In ancient times, islanders grew sweet potatoes in Kualapuu (Sweet
Potato Hill), an upcountry Molokai spread rising 800 to 1,000 feet
above sea level. These days, the same fertile soil grows coffee,
which thrives in the abundant sunshine of the area. This is the
home of Coffees of Hawaii, where clients can catch the buzz about
Molokai’s own joe and what makes it special.
Since the 1920s, when the first Molokai coffee was produced, the
crop has really blossomed, so much so that Coffees of Hawaii
recently introduced a 100 percent harvest. In other words, every
single bean in the bag was grown on the island, a rarity in
During a recent Morning Espresso walking tour, guide Dorothy
Quintua reminisced about how she and her family members actually
worked in the fields, helping to plant coffee trees and building
the reservoir which supplies water for the crops. She described the
coffee process from its inception, with beans forming on the trees
in May and the harvesting running from October through January.
In the wet processing area, Quintua showed us how huge, noisy
machines separate the ripe, overripe and immature beans into
different bins. The coffee is spread out to dry about two miles
away in Palaau, an arid locale which Quintua referred to as “our
desert.” Next, in the warehouse, Quintua pointed out the dry mill,
where the bean husking, polishing and sorting takes place. The
final stop was the aromatic roasting room, where beans are roasted,
blended, flavored, packed and hand-labeled for shipment. The tour
also included a stop in the cupping room, the coffee-maker’s
research lab where brews are compared by aroma, body, acidity and
Coffees of Hawaii features a must-see gift shop with handmade
crafts and a variety of coffee products, from French presses to
mugs. Clients can order a specialty drink from the attraction’s
espresso bar and relax on the wide front lanai, knowing that
they’re savoring an authentic taste of Molokai.
Coffees of Hawaii
1630 Farrington Ave.
Kualapuu, Molokai 96757
On the one-hour Morning Espresso Tour, clients get a look at the
sorting and processing procedures. The Mule-Drawn Wagon tour takes
two hours and includes a ride through the fields. Every participant
gets a bag of coffee and both tours pay agent commissions. Prices
start at $20 per adult, $10 per child ages 5-15 and free for
children under 5.