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  • Evelyn Collins

Maui's Coffea Shrub

A branch of ripe coffee berries

Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them.

Matthew 7:20 (KJV)


A few years ago, my sister and I visited relatives in Maui. Two weeks of relaxing on this picturesque island was paradise on Earth. The days with our hosts, Ron and Donna, were unforgettable. We visited many places with our hosts as guides. Yet, our walks along the coastline each morning turned out to be my favorite part of the trip.

There my spirit absorbed the tranquility of the turquoise water. In the distance were other islands separated by miles of sparkling sea. We sauntered on sandy soil and by enormous boulders near the water. Beauty encompassed us as we strolled through neighborhoods toward the small coffee shop on the corner.

After purchasing our favorite hot beverage, we sat and sipped our coffee. The warm autumn sun, salt air, and gentle breeze on the patio were pleasant. The simple pleasures are the most memorable.

A wooden bowl filled with raw and roasted coffee beans and Coffea berries.

On one particular morning after our stroll, we made our usual stop for coffee. We finished our morning beverage. Then we stopped at a tiny shop on our route to the condo. The shop owner packed the tiny store with various items reminiscent of old country stores. A hand-carved wooden bowl of raw and roasted beans and tiny, round, ruby-red fruit similar to cherries sat on the counter in front of the cash register. A young girl behind the counter informed me that the fruit was from the Coffea shrub.

I thought coffee beans grew inside a pod casing on a beanstalk. However, they are seeds in a tiny rose-colored fruit dangling from a branch. The discovery that they come from fruit off of the Coffea bushes intrigued me.

Coffea shrubs thrive in tropical and mountainous terrains. These plants benefit from Maui’s rich volcanic soil. The coffee cherry has two seeds inside each of the tiny bite-size fruit that we call coffee beans. Their seeds are a substantial portion of the small ball-shaped fruit; however, the tiny amount of pulp that surrounds the seeds is full of antioxidants and has a sweet-tart flavor.

Therefore, this fruit and its beans are a major commodity. So, while driving through the island’s rural region, you may see the coffee plantations near the winding roads. Several coffee shop owners even own farms. Some farmers grow and harvest the fruit, while others roast the beans for a flavorful morning cup of energy. Maui’s crop has a rich, dark, smooth flavor and a distinct aroma.

Hands holding tiny Coffea berries

As followers of Christ, we are like plants in God’s orchard. Our divine purpose is to bear good fruit. Our bodies are temples for the Spirit of Jesus. Like the Coffea shrub, we should produce intense fruit that reflects the goodness of God.

Just as the crushed and roasted seeds fill the coffee shop with a deep aroma, we should change the atmosphere when we enter a room. Christ in us should be a rich aroma that invites others to taste the goodness of God. We should reflect God’s Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Whenever we meet someone crushed in spirit by hardships in life, may our hearts burst forth with the love of God that brings hope.


God, Let my life be the light and aroma of Your presence. Fertilize the soil of my heart. May my life yield fragrant maturing fruit like the Coffea bush and may my trials reveal a deep-abiding love for you, Jesus Christ. Help me reach out to the destitute during these devastating times.

Your turn:

What good fruit are you cultivating and extending to others? Are we reaching out to the destitute and devastated?

**Foot Note

Devastating fires ravaged Lahaina. These fires decimated lives and demolished businesses in Maui. I am not sure how many farms, factories, and shops were affected, but I read that several of them lost everything. My prayers are with all those in Lahaina who suffered loss.

Heavenly Father, help us spread love by reaching out to others in need. Give us wisdom in giving so that no one lacks the basic needs. We ask you to multiply our gifts. Fill the brokenhearted with hope of a better tomorrow. Amen.

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