Grateful American® Foundation

Where is coffee first planted in the US?

January 21st

Hawaii plantationJanuary 21, 1813 — After the Boston Tea Party of 1773, drinking tea had become unpatriotic so large numbers of Americans switched to drinking coffee during the American Revolution.

The only state in the United States of America able to grow coffee plants commercially is Hawaii. And today, Don Francisco de Paula y Marin recorded in his journal that he had planted coffee seedlings on the island of Oʻahu. However, not much is known of the fate of that planting.

John Wilkinson, a gardener who came on HMS Blonde in 1825 under Captain Lord Byron, brought coffee plants from Brazil. Governor Boki provided some land in the Mānoa Valley on Oʻahu. However, Wilkinson died in March 1827, and the trees did not thrive. Some cuttings were taken to other areas around Honolulu. Some plants from Manila were also grown by Richard Charlton, the British Consul.

More trees were set out in the Kalihi and Niu valleys near Honolulu, in 1828. On the island of Hawaii Rev. Joseph Goodrich tried planting some coffee to make the Hilo mission self-sustaining. Goodrich planted gardens over his 12 years at Hilo, and taught classes for native Hawaiians on cultivation of both for cash to support the mission, as well as vegetables and tropical fruits for their own meals.

Words of Wisdom

I was taken by the power that savoring a simple cup of coffee can have to connect people and create community.

— Howard Schultz, founder, Starbucks

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