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Agroforestry: It's About Soil

Agroforestry: It's About Soil

Earth Day Is Every Day

Earth Day is every day. You’ve heard people say it. But on the Kona Coffee & Tea family farm, this is a reality. As coffee farmers, we work with the earth every day. And as you know, this year, 2023 marks Kona Coffee & Tea’s 25th Anniversary. We started in 1998 when we planted 20 acres of keiki coffee trees. Now, 25 years later we carefully manage and tend to more than 700 acres of land. Much of that is untouched, raw natural forest reserve that will remain that way as long as we are around.

The portion that we farm is now almost 300 acres of Kona coffee and other fruiting trees and shrubs, some of which you’ll find in our varying products and offerings at our café in Kailua-Kona. On any given day in the shop you’ll find a fresh batch of honey or some ripe papayas, just delivered…or a basket of fresh bananas, still on the stock…these café offerings are as fresh as food gets!

We Are Farmers

We are farmers, first and foremost. Our farm and the water and soil in which it grows are the foundation of our company and the health of this land is the legacy we leave as we grow older.

The Hawaiian name of the area that our farm grows is called Wai’ono. “Wai” means water, specifically freshwater. “Ono” means delicious, sweet—the best. As it turns out, the ancient description is quite appropriate, as this area rains almost daily, and the river that runs through it is one of the main veins of fresh, clean water flowing down the mountainside that fed (and still feeds) the village of Kailua-Kona. This water access was well-known in ancient times and is just as important today, as populations grow.

The rich, volcanic soil of our farm benefits from this fresh, clean water each day. It is a cycle. A loop. This is the reason we care so much about the land we work on. Not only does it grow the coffee, citrus, avocado, ti, papaya, and cacao that we use in our café, but also…our families live on this land, our children eat its fruits, we feed our community…we are all ever-connected in a vast cycle of nature. Kona Coffee & Tea believes that it is imperative that we all work together to care for the health of the soil and water.


A New adventure: Agroforestry

Agroforestry refers to any of a broad range of land use practices where pasture or crops are integrated with trees and shrubs. This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has multiple benefits, such as greatly enhanced yields from staple food crops, enhanced farmer livelihoods from income generation, increased biodiversity, improved soil structure and health, reduced erosion, and carbon sequestration.
— USDA National Agroforestry Center

In the last few years, Kona Coffee & Tea has planted more than 5,000 coffee trees and 1,500 other trees and shrubs on nearly 17 acres. Between every five to seven coffee trees, you’ll find a banana tree, ulu, avocado, koa, cacao, papaya, or lychee tree (just to name a few). We also have shrubs growing beneath the trees like lemongrass and olena (turmeric). All these species of flora benefit one another by creating diversity for pollinators, improving soil quality with a vast root system, and helping control pests and diseases including the coffee borer beetle that would otherwise decimate our coffee trees.

It’s about the soil. Our hope is to foster a solid foundation of rich soil full of diverse microbial activity, which nourishes a vast array of plants around our coffee, and in the future, we’ll be able to share our entire agroforest harvest—from coffee to cacao, olena to ulu—with our community.

From Our Farm In Hawaii To Your Kitchen Table

With Earth Day approaching, here are just a few products that come from the earth at Wai’ono, the Kona Coffee & Tea family farm. We invite you to take a moment to think about what goes into each and every product we offer. Our farmers are proud to share our award-winning coffee with the world. But we’re also proud to share our honey, our papayas, our tea, oranges…the list goes on and on! Who knows, maybe our honey will be next to win an award!

Mamaki is a native Hawaiian plant, found nowhere else on earth. It’s medicinal benefits are endless and we’ve blended it with mint for a refreshing, caffeine free tea blend. Buy our Mamaki Mint Loose Leaf Tea here.

We care for hundreds of beehives on the Kona Coffee & Tea farm, who in turn, pollinate our trees and provide the sweetest honey. View Our Hawaiian Mixed Blossom Honey here or check out our limited Kona Snow honey.

Of course, our 100% Kona coffee is grown on our farm, then it’s milled, roasted, and packaged by our Kona Coffee & Tea ohana right here in Hawaii. Our bestseller is our Medium roast...but our roaster's favorite is the 100% Kona Peaberry.

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