Kona – there’s something exceptional about this magnificent place in Hawaii. The beautiful ocean-lined landscapes and valleys bathed in rainbows contribute amazingly to growing the world’s most exclusive sought-after coffee varietals – Kona coffee!
Although the State of Hawaii takes pride in being the home to the eleven best coffee regions, which are spread across the island, the Kona belt has managed to reach the level of iconicity, being the most-known coffee powerhouse in the globe.
What makes Kona coffee so unique? Is it only the delectability, or there’s something that goes far beyond that? Read on and get to know about all that’s involved!
What is Kona Coffee?
Coffea, the mother of the cash coffee crops, is one the most delicate plants globally that require a set of specific growing conditions to thrive and bloom. Volcanic soil enriched with minerals, sunny yet rainy climate, and high elevation are the most vital ones among them. Fortunately, Kona happens to match the preferences well.
Due to this reason, this tiny piece of paradise, which lies on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa, cultivates Kona – the most elegant coffee variant in the world. It won’t be an exaggeration to call this variant ‘the global coffee connoisseurs’ ‘apple of the eye’!
In a one-liner, it can be said that the avant-garde Arabica beans grown in the volcanic soil of the Kona belt in the Big Islands of Hawaii are known as Kona coffee.
The surprising fact is, Kona coffee is not native to Kona! History says that it originated in Ethiopia before making its way west to South America. In 1828, Samuel Reverend Ruggles planted the first coffee plant in Kona, and that little initiative resulted in about three million coffee plants by the end of the 19th century. The evolution now stands at C790 coffee farms and plantations on the Big Island!
What does Kona Coffee taste like?
Well, Kona beans are different because they lock multiple flavors! However, the taste rendered by these world-class beans depends much on their drying method and roast.
In case you’re in search of a general tasting notes expectation, Kona coffee tastes exactly how a perfect morning cup should feel – light, fruity, nutty hints complemented by sweetish after taste – it has simply everything that’s required to tackle a hefty and tiresome day ahead. Talking about the acidity, it’s bright and subtle.
Best Kona Coffee Beans
Now that you are aware of the delicacy which comes in the form of Kona coffee, it’s pretty obvious that you would like to augment your kitchen’s shelf with such an avant-garde coffee bean. Keeping this in mind, we have listed below some of the best picks to choose from, which will let you enjoy that perfect taste of Hawaii.
1. Peaberry Medium Roast Whole Bean from Koa Coffee
It isn’t just the glowing description, but the Peaberry Medium Roast Whole Bean from Koa Coffee will undoubtedly justify every single penny spent! Besides, it carries the potential to turn you into one of its praisers.
Tasting Notes: Milk chocolate, brown sugar, honey Roast: Medium
“Champagne of Kona” – the title which peaberry beans have received from coffee aficionados. Unlike other coffee beans, peaberries are single, small oval beans rather than coffee cherries having two beans. When you brew peaberry beans, you are amongst those 3-5% out of 100 people who get the opportunity to enjoy this rare, nature-gifted, out-of-the-ordinary coffee.
This bean delivers a smooth, flavorful, and rich caramel taste without any trace of bitterness. Besides, its excellent aroma is something you will fall in love with. The moment you open the bag, you will be overwhelmed with shining, oily coffee beans, giving you a satisfactory first impression.
Therefore, without giving any second thought, you can give these beans a try and enjoy the full-bodied, rich, and delectable cup of joe. When you include peaberry medium roast from Koa Coffee to your morning brew, you are surely going to start your day with a luxurious treat.
To taste the royalty! The full mouthfeel and outrageous tang of this Kona version are definitely going to leave you with a jaw-dropping experience.
Also Read: Best Peaberry Coffee Beans
2. Estate Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee from Koa Coffee
Many say that it’s one of the best Kona coffee available outside the island. Nutty deliciousness is what makes this whole bean variety stand out in miles.
Tasting Notes: Light Floral Roast: Medium
The uniqueness of Estate Kona coffee lies in its single farm cultivation. The crops are directly sourced from a high elevation, single estate firm situated in the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa, assuring its intact and pure savor.
