Atiu Coffee Factory - producers of organic gourmet coffee
Coffee has been grown on Atiu for as long as people remember. Missionaries established it commercially in the early 19th century. By 1865 already, annual exports of coffee from the Cook Islands amounted to 30,000 pounds. The islands' ariki (high chiefs) controlled the land used for planting and received most of the returns. The commoners often saw little if any reward for their labour.
In the late 1890s, Rarotongan coffee production suffered due to a blight that affected the plants. Coffee production declined and had to rely more on crops from the outer islands Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia. World Wars I and II resulted in a further export reduction and eventual standstill. In the 1950s, the co-operative movement in the Cook Islands generated the re-establishment of coffee as a cash crop.
On Atiu, under the supervision of New Zealand Resident Agent Ron Thorby and the Cook Islands Agriculture Department, new coffee plantations were established (left: Are Pua coffee plantation). The raw coffee was destined for export to New Zealand where it was processed and marketed.
When Juergen Manske-Eimke (right) settled on Atiu in 1983, the coffee industry had collapsed. Government stepped back and left the plantations to their landowners. The poor financial return from selling their coffee to a Rarotongan company for processing had prompted the farmers to stop production except for their own private use. The plantations were overgrown with creepers.
With the help of local shareholders and private savings, the Atiu Coffee Factory Ltd. was founded. In 1984, the processing machinery arrived. Months of hard work freeing the plantations from weeds and a lot of trial and error followed until Atiu Coffee™ could be counted amongst the world's best coffees. Today, it is exported through mail order to private customers all over the world.
Atiu Coffee Factory manages two plantations of a total of 32 acres. In harvesting season, private planters supply the company with coffee cherries from their half to four-acre plantations.
All coffee is processed in the factory on Atiu (left). On account of an agreement with the Atiu Coffee Growers Association, coffee is not sold as green beans. Atiu Coffee Factory roasts freshly on incoming orders and sells Atiu Coffee™ only in high quality sealed bags (shown below right) with a one-way valve for preservation of freshness. We supply whole beans and ground coffee. We also provide mail-order service to our customers overseas
Atiu Coffee™ is available in
- medium roast with its smooth, mellow flavour and a rich aroma
- dark roast will the full-bodied aroma of espresso coffee, but not bitter
- Atiu Coffee is organically grown and 100% sun-dried.
- It has an earthy taste and is naturally low in caffeine containing less than 2%.