In Carolina Reckoning, fictional heroine Alison Monaghan drinks: Pepsi-Cola, sweet tea or Kona coffee.
Kona coffee (Coffea Arabica) originated in the Kona districts of the Big Island. Only coffee cultivated in the Kona district can bear the appellation of “kona”. As one of the most expensive coffees in the world, the coffee plants require sunny mornings, cloud-cover or rainy afternoons, protection from wind and temperate nights. The mineral-rich soil of the volcanic Hawaiian island also creates the flavorable, aromatic taste.
The first coffee plant was brought to the Kona region in 1828 by the Reverend Samuel Ruggles. An English merchant, Henry Nicholas Greenwell, further pioneered and established the Kona coffee brand on the Big Island. His Greenwell Store and the Kona Coffee Living History Farm are museums today.
In the beginning, Kona coffee was grow on large plantations, but after the coffee market crash of 1899 (yeah, who knew?), plantation owners leased the land to their imported Japanese work force. The immigrants, brought to Hawaii for the sugarcane industry, worked the small, family coffee farms. The tradition of family Kona coffee farms continue today among their Japanese, Filipino and mainland American descendants. Over 800 Kona coffee farms are still in operation, farms of less than five acres.
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