How Can The Coffee Industry Support Communities In Maui?

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
coffee industry support communities in Maui

Coffee industry support communities in Maui: Devastating wildfires, dubbed the “Hawaii Firestorm,” ravaged Maui and other islands in early August 2023. The disaster is considered one of America’s worst since the early 1900s.

The human and economic toll is immense, with over 100 confirmed fatalities, many more missing, and thousands of buildings destroyed – homes, landmarks, and livelihoods gone. Estimated damages exceed $5 billion.

Communities across Hawaii face a long recovery. To aid local coffee businesses and more, relief fundraisers are raising money and awareness globally.

To learn how the coffee industry can support Maui’s rebuilding, I spoke with James “Kimo” Falconer, President of MauiGrown Coffee. Read on for his insights.

In such times of crisis, coffee community bonds can provide comfort and hope. As Hawaii heals, we all have a role to play in assisting those affected get back on their feet. With compassion and generosity, a brighter future emerges from the ashes.


Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph:

While not uncommon in Hawaii, wildfires have burned more acreage in recent decades. The August 2023 Maui fires proved most devastating, fueled by scarce resources and climate factors.

As early as 2014, Hawaii wildfire authorities designated Lahaina as extremely vulnerable. In August, hurricane winds and ongoing drought rapidly spread the blazes across Maui, destroying Lahaina and areas like Olinda, Pulehu-Kihei, and Kula.

coffee industry support communities in Maui

Thousands were displaced, with many tragic deaths and injuries. As MauiGrown Coffee’s President Kimo Falconer recounts, “We lost power at 4am on August 8th – a bush fire in town was out of control in no time, burning down all of Lahaina.”

Local authorities declared an emergency on August 8th, activating the Hawaii National Guard. By the 9th, a statewide emergency was announced, followed by a federal disaster declaration from President Biden on the 10th.

In summary, though not unheard of in Hawaii, the scale of the 2023 Maui wildfires was unprecedented. Climate factors like drought exacerbated the swift, devastating impact. Quick mobilization of emergency resources helped manage the crisis. Recovery efforts now focus on rebuilding and assisting displaced residents.

How is the local coffee sector affected?

Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph:

Hawaii produces around 5 million pounds of green coffee annually, with Maui accounting for roughly one-sixth of the state’s output. Despite challenges like coffee leaf rust and mislabeling disputes, production has steadily risen in recent years.

However, the August wildfires caused major damage to Maui coffee farms, as Kimo Falconer recounts: “We lost our mill, processing facilities, store, and most warehoused coffee. Because of this, we won’t harvest any coffee this year.”

Other local brands were also impacted. Maui Coffee Company stated on social media that while their family was okay, “Lahaina is destroyed and it is heartbreaking.” They noted employees who lost homes and operational impacts but were working to resume operations.

Even producers untouched by direct property damage largely had to close due to hazardous fire conditions.

In summary, just as Hawaii’s coffee output was rebounding despite hurdles, the Maui wildfires dealt a devastating setback. Facilities, equipment, and inventories were destroyed. The human impact also runs deep, with lost homes and livelihoods. It will likely take years for local coffee production to fully recover.


Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph to improve the flow and clarity:

Recovery efforts are still underway for communities and businesses impacted by the devastating wildfires. In response, several fundraising initiatives have launched to provide vital support:

  • The Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund is collecting donations through GoFundMe to assist victims across all affected islands. Proceeds go towards temporary housing, medical costs, and replacing lost possessions.
  • Project Pa’a launched an online auction selling unique experiences and specialty coffee donations. All proceeds support displaced coffee farm workers.
  • The Maui Coffee Association is selling exclusive Maui coffee bags online, collaborating with roasters worldwide. Funds help rebuild damaged mills and processing facilities.
  • Cafe Hana in Paia created a bottled iced toddy drink, with all sales supporting their employees who lost homes.
  • MauiGrown Coffee is taking direct donations through their website to rebuild their farm and facilities. The Falconer family also set up an emergency employee relief fund.

These efforts and more demonstrate the coffee community’s spirit of generosity amid crisis. As Hawaii works to recover, ongoing support from roasters, cafes, and consumers globally can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

Help Lahaina Get Caffeinated Again

Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph to improve the flow:

Christina Pundyke, owner of Alba’s Cuban Coladas in Maui, organized the GoFundMe “Help Lahaina Get Caffeinated Again” to support local coffee shops affected by the devastating Hawaii wildfires.

