Do you like welcoming a new morning with a warm cup of coffee? Is that rich and strong flavor keeping you alive? How do you choose the right coffee beans for your morning coffee while there’re so many varieties of coffee in the market? Well, no worries… we all have been there. Through this article, you’re going to explore the best coffee choice for your morning coffee: Kona Coffee
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If you like coffee, you’ve likely heard of this tasty gem; if not, no worries… here’s everything you need to know about the history and production of Kona coffee, as well as a complete guide on how to consume it.
What Is Kona Coffee
Kona coffee is the marketing name of the Coffea arabica grown on the slopes of active volcanos in the Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii – to put it merely, Kona coffee holds the name of its hometown.
This area has mineral-rich volcanic soil and provides the perfect combination of sunlight, humidity, and rainfall for the coffee to grow at its finest. This unique combination results in a rich and distinctly aromatic brew. Changing from one brand to another, the best Kona coffee’s typically smooth with a subtle chocolatey flavor and earthy undertones.
It has a powerful taste but often a mellow or even nutty aftertaste instead of the common bitterness found in stronger coffees. In general, it’s described as bright, crisp, and clean. You are invited to a party of very pleasant, lingering aftertaste, with hints of nuts and citrus on your pallet.
Benefits of Drinking Kona Coffee
Easy to Digest
Rather than the festival of flavors that will take place in your pallet, Kona coffee will be a lot easier for you to digest because it’s naturally low in acidity. Coffee lovers will be familiar with the not-so-cozy feeling of acid reflux and heartburn right after enjoying your morning coffee. That is because coffee includes around 30 different types of acids!
Doesn’t Give Jitters After Consumption
Not only Kona coffee is gentle on your metabolism, but it also won’t give you jitters after consumption, so NO MORE picking up fights with people around you and ruin your perfect morning. Kona coffee will make you calm and happy.
How Does Kona Coffee Work
Starting from the early days of production, Kona coffee has always been grown and produced according to the standards. It is generally acknowledged to be the tastiest coffee on the planet by many coffee experts. Many coffee plants are over a century old and still on the run today from generation to generation.
The Kona belt in Hawaii is literally the best area for coffee to grow that provides perfectly balanced sun and shade, an equitable amount of moisture sustained by the rotation of fog, rain, sea-breeze and the nourishing nutrient-rich volcanic soil.
The fruit of the Kona coffee beans is called “cherries” because it turns into deep red from light green when it ripens. Each cherry’s hand-picked because they all ripen at different times. After harvesting, cherries are cracked to reveal the beans; then, beans are cleaned and usually sun-dried.
Short History of Kona Coffee
The earliest recordings of Kona coffee belong to the 1800s. In 1823 Hawaii’s King Kamehameha II travels to England with his wife and Chief Boki, Oahu’s governor. Both the king and his wife got sick in England and couldn’t come back to Hawaii. While coming back to Hawaii Chief Boki got some coffee beans from Brazil.
Later then, Samuel Reverend Ruggles brought the beans to the Kona districts of Hawaii for production. During the period between 1850 and 1880, many Kona coffee production facilities were established, which some are still actively producing to this day.
Pros and Cons of Kona Coffee
- Astounding fame of quality.
- Various tastes and flavors.
- Good for many types of coffee.
- Low acidity.
- No acid reflux, heartburn or jitters.
- So many scams out there.
- Quite expensive.
- The need for coffee grinders and brewing equipment (better if you do).
Grades of Kona Coffee
It’s undeniable that Kona coffee will revolutionize your morning coffee… but let’s learn just a bit more before learning about how to prepare this secret gem. Grading systems are created by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDA), which will help you get the best of best. The grading is based on the size, moisture content, the bean’s weight, and defects.
Type I Beans
This term is used to describe cherries with 2 beans. The characterization goes as below from highest to lowest quality.
- Kona Extra Fancy is the best you can get. The beans are large and almost free of defects.
- Kona Fancy is still very fancy… yet slightly less than extra fancy.
