered in Yemen that dates back around 1,000 years. In addition to its unique origin, the processing method for Maui Mokka™ differs from other varietals. MauiGrown Coffee stores the dried cherry raisin for six months before milling the coffee. This technique enhances the body and brings out the hearty plum, cherry, and dark chocolate notes and accentuates the characteristics of this particular varietal — what coffee connoisseurs expect from a superb cup of coffee.
MauiGrown Coffee in Lahaina a worldly establishment
February 3, 2011 — The Maui News
The president of MauiGrown Coffee in Lahaina just went on an exotic trip to help put Maui coffee on the world map.
"I went to Sana'a, Yemen, for the Arabica Naturals Conference last month," says Falconer. "I spoke at the conference about the Mokka coffee variety we grow here on Maui that actually originated in Yemen. While there is an Al Qaeda presence there, it was a safe and interesting trip."
The photo Falconer provided really speaks to what the Yemenese culture considers "dressing up" for business. "The jambia sword is their equivalent of our tie," he says. read more
"I also went to Ethiopia and then met my family in Rome."
In addition, the MauiGrown Coffee Store, located near the historic smokestack off Lahainaluna Road, is the place to go for the coffee lover in your life when shopping for Valentine's Day.
"We will have Mokka coffees to sample and taste," says Manager Jeff Ferguson, who, with Diane Boyd, just became partners in the business. "We'll also sell our famous French Kiss coffee, it's red catuai beans with a dark roast." Call 661-2728.
MauiGrown Coffee hopes coffee industry's "perfect storm" bodes well for 100% MAUI Origin coffee
March 25, 2011
There's a lot to be said about being in the right place at the right time. For fifth generation Lahaina farmer James "Kimo" Falconer, the global coffee industry's perfect storm is already having a positive impact on his MauiGrown Coffee's 100% MAUI Origin brand.
Factors which are helping to boost business for growers like MauiGrown Coffee are directly linked to the scarcity of coffee worldwide, the recent inventory reduction of Hawaiian coffee, and consumer's growing demand for specialty coffees. read more
According to the International Coffee Organization, world coffee exports amounted to 8.77 million 60-kilo bags in January 2011, compared with 7.56 million in January 2010. Brazil, the world's largest coffee grower, is forecasting a harvest of 37 million bags this year, down 23 percent from 48.1 million bags in 2010. Colombia, the second largest specialty coffee producer and the biggest producer of Arabica coffee, suffered a decline to 8.1 million kg bags in 2009/2010, a 6% decrease from the prior year. Coffee production in these and other countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua have suffered from strong rains, and other economic and environmental factors.
According to industry experts, coffee prices will likely rise as global demand outpaces supply amid declining inventory.
"There used to be significant difference between Colombian and Central American coffee pricewise" said Falconer. "Now the price differential is insignificant, they're almost equal. The ripple effect has got the big specialty coffee consumer, the U.S., scrambling and wondering where they're going to source their coffee… and this is if everything remains status quo, which it won't. Emerging economies are really the big factor to consider. Brazil for example, the third largest emerging country behind China and India and also the largest producer of commodity coffee, is expected to become a net importer in the near future to accommodate their rising demand."
Hawaii's coffee industry is also not immune to scarcity of supply and rising prices.
In Kona, last year's bad drought has contributed to a short crop, down 30-40% in production. Growers also had to combat the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB), which may eventually have a measurable effect on their farms' yield, but for now has created stigma associated with the Kona brand. The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture has stepped in to protect the other islands from getting CBB by enforcing the fumigation of all unroasted coffees that are shipped interisland, a costly procedure that is sure to show up in the price for Kona coffee.
Ka‘u on the Big Island is not a big producing area (average 100,000 pounds green coffee annually), however, in the next 5-10 years they have the potential to rival Kona. Currently, Ka‘u sells their coffee for $11 per pound for some of their best hand picked coffee which has garnered various awards. Coffee production on Oahu is less than 100,000 lbs. and Molokai has even smaller yields.
Enter MauiGrown Coffee, the only grower of "certified" MAUI Origin coffee and the only producer of Maui Mokka in the world.
Falconer, in partnership with Kaanapali Land Management Corp. currently farms several varieties of Arabica coffees on over 400 acres in West Maui.
While MauiGrown Coffee will have a short crop this year — they estimate a yield of 230,000 lbs. of green coffee — they anticipate their best yields in the upcoming harvest this fall.
