These are the only two US states where coffee is grown. Coffee plants are finicky plants that require specific growing conditions. It takes nearly 1.5 square feet of soil to produce one cup of coffee, and the conditions must be ideal: altitude, sunlight, rainfall, and land are all crucial for producing a fragrant batch (via Coffee Affection). According to NOAA Climate.gov, coffee thrives in regions with moderate climates, which are typically near the equator and have consistent temperatures and weather.
As Barista Joy explains, only 70 nations are capable of cultivating and harvesting sufficient coffee to meet global demand. Brazil dominates the coffee market, producing nearly half of the world’s coffee (per Statista). It’s not surprising that farmers outside of the “Coffee Belt” have sought to cultivate and ship their own coffee, given that coffee’s popularity continues to rise. While images of coffee plantations conjure up images of lush farms in exotic locales, coffee farms have also appeared in unexpected places, including the United States.
In the 1820s, Brazilian coffee first made its way to Hawaii (via Honolulu Coffee). The climate of Hawaii aided in the growth of the crop, and at the 1873 World’s Fair, Kona coffee gained international recognition. Hawaiian coffee brews with floral, fruity aromas emanating from harvested coffee berries (for more information on describing coffee flavour and aroma, see the World Coffee Research Sensory Lexicon). Ka’u, Hamakua, Kauai, Molokai, Waialua, and Puna coffees each contribute distinctive flavours to brewed espressos, as noted by Next is Hawaii.
In 2002, however, the Californian farmer Jay Ruskey planted beans that he had received from a friend. Twelve years later, his farm, Good Land Organics, also helped put California coffee on the international coffee map (via USA Today). Since then, more coffee farms have matured throughout the state, and musician Jason Mraz has assisted in the production and sale of Frinj Coffee, a premium roasting brand.
Technically not a state, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has an impressive coffee production history. According to Discover Puerto Rico, the exact origin of Puerto Rican coffee is unknown; either Spaniards or a monk from Corsica brought it to the island in the 18th century. The island’s rich, volcanic soil contributed to a distinctive flavour that drove both production and popularity, eventually gaining favour with the Pope of Rome and being described as one of the world’s best (via Whetstone Magazine).
Even though Hawaii and California may be the only two U.S. states that currently cultivate coffee, farmers and scientists in Florida are investigating the possibility of coffee production. Although Florida is best known for its citrous fruits, researchers at the University of Florida continue to examine what type of coffee the state’s climate could support. Colder temperatures have prevented Florida coffee crops from surviving, but climate change may bring the warmer conditions required for coffee to flourish (per Florida Insider).