Ever thought about where your daily fix of caffeine comes from?
Whether you like to grab your favorite cuppa’ Joe from a local roastery or a chain like Starbucks, there’s a high chance that those coffee beans are not coming from inside the United States.
The countries with the most extensive coffee production are Columbia and Brazil. Other major coffee-growing countries include Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ethiopia.
But even if most coffee comes from overseas, is it possible to enjoy some coffee grown within the United States?
The answer is yes! Keep reading to learn more about coffee cultivation in the US.
Is Coffee Grown In The United States?
With seven out of ten Americans drinking coffee every week; and 62% of the population drinking coffee every day, the United States is a major coffee consumer.
But is the United States capable of producing its own coffee?
The answer is that coffee farms do exist in America, but in very few areas. Within the United States, coffee is grown in Hawaii and California.
Coffee is also grown in the United States territory of Puerto Rico.
Where Is Most US Coffee Grown?
Hawaii – Kona Coffee
Alongside California, Hawaii is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown.
Coffee was first brought to Hawaii by Chief Boki, when the Hawaiin returned from a diplomatic mission to England.
On his way back, Chief Boki traveled via Brazil and came across the coffee plant. He took a clipping from the Brazilian coffee plant and transported it to Oahu, where he started propagating it.
Five years later, in 1828, a missionary named Samuel Bulkley Ruggles took the coffee plant from Chief Boki’s field to Kona, an area on the same island, in order to use the plant’s red cherries to enhance the area.
The Kona region ended up being the best place to grow coffee trees, thanks to the young volcanic soil packed with plenty of minerals. Coffee can also be grown all year round in the Kona region due to the afternoon rains and breezes that draw moisture onto the island along the Pacific Ocean.
Due to its distinct medium body and deliciously floral and fruity aromas, Kona Hawaiian coffee has become a hit worldwide.
The only coffee-cultivating area in the continental United States is Southern California. Specifically, the hillsides of Santa Barbara County.
Jay Ruskey, who eventually founded Frinj Coffee, Inc., started experimenting with cultivating non-native crops in California in 2002. Goleta, California, is where the coffee experiments began and is home to his renowned American coffee business.
Jay discovered that the coffee plants he was growing had something to gain from the avocado trees already there and vice versa. This marked the beginning of a connection that would be fruitful for both crops.
The coffee plants needed shade from the avocado trees to grow effectively, while the coffee plants benefited from the excess water from the avocado trees that would have otherwise gone to waste.
When looking at essential agricultural factors like the soil’s pH and the minerals, both plants require the same type of soil.
As coffee is so new to California, coffee grown in the state doesn’t yet have a distinct flavor profile.
Though it is a United States territory rather than one of the 50 United States of America, Puerto Rico has been producing coffee since 1736.
Puerto Ricans love their coffee so much that their homegrown coffee supply is not enough to keep up with the demand. And of course, people want to try foreign coffee beans.
Puerto Rico, therefore, imports coffee from South America, as well as growing their own.
Meanwhile, due to the greater-than-ever demand for coffee, many entrepreneurs are developing strategies to expand the amount of coffee that Puerto Rico can produce.
In recent years, the coffee farming sector in Puerto Rica has only been able to make very slow progress, as hurricanes have destroyed farms and crops.
While it is possible to grow coffee in the US, the country’s coffee production is limited to smaller areas.
The coffee-growing areas of the United States (and US territories) are Kona, Southern California, and Puerto Rico. Coffee is mass-produced on a sustainable scale in all three locations.
Is there hope for the US to expand its local coffee industry?
In reality, probably not. Several factors are to blame, but the most significant two issues are, unsurprisingly, the type of climate in most of the US and the high cost of labor required for farming coffee in the US.
Fortunately, the United States is able to import more than enough delicious coffee beans to the US from all over the world. So even though you might be able to try all United States coffee beans, you’re certainly not going to run out of new beans entirely!
FAQs – Growing Coffee in the US
Yes! Although coffee is grown in the US, it’s limited to coffee farms in Hawaii and California because of cultivation and climate.
The coffee-growing areas of the United States (and US territories) are Kona, Southern California, and Puerto Rico.
Jay Ruskey, who eventually founded Frinj Coffee, Inc., started experimenting with cultivating non-native crops in Goleta, California in 2002.
I’m Joel, an espresso-loving coffee nerd. I got into coffee because I spent a lot of time in Milan as a kid and started liking coffee waaaay too young. I’m all about making sure espresso is treated with the same care as any other coffee – it’s not just a quick drink!