- Kona Number 1 is called #1 yet in the 3rd position. The beans are medium-sized compared to fancy versions but surely still is a decent cup of coffee.
- Kona Select consists of relatively smaller beans since there is no size requirement for the last two types.
- Kona Prime
Type II Beans
This term’s used to describe cherries with 1 bean. This’s actually the result of a mutation. The mutation causes 2 beans to grow as 1 and results in enhanced flavors. Peaberries’re very rare to be found. That -of course- makes them quite expensive.
- Kona Peaberry number 1 is the best version of Peaberry Kona coffee. The beans are so much bigger than Kona Peaberry Prime.
- Kona Peaberry Prime
How to Brew Kona Coffee
Even tho Kona coffee will be a celebration to your taste buds, the taste of your coffee will be affected by the roast, the brew method, and freshness. When done in the right way, you can expect to taste hints of brown sugar, milk chocolate, honey, and a hint of a bright fruit flavor in your coffee!
“So how do I do it?” … Get yourself ready for the flavor festival because here is a step-by-step guide to help to brew the best Kona coffee:
Step 1 – Get high-quality Kona coffee
What you buy is the key! Always go for %100 Kona coffee. What is the basic principle? Making bad coffee from good beans… easy, making good coffee from bad beans… IMPOSSIBLE!
Step 2 – Store it properly
A little fresh air can be good for you, but it is the vital enemy of your precious coffee. Coffee beans have a couple of days of shelf life even when exposed to air, but grounded beans don’t stand even half a day in the same conditions. Try to get your coffee in an airtight bag and store it as air-free as possible.
Step 3 – Grind your beans
Grind your beans by yourself if you can. Whole beans provide their unique aroma and flavor a lot better and a lot longer than grounded beans… so ground your own beans whenever you want to enjoy your coffee.
Step 4 – Add some water
Coffee is mostly water, so good quality water leads to good quality coffee. If you don’t want to ruin your high-quality coffee with chlorine-filled tap water, use spring water.
Step 5 – Set the right brewing temperature
Brewing temperature is crucial! Studies suggest that the best coffee brews around 195-205F -you don’t need to check; it is around 90-95C, you are welcome-. Don’t forget to check the water temperature of your automatic coffee maker; you can use any meat thermometers for this.
Step 6 – Choose the best brewing method
Old methods are better! Don’t let that high-tech coffee maker take away the best part of your joy -let’s admit that’s way easier- but instead, take your time and use a french press. Using a french press will drastically change the quality of your coffee. Also, using classical instead of the electrical French press will change your coffee game!
You can also use a coffee siphon or the drip method; those are commonly known styles to make traditional Vietnamese coffee. Another great way of making good quality coffee with an intense aroma is by using Moka pots. They are super cool looking too!
Step 7 – Clean
Coffee itself, being pretty oily and acidic, can leave a lot of residues behind. This remaining can go rancid over time and that can affect the quality of your coffee. Don’t forget that poorly managed equipment will cause your coffee to smell and taste fishy.
Step 8 – Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee
Finally, be creative! There’s a bunch of ways to brew coffee. You can dunk the coffee grounds in water overnight to enjoy a rich and strong cold brew to wake you up in the morning! Dark roasted coffee’s a great choice for cold brew. You can play around with the grind as well. Don’t forget – slight differences in grinds are important! Wrong grind size can make a huge difference in your coffee experience.
Very finely ground coffee can be used to make a top-quality flavored latte. Another magic touch to your already-amazing morning coffee can be adding different ingredients such as sugar, milk, or the best creams for coffee. Some people prefer adding honey instead of sugar. But don’t forget – even though honey is a natural sweetener, coffee with honey contains more calories.
