Kauai Coffee Co. opens visitor center

POIPU, Hawaii--The Kauai Coffee Co., Hawaii's largest coffee grower, opened a visitor center. The facility comprises two relocated sugar plantation homes; one is a small museum, the other a gift shop. Amid coffee fields, and near the company's coffee processing plant at Numila, the center is 15 minutes west of Poipu on Kauai's south shore. The museum has displays on the history of coffee, including a coffee roaster and a video presentation on coffee processing. The retail space features Kauai Coffee merchandise, Kauai products and free coffee tasting.

Kauai Coffee, a subsidiary of A&B Hawaii, produced 4.6 million pounds of coffee on 4,000 acres at its last fall harvest, more than half the state's coffee production. Much of the acreage, which extends east to Poipu, is on former A&B sugar cane land, where the company began planting coffee in 1987.

Unlike the more expensive Kona coffee, produced on small, hillside farms, Kauai Coffee harvesting is mechanized. Most beans are sold unroasted to mainland wholesalers, but the company also produces the finished product under its own Kauai Coffee label.

To reach the visitor center, 25 miles west of Lihue, drivers take Route 50, turning left toward the coast on Route 540 just past Kalaheo. The center is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free.

Kauai Coffee Co., Phone: (808) 335-5497

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