Monarch Coffee: A Story of Love, Adventure, and the Best Coffee in Kona

March 08, 2023 4 min read

Monarch Coffee: A Story of Love, Adventure, and the Best Coffee in Kona

Have you ever stumbled upon something so magical and life-changing that it becomes a part of who you are? For Greg and Susy Stille, that’s exactly what happened. They spent 32 years falling in love with the Hawaiian Islands before they began the adventure that led them to Monarch Coffee in Kona, Hawaii. 

Freshly retired from the specialty grocery industry, Greg and Susy went on a hike in Maui to kick off a new chapter in their lives. This very hike was the adventure that sparked Monarch Coffee’s incredible journey. They came across a beautiful tree with white star-like flowers and were intrigued by its beauty that they decided to pick a couple of the cherries and plant it right on their land. Soon after, they discovered it was actually a coffee tree, thus beginning their coffee journey with just a few trees on a two-acre farm in Maui. Through the arduous process of picking coffee cherries, hand pulping, milling, drying, and test roasting in small batches, they acquired a vast knowledge of coffee and the components that come together to make the perfect cup. 

After some time, not only did their knowledge expand, but so did their farm! They grew into a larger farm in Kona, Hawaii. Driving up to their new land for the first time, they were greeted by the sight of ugly weeds and butterflies everywhere. But nonetheless, it was an exciting moment as they visualized the potential of what could be. Monarch Coffee was brought to life here, named after the butterflies that had welcomed them to their new farm. 

After the expansion of their farm, Greg, the innovator that he is, decided to go on an origin trip to Panama where he discovered a unique coffee variety that tasted unlike any other, known as the Gesha varietal. Though he knew the risk and had many people in his ear saying that this type of coffee tree may not be successful in Hawaii’s growing conditions, they decided to trust their gut on this one and brought it back to their farm. Their first harvest took 5 years, and it was well worth the wait because it was the very harvest that changed coffee in Hawaii.Monarch Coffee became the first to bring this highly sought-after Gesha variety to the Hawaiian Islands. Today, they continue to grow and cultivate authentic 100% Kona Gesha here. 

The coffee produced at Monarch Coffee is truly one-of-a-kind, with its flavor and nuances coming from the rich soil and cloud coverage of the Hualālai volcano. After their first harvest, they entered this incredible coffee in the Hawaiian cupping competition and were soon recognized for their outstanding Monarch Coffee Farm Estate Gesha Coffee. 2018 was the first year that they participated by entering their Kona Coffee and won Grand Champion First Place with their washed Gesha and 3rd place for their Gesha Pulp Natural at the State of Hawaii Cupping Competition. This was truly a groundbreaking moment for Monarch Coffee and their hardworking, coffee-loving family!

But the journey doesn’t end with that. Their remarkable passion carried them through every triumph and tribulation and even continued onto their daughter Abby, who has taken over Monarch Farms with her husband Sal. One of the great highlights of their story is the transformation of Abby’s son, Joshua, during his time on the farm. Early on, their gut told them that Joshua was experiencing behavioral differences compared to other kids his age. They had little help from the doctors and each time, there was no diagnosis. But with intense, hands-on parenting and an in-depth approach, Abby and Sal finally found a holistic doctor, where he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. This prompted their move to Kona where they immersed themselves in farm life and exposed Joshua to experiences that became the very thing that gave him a feeling of connection and awakening within his purpose. His involvement in the junior wa'a canoe club ignited his unique connection to Hawaii's beautiful waters, which later enabled him to make strides in his development and gave him the confidence to take the lead as a tour operator for the farm. 

While their journey certainly wasn’t the easiest, it’s one that is a true testament to the power of family, commitment and community. Abby, thank you for inspiring us and representing just how far you can go with embracing change, continuously evolving and being courageous in the midst of it all. 

If there’s one thing we learned from our visit at Monarch Coffee, they are more than a coffee farm carrying world renowned coffee but they represent a family's love, passion and adventure in building the legacy they have today. We are grateful to have been welcomed into this beautiful farm by such an incredible family. 

If you ever get the chance to visit Kona, Hawaii, be sure to stop by Monarch Coffee and be part of the magic for yourself. You absolutely will not regret it!

Now available for Keurig® as well as whole bean and ground: You can now taste some of this award winning coffee for yourself! Procured just for our Angelino’s Coffee family, you'll fall in love with the exquisite delicate acidity and subtle flavors of chocolate, berries, mango, honeydew, apple, and pear.