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History of Waialua Estate

Founded upon the rich agricultural tradition of Dole Food Company Hawaii & Waialua Sugar

Waialua Sugar Mill

For over a century, until its closure in 1996, the Waialua Sugar Company in the town of Waialua, on the North Shore of Oahu, was home to one of the largest sugarcane plantations in the state of Hawaii. The North Shore is also the original location of Dole Food Company’s pineapple growing and processing operation established by James Dole in 1901. Several generations and many thousands of immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Portugal, and the Philippines came to work and live in the plantation towns and camps, raising their children and making Hawaii their home.

Emergence of Waialua Estate

James Dole and his family in 1901 James Dole and his family in 1901
Pineapple Manual Harvest, early 1900's
Harvest haul, 1930's
James Dole family with horse and plow
James Dole and his family in 1901

With increasing globalization of agriculture, an economic need to diversify arose and culminated in the mid 1990s. With the closure of the sugarcane plantation in 1996 and in response to a growing consumer demand for distinctive, high quality Hawaiian grown products, Dole initiated a program of diversified agriculture to assist displaced workers while expanding the local market with new products. Crops were selected and planted to take advantage of new, emerging markets and products included papaya, mango, tropical flowers, and specialty crops such as coffee and cacao. Mr. David Murdock, Chairman of Dole Food Company, was especially interested in the healthful antioxidant benefits of coffee and cacao. Waialua Estate Coffee and Cacao is dedicated to this vision of healthy, nutritious food products and the continued practice of diversified agriculture on the North Shore of Oahu.

Mount Kaala coffee fields grow Waialua Estate artisan 100% Hawaiian coffee as part of our practice of diversified argriculture.
Mount Ka'ala coffee fields


"Nutrition is essential to the future direction of Dole."
- David H. Murdock, Chairman/CEO

The Region: A Unique Environment for Growing Extraordinary Coffee & Cacao

Waialua Estate Coffee and Cacao are grown on former sugarcane lands on the Wahiawa Plateau overlooking Oahu’s famous North Shore. This region is bordered on two sides by the the steep and dramatic Waianae and Ko’olau mountain ranges in the shadow of Mt. Ka’ala, the Island’s highest point. The 155 acre coffee farm sits above the coastal towns of Haleiwa and Waialua at an elevation of about 700 ft (300 metres) above sea level, while the 20 acre cacao orchard is situated at sea level along the banks of the Kaukonahua river, near Waialua town. Located at 21°north latitude the climate is warm and mild with average temperatures in the mid 80’s Fahrenheit (25° Celsius) with an annual rainfall of 20”.

Processing the two crops works in tandem with harvest seasons spread six months apart which keeps our full-time crew employed year-round. Waialua Estate Coffee and Cacao makes use of beneficial insects for its pest management program permitting the growing of pesticide-free crops. The orchards blossom under the watchful care of our skilled staff; and consistently produce the fine products we offer today under the Waialua Estate brand.

Waialua Estate cacao orchard producing our artisan 100% Hawaiian chocolate.
Cacao orchard



Waialua Estate is dedicated to producing Hawaii’s finest artisan chocolates and coffees. Our exceptional growing environment, skilled staff and limited production ensure that our products consistently meet the highest quality gourmet standards. Equally important, our premium products represent an excellent value based on their exceptional flavor delivery and premium ingredients, as well as our comprehensive attention to quality control.

Mike Conway
Derek Lanter

Mike Conway in a Waialua Estate cacao orchard.

Derek Lanter, Sales and Marketin Manager at Waialua Estate Coffee and Cacao

Learn about the whole team at Waialua Estate

Click here to learn about our team!

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Alan Wong's Restaurant

Hawaii Coffee Association


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