Moloka‘i Coffee refers to a legally protected, geographical indication of coffee grown on the island of Moloka'i in Maui County, Hawaiʻi, and processed to specific, legally defined standards. Similar to Kona coffee, Molokai coffee is a market name for a product of specific origin and of a defined quality. Requirements for Molokai coffee not only dictate the origin and quality, but also label design and placement on product package.
Hawaii is one of the few U.S. states where coffee production is a significant economic industry—coffee is the second largest crop produced there. The 2019-2020 coffee harvest in Hawaii was valued at $102.91million.
To be legally labeled "Molokai Coffee," the coffee must be grown in the geographical region of Molokai and meet the minimum requirements to be classified as "Molokai Prime" green coffee. The requirements to be labeled "Molokai Prime" green include specific quality requirements. For example:
[Molokai] Prime green coffee consists of Hawaii beans which are clean; which do not impart sour, fermented, moldy, medicinal, or other undesirable aromas and flavors when brewed; which do not exceed twelve per cent or which does not contain less than nine per cent moisture by weight; and which do not exceed twenty per cent defective beans, by weight, included therein not more than five per cent, by weight, sour, stinker, black, or moldy beans that equal full imperfections only, as described in subsections (i)(1) and (i)(2); which may be assigned a size classification as stated in subsection (j)(1);— Haw. Code R. § 4-143-6
In 1984 the company Coffees of Hawaii, Inc. was formed and land-lease contracts were formed with Molokai Ranch to establish a coffee farm in the Molokai region.
Four years later, 600 acres were planted with coffee and by 1993 the first commercial harvest was produced.
German merchant Rudolph Wilhelm Meyer (1826–1897) grew coffee on the island and also built a sugar mill. "Coffees of Hawaii" is currently the only producer of Moloka‘i coffee. They are located on a 500-acre (2.0 km2) plantation in Kualapu'u.
Trader Joe's introduced this coffee in mid-2008. The packaging, a 13-ounce (370 g) can, featured two red hummingbirds on a light yellow background filled with flowers The can was titled "Moloka'i 100% One Hundred Percent Hawaiian Coffee" and labeled the coffee "Dark Roast, Robust & Earthy, 100% Arabica Whole Bean Coffee".
- "Section 4-143-1 - Labeling and documentation requirements, Haw. Code R. § 4-143-1 | Casetext Search + Citator". casetext.com. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
- "Hawaii Coffee Association - Coffee Industry Valued Higher Now". hawaiicoffeeassoc.org. Retrieved 2021-04-18.
- "Section 4-143-3 - Definitions, Haw. Code R. § 4-143-3 | Casetext Search + Citator". casetext.com. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
- "Section 4-143-6 - Standards for grades of green coffee, Haw. Code R. § 4-143-6 | Casetext Search + Citator". casetext.com. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
- "Coffees of Hawaii Celebrates 20 Years of Coffee on Molokai | The Molokai Dispatch". themolokaidispatch.com. 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
- "Molokai Coffee Beans - Espresso & Coffee Guide". Espresso & Coffee Guide. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
- "Molokai Coffee". Trader Joe's fan web site. June 4, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2010.