Making the Right Choices

by George Yasuda

George Yasuda and his orchard in Kona Hawaii.

There are proven, basic techniques in growing high quality, high production Kona coffee trees.

Volcanic, good drainage loam seems to be best suited for coffee trees. Crushed coral and magnesium oxide needs to be added to the soil approximately every 3-4 years. Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are needed in the right proportions as well. These elements also need to come from the correct sources. Coffee does not respond favorably to fertilizers with chlorine and too much molybdenum and boron will have unfavorable affects on the coffee. Iron and zinc are important for coffee but be careful of the sources too. Chelated iron and chelated zinc are very good sources fed through fertigation.

The genetics of the coffee stock is also very important. Seeds dervied from parent plants that have poor taste, poor clustering, leaf bronzing, weak root structuring will produce less desirable stock. It’s important to have seeds obtained from productive, healthy, good tasting, strong root structured trees to assure orchards that flourish for many decades, even over a century.

Good, consistent maintenance is valuable. Over use of pesticides, misapplication of pesticides such as overdrifting is costly to plants and people.

Keeping the tree healthy prevents overusage of pesticides. So called coffee professionals were saying back in 1998 that Kona coffee would be destroyed within 7 years due to an epidemic of root knot nematodes. That of course was a hoax. Well maintained coffee trees obtained from good proven stock are thriving well today and have been for many decades.

This box of coffee seedlings raised by Tiare Lani is enough for 1000 trees!

There are several other factors in producing high quality, productive Kona coffee orchards but one of the most prominent is not to cut corners in the installation and care of the trees. It is a fact that quality coffee can only be produced and enhanced in proper orchard installation and care. So why cut corners in the field with a remarkable plant that will produce world famous Kona coffee for over a century?

Let Tiare Lani Coffee Show you how healthy, high quality trees should perform and look. Email George Yasuda at for more information.

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Story appeared originally in Coffee Times print magazine and appears online for archival purposes only. Any use or reprinting of these stories without the expressed written consent of the author is prohibited.