The Kaanapali Estate is approximately 4 miles north of Lahaina directly above the Kaanapali resort. The farm is originally a part of the Pioneer Mill sugar plantation, which diversified the land out of sugar cane into coffee in 1988. Pioneer Mill had been farming the land since 1860.
Pioneer Mill, in researching the feasibility of raising coffee on different elevations and differing environmental conditions, a number of arabica varieties were put out in field trials to determine if there would be a significant difference in cup quality grown under West Maui conditions. The outcome of this trial resulted in the planting of four varieties that produced superior coffee quality specific for this region.
This finding allowed the founding of Kaanapali Estate Coffee, Inc. The only recognized Maui coffee farm that eventually grew to 500 acres planted to those four varieties: Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and the soon to be renowned Moka variety. The customer base grew over the years as the trees matured being the only Maui origin coffee available. Roasters and Coffee houses were embracing the Hawaiian coffee story, choosing to create Hawaiian blends along side the more traditionally recognized Kona origin coffees.
As a corporate agricultural operation, whose original business intent was to replace sugar cane dollar for dollar, it became evident that the market could not support such a large cost infrastructure supported by a large administrative staff. The costs to break even were well above what the general market would accept. In October of 2001, Kaanapali Estate Coffee closed choosing to keep the trees alive by continued irrigation but without any general maintenance.
In an agreement with landowner, a lease of the land was secured in an attempt to resurrect these mature coffee trees to full productive status with proper attention being paid to the stewardship of the land. This effort resulted in the forming of MauiGrown Coffee, Inc. and the new birth of Maui Coffee as an origin.