Kona Industry Scams
They say that it is lonely at the top… but that seems to be not so true for Kona coffee. There’re quite a lot of copycats in the market, BUT DON’T BE FOOLED!!! They’re not even close to the quality and you are going to lose both your money and the joy you will get from your coffee. Before you get too anxious … here’re the main scams that you need to be careful about:
Caused by its high quality, the real Kona coffee can be more expensive. That’s the main reason why many brands are producing “Kona blends” to provide more affordable choices for the customers. You may serve your Kona coffee in small cups, the same way Cuban coffee is served in small cups. But let’s mix no Cubans with our Kona. We want pure Kona only!
According to Hawaiian law, any blend labeled as a “Kona blend” must contain at least 10% certified Kona beans. Expectedly, companies that want to raise their profit will not even add one bean more than required. This means around %90 of Kona blends are made out of other low-quality crappy versions of coffee blends that will ruin the real taste of Kona coffee.
On top of this, even with the Hawaiian law, in many countries, the name of the Kona coffee is only used for marketing purposes with only tiny friction of Kona beans are used. Long story short… with the “Kona blend,” you will not be getting much Kona.
Kona Beans That Aren’t From the Kona Region
Coffee beans are grown all over the world. Therefore, it can be hard for most of us to identify one from another. Kona coffee is supposed to be produced with the beans from the Kona region only! The Kona Belt of Hawaii is prized for its excellent micro-climate. However, this doesn’t apply to all of Hawaii. In fact, most other islands of Hawaii are poorly suited for coffee farming.
Always Check the Grade
The grading system created by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDA) is crucial to get the best and the same quality of the coffee.
Do’s and Don’ts With Kona Coffee
- Do use %100 Kona coffee.
- Do grind your own coffee.
- Do use quality water.
- Do store it well.
- Do pay attention to packaging and grading.
- Do have fun with it! Add ingredients and try new techniques.
- Don’t buy blends.
- Don’t use bad quality water.
- Don’t adjust brewing temperature and time.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
Actually, yes, BUT you should never forget to get %100 Kona coffee and read the packaging mindfully. Otherwise, all of your money would go to waste because of scams.
FAQ About Kona Coffee
Which brand of Kona coffee is best?
To put it simply, any brand that sells you %100, single-origin Kona coffee with the approved stamp is the best Kona coffee brand.
What is so special about Kona coffee?
The exotic taste and unique flavor of Kona coffee are what’s so special about it. The particular combination of growing conditions, climate, and soil results in a uniquely flavored coffee bean that coffee lovers absolutely adore.
What is a peaberry Kona coffee?
Known as Type II beans, referring to the cherry with only 1 bean. Among the Kona coffee family, only %5 is Peaberry variety which is blessed with low acid content and full&smooth flavor.
What is the best 100% Kona coffee?
Usually, the best %100 Kona coffee is made from either Extra Fancy Type I beans or Peaberry Kona Number 1.
Is Kona coffee the best in the world?
This is a decision of yours. Yes, Kona coffee is marked to be the best by many coffee experts worldwide, but the world is full of amazing different types of coffee; for example, Costa Rican coffee is full of delicious flavors.
Does Kona coffee have more caffeine?
Kona beans are higher in caffeine with 1.32% caffeine than Zimbabwe and Ethiopian Harrar beans having 1.10% and 1.13%, respectively. If you don’t enjoy consuming caffeine, there are so many high-quality decaf coffee versions out there.
Is Kona coffee cheaper in Hawaii?
It actually is! Well, that makes so much sense considering the amount of shipping cost all around the world.
Can you import Kona coffee from Hawaii?
Yes, you can! In fact, Hawaii is the only place that Kona coffee is produced. There are many options for people who want to import Kona coffee from Hawaii.
Does Starbucks sell Kona Coffee?
Yes! You can go to your local Starbucks and enjoy the glorious taste of Kona coffee. Starbucks announced that they would start selling 100% unique Kona coffee on the 6th of March, 2012
To sum it up, anyone who is curious about the wondrous world of coffee should give Kona coffee a try at least once in their life. We can promise that it won’t disappoint you. Although it is pricey, it will %100 worth all the penny you paid for.
Photos from: shuttersking / depositphotos.com and steveheap / depositphotos.com.