Donations will be distributed among several Lahaina coffee businesses that suffered losses, including:

  • Bad Ass Coffee
  • Belle Surf Café
  • Café Café Maui
  • VigiLatte Artisan Coffee
  • Drift Coffee
  • Keiki Bowls Café
  • Maui Island Coffee

This community-led initiative aims to help these independent cafés and roasters rebuild and reopen after the tragic firestorm. By rallying coffee lovers worldwide, the fundraiser provides crucial assistance so beloved Lahaina coffee spots can once again serve their signature drinks and fuel the town’s spirit.

VigiLatte Maui Wildfire Fundraiser

Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph to improve clarity and flow:

Owners Aria Rich and Nathon Holder organized a GoFundMe for their Maui coffee shop VigiLatte Artisan Coffee, devastated by the Hawaii wildfires. The campaign aims to rebuild their burnt down business and home, replace lost vehicles, and support now-homeless employees.

Donations will also assist neighboring businesses destroyed in the Lahaina blaze. With insurance unable to cover total losses, the fundraiser is crucial for getting VigiLatte and the community back on their feet.

Even amidst crisis, VigiLatte continues selling coffee online, dedicating all proceeds to the recovery fund. This resilience epitomizes the aloha spirit needed to restore beloved community hubs like VigiLatte. With help from coffee lovers near and far, Lahaina’s vibrant coffee culture can rise again from the ashes, cup by cup.

Maui Coffee Co. Wildfire Employee Relief

Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph to improve clarity and flow:

The Maui Coffee lovers started a GoFundMe campaign to support three veteran employees who lost their homes in the devastating Hawaii wildfires. The long-term staff, each with over 20 years at Maui Coffee, had houses completely destroyed by the Lahaina blaze.

All donations to “Maui Coffee Co – Maui Wildfire Employee Relief” will go directly to providing urgent housing, food, and necessities for these loyal employees and their families. Though the company’s building remains intact, its roasting facility is in the restricted fire zone.

coffee industry support communities in Maui

This community-led initiative exemplifies Hawaiian values of ohana (family) by rallying assistance for beloved employees in their time of need. As Maui Coffee states, “Your love and generosity is overwhelming.” With help from coffee lovers near and far, the company can begin rebuilding and get back to sharing their signature roasts.

Other fundraising campaigns

Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph to improve clarity and conciseness:

Beyond coffee-specific aid, organizations are supporting the wider Maui community impacted by the wildfires:

  • Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund gives immediate and long-term financial assistance to affected residents.
  • World Central Kitchen provides food and water to victims and first responders through local partners. Donations back these efforts.
  • People’s Fund of Maui offers direct relief to Lahaina and Kula fire victims.
  • Maui Mutual Aid Fund distributes donations to vulnerable individuals and families.
  • Maui Rapid Response Operating Support stocks a disaster response hub with supplies and volunteers.
  • Give Directly to Maui Residents spreadsheet shares victim stories and donation links, though unverified.
  • Maui United Way delivers urgent aid to nonprofits and fire-affected community members.

This network exemplifies the outpouring of support for Maui beyond just the coffee sector. By working together, these organizations provide crucial short and long-term assistance so the island can rebuild stronger.


Here is one way to rewrite the paragraph to improve clarity and flow:

Alongside donations, purchasing Maui coffee helps rebuild the island’s industry after wildfire devastation.

For example, Big Island Coffee Roasters’ Lahaina Maui Strong blend sends all proceeds to relief efforts, though high demand required supplementing with non-Maui beans.

Other Maui roasters potentially selling local coffee include Maui Coffee Roasters, Maui Coffee lovers, Origin Coffee Roasters, and Maui Oma. With major infrastructure losses, supply is extremely limited.

Buying from these roasters supports recovery of Maui’s vibrant coffee culture and agriculture. As the industry works to restore capacity, conscious purchases keep local businesses afloat. For those able, enjoying a cup of Maui coffee helps the island bloom again.

However, transparency around blends is crucial. Well-meaning buyers should confirm beans are actually from Maui farms currently rebuilding. Together, ethical buying and donating can make an impactful difference in people’s lives.