"It's akin to the saying 'if you build it, they will come'," said Falconer. "We've made a number of investments to our operational and management practices, our fields are irrigated to better control crop growing conditions, we focus on quality control to promote a healthy crop and high cup quality, and we're looking to the future by expanding our acreage to ensure higher yields. More importantly, we have a great product — exceptional varietals that continue to catch the attention of coffee connoisseurs worldwide."
Consumption of specialty coffee is increasing, but the production of specialty-grade type coffees is not. With the reduction of inventory in the world's coffee supply and in the Hawaii market, it's opened up opportunities for growers like MauiGrown Coffee who are reaping the benefits of increased business. Three years ago, the company sold its products primarily in Hawaii and had only a few customers from the U.S. Mainland and Japan. Today, in addition to their loyal and growing Hawaii clientele, the company has nearly 50 U.S. Mainland and Japanese customers.
According to long-time MauiGrown Coffee customers like David Gridley, President of Maui Oma Coffee Roasting Company, the 100% MAUI Origin brand stands apart from other Hawaiian coffees.
"Kimo's different varietals and method of processing the coffee is what makes MauiGrown's products unique and diverse," said Gridley. "The coffees have a depth in body and flavor that is rarely found in Hawaiian coffees. Their Red Catuai has a bold, rich flavor and a smooth, full finish with a hint of chocolate. Their Maui Mokka is one of the most unique coffees in Hawaii today. Developed specifically for the West Maui growing region, this small bean packs a powerful punch — a full, rich flavor with chocolaty and fruity undertones that add dimension in the cup."
"Being a farmer has gotten better recently, I'm glad this is happening in my lifetime," said Falconer. "In the next 10 years our world's food source will be getting real scary. Farmers will be extremely busy, we'll continue to see a lack of inventory of food with steadily climbing prices, but I don't see prices for coffee coming down anytime soon. I'm also optimistic that there'll always be a market for Hawaiian coffee."
MauiGrown Coffee finds growing market niche with its
100% MAUI Origin Coffee
It's been over two decades in the making, but MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. is optimistic that their 100% MAUI origin coffee is here to stay. This 500-acre estate is churning out some of the most sought after coffee varieties in the world—Yellow Caturra, Red Catuai, Typica and their signature Maui Mokka™. read more
Their products are currently sold as "green" beans to local Maui and Mainland roasters who then sell to retailers and consumers. Since the opening of the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store in 2006, the public has enjoyed roasted coffees and blends all touting the 100% MAUI origin brand.
In the last few years, MauiGrown Coffee's varieties have grown in popularity. Besides select markets on the U.S. Mainland, Japan is now one of the company's most promising customers.
"The market in Japan is unique," said James "Kimo" Falconer, president of MauiGrown Coffee. "They love everything Maui. Our coffee varieties, in particular the Maui Mokka™, have good name recognition in Japan.
Although MauiGrown Coffee was established in 2003, its roots go back to 1987 when the former Pioneer Mill Company began conducting field trials with coffee as part of their efforts to diversify their sugar plantation.
West Maui provides the perfect growing environment for the previously mentioned four arabica varieties. Because of the impressive results of its field trails, Pioneer Mill planted what would eventually become a 500-acre commercial coffee operation. The company built a processing plant and purchased coffee harvesting equipment. Pioneer Mill renamed the operation Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee and in less than a decade was producing 500,000 pounds of green arabica beans annually.
The Pioneer Mill closed down in 1999, but the company's commitment to preserve West Maui's agricultural roots remained steadfast. Land owner Ka‘anapali Land Management Corp. continued to maintain the coffee trees in the hopes that someone would take over and keep the land in agriculture as they had intended. Enter James "Kimo" Falconer—a fifth-generation Lahaina resident with a passion for nurturing the land and for coffee in equal measure. With the help of Ka‘anapali Land Management Corp. the dormant Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee plantation would soon live again under the MauiGrown Coffee brand.
Today, MauiGrown Coffee is the largest individually operated coffee grower in the U.S. and the original and only major producer of 100% MAUI origin coffee in the world.
Thanks to an ideal climate for growing coffee year-round and improved agronomic conditions, the company has also been able to increase their yields. This year, MauiGrown Coffee estimates their harvest will exceed 320,000 lbs of "green" coffee, up from 290,000 lbs the previous year—a landmark achievement for this company which must continue to increase its production in order to compete in an ever-widening global market.
In the end it comes down to the quality of the coffee. MauiGrown Coffee takes a vintner's approach to its business. "We're like fine winemakers who search for the perfect match between grape and growing conditions to turn an ordinary wine into one of the finest vintages in the world," said Falconer. "Our pioneering varietal research has enabled MauiGrown Coffee to match some of the finest Coffea arabica varieties in the world with the ideal growing conditions of the West Maui Mountains. We look forward to a bright future with our 100% MAUI origin brand leading the way."
