Kona coffee is the greatest treat for a coffee lover. If you are a coffee enthusiast and have never tasted this coffee before then you are in for wonderful surprise.
Kona is considered the highest quality gourmet coffee in the world. It is simply the smoothest joe you can ever taste.
But not all Kona is created equal. Let us take a look at how to discover the best Kona coffee by reviewing the different kinds of this coffee. You are about to discover everything you need to know before buying yourself some delicious Kona joe.
Kona is the brand name for a kind of Arabica coffee that is cultivated in the Hawaiian district of Kona. It is the best Hawaiian coffee that grows only on Big Island.
Pure Hawaiian Kona Coffee Has A Unique Flavor
Kona coffee has a unique taste that makes it the most sought after brew. It has a special combination of flavor, aroma, acidity, sweetness, fullness and aftertaste that makes its taste such a delight that no other coffee can come close to it. No coffee shop is complete without this coffee.
It has a distinctly sweet aroma and nutty, caramel like flavor. Unlike regular coffee it isn’t bitter but has a mildly sweet taste like that of honey.
It has very low acidity and a rich, smooth taste that leaves buttery aftertaste on your tongue.
Also because of its relatively low caffeine content, it won’t make you jittery but instead leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. This soothing effect of Kona is another favorite quality which makes it so dear to coffee lovers.
Depending on the Kona plantation it originated from, sometimes the beans may have a vanilla aroma, while sometimes it may have a berry like fragrance.
Growing The Best Hawaiian Coffee, Cultivation & Harvest of Kona Coffee Beans
Most classic Kona comes from farms on the volcanic mountain slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai in a region known as the Kona belt.
The fertile volcanic soil and tropical climate combined with frequent rains creates the ideal weather for growing Kona trees. This unique mixture of weather and soil gives Kona its special taste.
Kona trees bloom during March and the fruits start developing from April. Towards September the berries start ripening and are harvested.
It takes around 2.5 to 3 years for tree to reach maturity and start bearing cherries.
To get about one pound of Kona coffee beans, around 8 pounds of Kona cherries are needed. And since each tree produces about 25 pounds of fruit, each tree can only give about 3 pounds of coffee every year.
Each berry starts out as green and slowly starts turning red as it ripens. But since each cherry can ripen at a different time, the cherries need to be picked by hand to ensure that only mature cherries are harvested.
The berries are selected based on firmness, size and color and then run through a machine that takes off their fleshy part leaving the Kona beans behind.
These beans are then washed, dried and roasted. The coffee is packed within a day of harvest to ensure maximum freshness.
Kona Blends and Different Grades Of Kona Coffee Beans
There are five major grades of Kona beans
- Extra Fancy Kona:
It is the top-rated, highest quality with the richest taste, made from the largest coffee beans.
- Fancy Kona:
It is also of high quality but is made from somewhat smaller size Kona
- Number One Kona:
It is of medium quality made using even smaller sized beans and only has a mildly smooth taste. It may be mixed with a higher grade of Kona to create a 100% Kona blend.
- Select Kona:
It has a lower quality and is made using small Kona beans where about 5 percent of the beans have some kind of defects.
- Prime Kona:
It is the lowest quality, made from the tiniest beans, of which around 20 percent have defects.
Pure, high-quality Kona coffee can be very expensive because of the extremely labor-intensive process that is involved in cultivation and harvest of Kona. This combined with the limited quantity of Kona that is produced every year and its high worldwide demand makes it the costliest coffee in the world.
Hence, to make it less costly, manufactures sometimes mix a small percentage of Kona beans along with a higher percentage of other coffee varieties to produce a Kona blend.
Hawaiian Agricultural Laws mandate that only pure Kona coffee packs can be labeled with “100% Kona coffee”. Any blends must specify the actual percentage of Kona beans on the label.
Peaberry Kona Coffee Beans – The Champagne Of Coffee
There are two kinds of Kona cherries. The first variety of cherry contains two beans inside, where each bean is flat on one side. Around 95% of Kona cherries are of this kind.
The second kind of cherry contains only one round bean in each cherry. Only 5% of cherries fall in this category.
When the cherry contains only one bean, it is called Kona Peaberry coffee or Whole-Bean Kona.
Although, the single bean is smaller than two flat beans combined, it produces a much richer and smoother flavor compared to the flat beans. Hence, it is the rarest, costliest and most sought after coffee bean in the world. Coffee connoisseurs call it as the champagne of coffee.
Grande Domaine Kona – Top Rated Hawaiian Coffee
The top rated Hawaiian Kona is a special form of Kona produces by the Koa Plantation. It is produced using the biggest Kona beans picked from the oldest Kona trees.
The top four highest grades of Kona, namely Extra Fancy, Fancy, Number One and Peaberry are blended and roasted using a special Vienna roaster to produce the smoothest, full-bodied and richest taste imaginable.
It is available in 5 pound, 1 pound and 8 ounce bags.