I’ll be giving the history of coffee from its origin in Ethiopia and migration to Yemen where it was first cultivated over a thousand years ago. Do you know how coffee was discovered?
That’s Jeff Ferguson above pictured next to a coffee harvester. It’s amazing how the rods spin among the coffee branches to shake the cherries loose where they fall into a hopper and an elevator takes them to the top to be transported by trailer to the mill.
Maui is making history this very moment with our developing region of Ka’anapali where four varieties of coffee that are perfectly suited to the hot, dry conditions of West Maui are thriving. The Maui Mokka, Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra and Typicas, Progeny 502 and 6661 are thriving because of the efforts of James “Kimo” Falconer bringing the coffee plants back to health since they were abandoned in 2001 and left only on continuous irrigation.
It’s very exciting to delve deeper into the history of coffee. As I study the information I’m taken on a journey from Ethiopia where coffee is native, 50 miles away across the Red Sea to Yemen where coffee was first cultivated. From Yemen to the Dutch East Indies in the 1690’s where coffee plants were smuggled out of Arabia Felix (the ancient name for Yemen which means “fortunate Arabia” named for its fertile area). The Port of Al Mokha is actually what the Mokka is named after. The region of its birthplace is Ethiopia but today the Mokka variety is grown in Yemen at 10,000 feet. On Maui it does well at 500 feet above sea level in Kaa’anapali.
The single coffee plant that barely survived the journey was brought to the New World by a French Army officer to a Martinique plantation and that plant produced the seeds and cuttings that would produce coffee in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and eventually Hawai’i.
I love how a French Lieutenant wanted some beans from the Governor of French Guiana ( in South America ) but was turned down, so he sweet talked the Governor’s wife who gave him the beans. Brazil became the producer of a third of the world’s coffee due to the favorable climate.
Thirteen hundred years later coffee comes full circle when it returned to Africa via the newly built Uganda Railway to Kenya. White settlers were encouraged to plant and Nairobi became a coffee growing area with Mombasa as the major port.
If you’re not signed up for the Kaanapali Fresh Farm Tour see the link at KaanapaliFresh.
We’ll be making several stops in the various fields at Kaanapali Coffee Estate, tasting coffee cherries, meeting the man who made it possible, James “Kimo” Falconer, filming, photographing, then passing through the coffee mill for an overview of the processing from cherries being washed, pulped, dried, sorted and prepared for export in 100 lb. bags of green beans.
It’s going to be a beautiful, agricultural morning, from seed to cup and we’ll be having wonderful light refreshments by KupuMaui at the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store where guests will be exploring the historical smoke stack, the original sugar cane train, photos of the old Pioneer Mill, sampling MauiGrown Coffee on the Lanai and viewing th story of coffee inside where they can purchase and ship green, roasted, whole beans and ground 100 % MauiGrown coffee.
It’s so exciting to be a part of history in the making. I look forward to seeing you and sharing Kaanapali’s Agricultural Beauty.
Marilyn Jansen Lopes
@jamarilyn on Twitter