The roasters commendably perform the job of roasting these delicate Kona coffee beans and creating an incomparable medium roast blend that perfectly showcases the one-of-a-kind flavor profiles. The aroma and after-taste are lovely, and a single word that can describe this coffee the best is ‘delicious.’
Estate medium roast whole bean is continuing to grab the attention of seasonal and regular coffee buffs because of its smooth, fresh, and well-balanced approach.
It treasures unique floral taste combined with the freshness of authentic Kona coffee, making it a must-buy.
3. Kona Natural Coffee from Volcanica
Bright acidity, fantastic flavor profiles, and awesome after-taste, this Volcanica blend has almost everything to please you with a cup that’s synonymous with palatability.
Tasting Notes: Sweet, Chocolate, Coffee Roast: Medium
Volcanica’s Kona natural coffee keeps its namesake in every possible means. The roasters source the naturally processed beans, and they bring it straight from the Aloha farms – the same farm that delivers the other famous Kona varieties of Volcanica.
The ripe cherries are sun-dried on raised beds for more than a week. However, the drying period may often get extended up to a fortnight, depending on the climatic conditions. In this period, the cherries are sorted and raked, ensuring a consistent drying process. Once the drying is done, the coffee is milled.
These beans are dried inside the coffee cherry husk, making the coffee fermented, producing a natural, sweetish tang.
To get drenched in the deliciousness of 100% Kona coffee! The brilliant Savory makes this variant a must-buy.
4. Royal Kona Estate Extra Fancy – Specialty Coffee From Out Of The Grey Coffee
This American classic is known for its unique layer of spiciness, combined with an earthy and nutty tang, complemented by a perfect snappy finish, which is pretty hard to find in any other coffee varietal.
Tasting Notes: Musky lily, Watermelon, Roasted almond, Dark chocolate, Strawberry Roast: Dark medium
Are you looking for that uniquely deep, velvety, sweet fruity-toned, complex cup that carries hints of musky lily, watermelon, roasted almond, dark chocolate, and strawberry? If the answer is yes, then Royal Kona estate’s extra fancy specialty is meant for you.
These specialty-grade beans are harvested seasonally, making them rare. They are grown at 1800-2000 M.A.S.L. in the volcanic soil, and the perfect growing conditions of Hawaii allow them to adopt the highest level of delectability that every coffee fan craves for.
The extra fancy variant is worth its name because of the quality it offers. Undoubtedly, any of the Kona coffee beans are considered high-class. However, the extra fancy one locks all the goodnesses, including color uniformity, size perfection, and zero defective beans.
In a one-liner, it can be said that they are the most luxurious Kona beans that are premium in every means – from delectability to cost.
To understand the real meaning of ‘supreme’! Unique earthy and nutty term makes it admirable and adorable to global coffee lovers.
5. Keala’s extra fancy 100% Kona
When you order this exclusive Kona coffee from Keala’s, it’s guaranteed that 100% Kona sourced directly from the island will be delivered to your doorstep. You will get the fortunate opportunity of getting lost in the flavorsome cup produced by these well-balanced, medium roast coffee beans.
Tasting Notes: Roasted coconut, Passion fruit Roast: Medium
When asked, name the rarest objects on Earth, you probably call them purple corn, red banana, an albino alligator, flying fish, and albino humpback whale. But, did you know, you can alter any one of them with “100% Kona coffee,” and one of the rarest wonders now can be kept in your kitchen with Keala’s extra fancy 100% Kona.
The bold and bright acidity, a velvety smooth body, and an eccentric toasted coconut and passion fruit flavor award this avant-garde coffee variety with the unique ability to win over the hearts of not only the aficionados but also the seasonal drinkers.
The roaster keeps the roast level at medium, and they source washed beans which are perfect for the french press. This exclusive coffee has a different fan base who always prefer to hunt for the most appealing beans that can keep their spirits alive.
You should and must buy this to celebrate your coffee passion and give the touch of completion to your coffee experience. From delicacy, elegance to impressive packaging – it simply rocks!
6. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – 100% Single Origin Kona beans
Each cup you make from this out-of-the-ordinary variant will render you a soft feel of aloha, with a blended hint of nut and fruit. As the roaster masters the art of crafting the best-tasting coffee, you can bet on its deliciousness.