For more information, contact Maui Grown Coffee, Inc. at P.O Box 13100, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761; 808-357-1204.
Thousand year-old coffee bean finds
a new home on Maui
Mokka, one of the coffee industry's most promising varieties now calls the Hawaiian Island of Maui home, thanks to MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. Located on the slopes of West Maui, MauiGrown Coffee is the only producer of State of Hawaii certified MAUI origin coffee and the only commercial producer of the Mokka variety in the world. read more
"Mokka is an amazing coffee variety originally discovered in Yemen that dates back around 1,000 years," said James "Kimo" Falconer, president of MauiGrown Coffee. "While its journey to Hawaii has been a long time coming, this variety's meteoric rise in popularity has been phenomenal, particularly in markets like Japan."
Mokka's humble beginnings in West Maui started in 1987 when Pioneer Mill Company participated in a statewide cooperative research program sponsored by the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). Field tests were conducted by farmers on 23 varieties of coffees. They assessed the ability of these varieties to be grown in the region, their ability to produce an interesting cup and potential financial returns.
While Mokka ranked high in blind taste tests, it was overshadowed by other varieties simply due to its size. The Mokka bean averages 11-14/64" in size compared to the Typica variety favored by Kona farmers which averages approximately 19/64" in size. In terms of volume, it takes approximately 3,000 standard coffee beans to make a pound of coffee but Mokka beans require more than 8,100 beans to make a pound of coffee. Contrary to industry opinion, Pioneer Mill predicted the market potential of Maui Mokka™—a premium, one-of-a-kind product.
The fact that this small bean packs a powerful punch in terms of cupping quality convinced Falconer, who served as Pioneer Mill's director of agriculture, to take on the Maui Mokka™ product as part of the company's diversified agricultural program which would later become the Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee Co. in the early 1990s.
When Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee closed it doors in 2001, it was Kimo's dream to revive the coffee farm. With the help of landowner Ka‘anapali Land Management Corp., Kimo's hard work and dedication paid off with the establishment of MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. in 2003. The first harvest produced an output of over 40,000 lbs of green, of which 200 lbs were Maui Mokka™. In January 2010, MauiGrown estimates a record harvest of over 320,000 lbs of green coffee, of which approximately 100,000 lbs will be Mokka.
Today, Maui Mokka™ has struck a chord with a growing audience of specialty coffee connoisseurs who rave about its unique flavor. According to Falconer, its cupping characteristics are best described as "a lively cup with wild, slightly exotic chocolate aroma and subtle wine notes."
The coffee's unique characteristics are also creating waves in the coffee industry. In February 2010, Peter Lucata of Honolulu Coffee Co. became the first representative from Hawaii to win the Western Regional Barista Competition. His secret? An espresso blend of three Hawaiian coffees of which one was MauiGrown Coffee's own Maui Mokka™.
At the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store in Lahaina, coffee connoisseurs can sample a taste of the famous Mokka variety. According to store manager, Jeff Ferguson there is a fine line between the desire to over roast this bean and the array of flavors to be captured.
"I recommend sample roasting the Mokka beans at different levels and letting it sit a few days before serving," said Ferguson. "It must be served fresh after brewing. Because I want to taste everything that the Mokka has to offer, I like roasting the coffee at what I believe is an Agtron 48 or a Light Full City Roast; or a slightly brilliant roast where the shaft is not darker than the roast of the bean. Due to the density and small size of the bean I recommend backing off the heat before the 2nd crack and bringing it back slowly."
The advice to coffee roasters must be working. In 2009, MauiGrown Coffee all but sold out on their Mokka inventory, and the company is optimistic that this year's yield will allow more roasters to experience this unique and rare varietal.
With continued improvement in agronomics to increase yields and a renewed focus on overseas markets, MauiGrown Coffee sees a bright and fruitful future for their Maui Mokka™ variety—what many consider the best of Maui from seed to cup.
For more information, contact Maui Grown Coffee, Inc. at P.O Box 13100, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761; 808-357-1204.
MauiGrown Coffee's Yellow Caturra scores a 90 in Ken David's Coffee Review in March 2010.
Maui Mokka™ included as part of the signature coffee that won Peter Licata of Honolulu Coffee Co., the coveted #1 spot in the Western Region Barista Competition, February 2010.
On October 23, 2009, Kimo Falconer's MauiGrown Coffee won the coveted Mayor's Small Business Award for the category of small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. This prestigious award was established in 2004 to recognize outstanding small businesses in Maui County.