Can You Bring Kona Coffee Back From Hawaii?

Are you traveling to Hawaii, and you're wondering if you can bring back food souvenirs? For instance, can you bring Kona coffee back from Hawaii? Before you pack coffee in your suitcase, make sure to know the travel guidelines in carrying food and other agricultural products outside of Hawaii.

Can You Bring Kona Coffee Back From Hawaii?

Yes, you can bring as many Kona coffee beans back as you want from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, Guam, and Alaska after passing the USDA inspection. While you can usually carry Kona coffee to international travel destinations, be sure to check if your country of destination has restrictions on agricultural products.

Travelers from the airport in Hawaii and entering the mainland would need to go through the agricultural inspection line. Still, there are specific guidelines you should consider if you would like to bring Kona coffee from Hawaii through any continent or U.S. port of entry. 

Paper bags, coffee cup and fortune cookie on top of a bed of coffee beans

How Can You Travel Kona Coffee From Hawaii to the Mainland United States?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows travelers to bring coffee grounds and beans on domestic U.S. flights either in a carry-on or check-in baggage. The TSA generally allows transporting commercially packaged foods from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, even through air travel.

The tropical climate in Hawaii's islands may increase the risk of importing plant pests and diseases into the continental United States. Thus, when in doubt, you can clarify information with a customs officer or fill out a declaration form so you may avoid paying for penalties.

  • You can bring any amount of roasted Kona coffee beans into the United States, as long as you follow luggage weight limits. You can also carry green or unroasted coffee beans from Hawaii into mainland America. However, you may have to declare them at your port of entry.
  • Some airlines may require you to put coffee grounds weighing greater than 12 ounces in checked baggage. This is because the TSA may consider ground coffee a powder-like substance. TSA guidelines prohibit bringing powders in quantities above 12 ounces in carry-on luggage.
  • The Hawaiian Islands are among the most geographically remote places on earth. The islands are home to unique plants and geographically isolated, introduced species. With that said, you can't bring coffee cherries into the U.S. because they may carry fruit flies.
  • The TSA recommends organizing food and other items to prevent them from obstructing clear images on the X-ray machine. In this way, you won't encounter problems in the screening process and keep the lines moving.
  • Present all food, plants, and other agricultural items to the United States Department of Agriculture inspector before you leave Hawaii's airports. An inspector has the authority to make the final decision about whether your items can enter the country.
  • Ideally, label the Kona coffee properly and use a container that you can easily pull out of the luggage. This is why all Kona coffee products from Lava Lei use clearly-labeled pouches and boxes for your traveling convenience.
    Airport check in

Can You Travel Kona Coffee From Hawaii to Foreign Countries?

Most countries allow passengers to put Kona coffee grounds or beans in a carry-on or checked luggage. International flights can be a bit trickier because some countries may have rules against bringing in certain food products.

This is because there are guidelines that aim to protect a country's agriculture, livestock, and native plants. Bringing food items from other parts of the world may introduce invasive pests that can damage an ecosystem, cause a disease outbreak, and impact natural resources.

Be sure to check airline guidelines or a country's rules before buying Kona coffee. In any case, leave the Kona coffee packaging sealed.

Related Questions

What Items Can I Not Bring Back From Hawaii?

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service restricts or prohibits bringing of several agricultural products from Hawaii into the mainland. This primarily includes fresh fruits and vegetables, berries, and cactus plants. Additionally, you can't carry fresh flowers, cotton, seed pods, soil, and sugarcane.Opened pack of coffee beans

What Does Kona Coffee Taste Like?

While the taste may depend on the roast level, Kona coffee generally has a light, sweet, smooth, and creamy taste with hints of fruitiness and nuttiness. Whether you prefer a light coffee roast or a dark coffee roast remember, the darker the roast, the sweeter and less fruity it tastes.

Where Does Kona Coffee Get Its Unique Flavor?

Kona coffee gets its unique flavor from the Kona region's high slopes, volcanic soil, and microclimate. The soil's richness in minerals also contributes nutrients to the beans. Aside from that, the handpicking of the beans ensures only the mature ones get roasted.


You can bring Kona coffee from Hawaii to anywhere in the world. However, be ready as airport agents may inspect the beans, so it's best to check your area of destination's rules. Lava Lei 100% Kona coffee roasts are carefully packed and sealed, so they are easy to submit for inspection.