Tasting Notes: Raisin, Nutty Roast: Medium
This 100% Kona coffee is one of those single-origin coffees prized worldwide for its intense aroma, delicacy, and mildness. The roaster, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, source these beans from the farms of Hawaii that grow their crop in lush rains, bright sun, and volcanic soil – the primary contributors to growing distinctive Kona coffee beans.
The perfect roast degree allows the coffee bean and tea leaf to drag out the most of these world-class beans, enabling the ability to guarantee the highest quality obtainable on Earth. Hence, if you are looking for something simple yet the best, feel free to bet on the 100% single origin Kona beans from the house of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
Because you will love it! Indeed, it’s one of the best alternatives to quench your thirst for cups that are perfect by every means.
How to choose the Right Kona Coffee
Delectability and nuanced flavor define Kona coffee, and when it comes to picking the best Kona coffee, the task is not as easy as it sounds. The variant is exclusive hence expensive. So, of course, you won’t want your investment towards coffee to justify your coffee love going in vain.
To help you make the most out of your Kona coffee experience, below are a handful of factors that you need to consider while sealing the deal.
Kona coffee = Smoothness
One of the attributes of authentic Kona coffee is its smoothness. So, while buying a bag for you, make sure you have read the packaging well and checked for its smoothness.
Kona coffee is either sold in blends that carry 10% of Kona beans or hold 100% Koba coffee. Though the 10% blend is a better fit for the average budget, you can’t consider them a real deal. To enjoy the delectability of real Kona, it’s worth the splurge to pick up the 100% Kona coffee packs. The pleasure these beans offer is priceless, so considering the price factor while buying a bag of Kona is not a wise idea.
The Kona roast and Kona style are not synonymous with Kona coffee.
While searching for Kona coffee, you may come across terms like Kona roast and Kona style. However, it’s worth knowing that both Kona roast and Kona style have nothing to do with Kona coffee if there is no clear mention on the package.
Kona roast refers to medium to dark medium roast like real Kona coffee, while Kona style stands for something that will bring a Kona-like feel. Now you say, is the idol of a white tiger synonymous with the real boss of wildlife?
Since its inception in 1828, the Kona coffee culture has been ruling over the reign of coffee, and its premium outlook has allowed it to secure the title of the most admired coffee in the world. So, while buying this, make sure you reach an authentic source that sources these avant-garde beans from the Hawaiian volcanic lands, assuring their deliciousness and savor. Buy the best so that you can brew the best!
Frequently Asked Questions
- When was coffee introduced to Hawaii?
In 1813, Don Francisco De Paula planted coffee seeds on Oahu, which is considered the event of the introduction of coffee to Hawaii.
- Who brought coffee to the Kona district?
The iconic Kona coffee was introduced to the Kona district in 1828 with the hands of Reverend Samuel Ruggles.
- What's the secret behind the luxurious tasting profile of Kona coffee?
It's the perfect growing conditions derived from the geography of the Kona district that pours the extraordinary delectability into the beans. From bright morning sun, misty afternoons, cool nights to the well-drained mineral-rich volcanic soil, complemented by the suitable elevations – the region has simply everything that can make a coffee tree happy and blooming.
- Is Kona coffee organic?
Yes, most of the farms in the Kona district follow the strict guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and produce 100% organic beans. They hold the certifications as well.
- Why will I pay so much for Kona coffee?
The answer to this question will be even clearer if we look at the statistics provided below.
Kona coffee comprises less than 1% of the world's coffee production, making it substantially rare. There are less than four thousand acres of an area where the trees are planted. In addition, in Hawaii, the real estate, labor, and other supplies and equipment required for coffee plantations are expensive. Due to this reason, the cost of Kona coffee is a bit higher compared with the other coffee varietals in the world.
- How long can I store Kona coffee beans?
You can store Kona coffee beans for up to 6 months if roasted in a valve-sealed bag, not vacuum-sealed. Talking about the green beans, they can be stored for a year. However, you need to take care of the moisture and storage conditions.
- What are the grades of Kona coffee?
As per the grading criteria of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Kona coffee is graded into five categories –
Extra fancy, the largest beans
Fancy, smaller beans than the extra fancy ones