October 6, 2013
Eco News Network republishes this story about sustainable agricultural practice at Kauai coffee as part of our October series on Ethical Consumerism. With 3,100 acres of GMO-free coffee cultivation, Kauai Coffee keeps a high standard in its commitment to environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
The company’s sustainable cultivation practices, coupled with few disease issues and insect problems, have enabled them to reduce herbicide use by 75 percent. They are also actively working to implement the most efficient water usage program possible including reuse of process water.
According to the company, they are the largest drip irrigation coffee estate in the world with 2,500 miles of drip tubing. Not only is the drip irrigation system efficient, it eliminates the common practice of spraying or dusting of fertilizer by applying water and fertilizers directly to the roots of the coffee trees. Soil erosion is controlled with contoured plantings and hedgerows and the company ensures that all of the native plants and the forests on the property are protected.
Other sustainable soil management practices include returning all cherry pulp from the coffee processing and mulch from pruning the coffee trees back to the land to amend the soil and to reduce weeds in the fields.
Additionally, during the harvest season, water from the drip irrigation system is diverted to the processing plant and used in processing the fruit after harvest. Because water can only be used once during processing, the company then filters this process water and reuses it by reapplying it to the coffee fields.
Kauai Coffee got its start in the early 1800s as McBryde Sugar Company, one of the first sugar growers in Hawaii. In 1987, McBryde Sugar Company became Kauai Coffee. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki severely damaged the coffee crop, but the company was able to restore the crop over a four-year period and is now the largest grower in the Kona region.
All of the beans are grown and roasted at the plantation and you can order the coffee online. Each day during the harvest season 50,000 to 750,000 pounds of coffee cherry arrive at the processing facility, which operates on a 24/7 schedule according to Tim Martin, Factory Operations Superintendent at Kauai Coffee Company.
If you plan to visit Kauai, you can tour the plantation and participate in a coffee tasting on site. Coffee is also available for purchase online. For more information visit http://www.kauaicoffee.com.
Watch the following video to learn more about Kauai’s coffee process.