Our Roots Run Deep
The Ka‘anapali Estate was established by the Pioneer Mill Company in the early 1990s as a diversified agriculture project. Of their 6,000 acres that were in sugar cane production at that time, 500 acres were converted to coffee – fields that had been planted in sugar for over 100 years. As part of their coffee variety selection process, Pioneer Mill, in conjunction with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) department, planted 28 different varieties of coffee to determine which would grow best in this soil, at these altitudes, with the Ka‘anapali climate and provide the best cup quality and harvestability. From those field trials 4 varieties were selected: Maui Mokka®, Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra and Typica.
As director of agriculture for Pioneer Mill, James “Kimo” Falconer was instrumental in the genesis of the Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee Co. that began in the early 1990s. In 2001, Pioneer Mill and the Ka‘anapali Estate Coffee closed their doors. It was Kimo’s dream to revive the coffee farm. His hard work and dedication led to establishment of MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. in 2003 and the harvesting of its first crop in 2004.
In 2008, MauiGrown Coffee Distributors, LLC was established through a milestone agreement between Kimo and Kaanapali Coffee Services Co. that will ensure that coffee continues to thrive in West Maui.
President, MauiGrown Coffee Distributors, LLC
Kimo Falconer is a fifth generation Lahaina resident and descendant of George Freeland, who built the famed Pioneer Hotel; and Amabel Kahuhu, a native Hawaiian. Kimo’s mother was born in Lahaina and married his father, a farmer from California’s Central Valley where they lived. Kimo was raised working on a California ranch during the school year and fishing with his grandfather in Hawaii during the summer. He moved to Hawaii in 1979 after graduating from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo with a degree in agriculture. For 20 years, Kimo managed agricultural research and production for Pioneer Mill Company on Maui. Today, he is keeping Maui's agricultural legacy alive under the MauiGrown Coffee brand.
James "Kimo" Falconer
Pioneer Mill Company’s transplanting machine carefully plants each coffee tree in 1988. Coffee is planted in a hedgerow configuration.
Pioneer Mill's sugar plantation was one of the farms participating in statewide field-testing of 23 varieties of Coffea Arabica including Mokka for the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).
Pioneer Mill's diversified agriculture division plants its first coffee seedlings in the West Maui Mountains located in Puʻukolii, which is now known as the Kaanapali Estate.
Pioneer Mills constructs first protoype mill to process upcoming coffee harvest.
Pioneer Mill harvests Typica and Red Catuai coffee varieties.
Pioneer Mill harvests its first sizeable yield of 80,000 lbs. Sells under Maui's Kaanapali Estate Coffee brand name.
First harvest of Maui Mokka® coffee beans.
Harvest yields 350,000 lbs. green coffee.
Pioneer Mill sugar plantation operations cease.
Coffee operations close under the Kaanapali Estate Coffee name.
MauiGrown Coffee, Inc., under the leadership of Kimo Falconer, revives the coffee fields and acquires a lease for the fields from Kaanapali Land Management Corp.
First harvest of coffee under the MauiGrown Coffee brand yielding about 4,500 lbs of green coffee.
MauiGrown Coffee successfully acquires a RETA grant and purchases its first harvester - yield of 70,000 lbs achieved.
First international sale of coffee to Japan occurs.
One half of the coffee plantation is incorporated into Kaanapali Land Management Corp.'s agricultural subdivision with lots offered for sale under Kaʻanapali Coffee Farms brand name.
MauiGrown Coffee Company Store opens for retail business in Lahaina, Maui.
Harvest yield exceeds 300,000 lbs. green coffee.
First harvest to exceed 500,000 lbs. green coffee.
MauiGrown Coffee continues to grow its brand and to harvest approximately 500,000 lbs. annually. Coffee is sold to roasters throughout Hawaii, the mainland USA, and internationally.
Did you know?
- MauiGrown Coffee is the only commercial producer of the Mokka variety anywhere in the world, an amazing coffee variety dating back around 1,000 years.
- The coffee industry understands coffee in much the same way as the wine industry understands its product – varieties vs. origins. MauiGrown Coffee is selling origin – the magic that is Maui!
- The first coffee to arrive in Hawaii came from Brazil in 1813. Guatemalan Typica, now known as Kona Typica, is the variety that made Kona Coffee famous. It arrived there near the end of the 19th Century.
- The Kaʻanapali Coffee Farms, the Estate where MauiGrown Coffee now has its trees, is the former site of Puʻukoliʻi Village. It was once the largest sugar plantation village in Hawaii, home to more than 3,000 people. The village had a market, church, schools, theater, barber shop and other businesses. There is also evidence of pre-contact Hawaiian activity in the area. All that is left today is the old village cemetery.