Our world is unfair, some places are blessed with a great weather, beautiful landscapes, a good quality of life and one of the most amazing coffee beans in the world. I am obviously talking about Hawaii and their Kona Coffee beans. While i write this post, i am in London, drinking a tasteless watery Americano coffee in one of London’s too-expensive-for-what-it-is coffee shop, and yes it is a cold and rainy outside.
Kona Coffee, Hawaii’s most prized beans:
The origin of Kona Coffee goes back to 1828, when Samuel Ruggles, an American missionary, brought and planted the first coffee trees in the region. Almost two centuries later his legacy lives on.
In order to be named Kona Coffee, the beans have to be produced in the soil of the Kona region. Kona is a district of the Big Island of Hawaii; It is a famous place to visit to swim with dolphins, snorkel to see manta rays and drink one of the best coffee in the world: Kona Coffee.
The Kona region is blessed with an ideal environment to grow coffee beans; The volcanic elevated rich soil and the tropical climate are a perfect combination to produce beans of exceptional quality.
In addition to that, Kona Coffee is more than just a blessing of nature. It is a tradition passed from generation to generation and thankfully, most of the lands producing Kona Coffee are still owned by local.
Harvesting Kona beans is a fastidious and long process where the producer will meticulously handpick coffee beans once they have reached their full potential. It is an artisanal work of passion and experience.
Hawaiian Kona coffee represents approximately 95% of the production of Coffee in Hawaii’s big island. If you are lucky enough to travel to Hawaii, some of the original plantations such as the Famous Greenwell Farms are still open for visit.
A unique Taste:
Over the years i have tried many varieties of Kona Coffee prepared with different brewing techniques. Each time it was a different yet delicious experience. Without sounding too pompous i consider Coffee a bit like Cigar. When you light your favourite cigar you know what to expect in terms of flavours and aromatic notes, however each cigar remains unique; The core of the flavour is here, but there are always subtle variations creating a unique experience. Kona coffee is the same. While tasting this coffee there is a distinct fil conducteur. Also, the complexity of this coffee makes the experience unique every time.
In terms of taste, it is always subjective to describe Kona Coffee. My own appreciation is the following: Kona coffee has a distinctive flavour with a hint of chocolate, hazelnut and sometimes berries. It is a smooth coffee, aromatic, i would describe it as medium bodied. Kona Coffee is easy to drink, especially for people who do not like their coffee too strong.
One thing to keep in mind, just because you buy premium coffee does not mean you need a thousand pounds super expensive espresso machine to savour your Coffee (Don’t believe the hype). As long as the beans are freshly grounded, you can brew your coffee with a £30 quid Chemex coffee maker or an even cheaper Hario V60, it won’t make a major difference.
One last thing, Kona-sceptics often say that Kona Coffee is overpriced for what it is. It is arguable, however, Kona Coffee should be considered as an exceptional treat and not something you would drink every morning (unless your bank account allows you to do so).
Where to order Kona Coffee?
In Hawaii obviously, and during the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival so you can indulge in gallons of the tastiest caffein fix while working on your tan. Wait, what do you mean you can’t afford a thousand pounds, twenty hours flight just to drink coffee?
Ok so for those of you who aren’t on the American Express Centurion black card scheme, We still have a few options to get Kona Coffee.
Order fresh Kona beans from one of many coffee specialists. I usually order from these:
- Greenwell Farms (Hawaii)
- Honolulu Coffee (Hawaii)
- Coffee-direct.co.uk (UK)
- Coffeebeanshop.co.uk (UK)
When looking for Kona Coffee beans, make sure that the coffee you order is 100% Kona Coffee. Some distributors sell a blend of Kona Coffee and other beans grown in Hawaii, you will be paying a premium for a poorer quality. If you really want to treat yourself the best thing is to contact local producers (they often have dedicated website); However, note that the price is usually pretty expensive and it can turn your coffee tasting a bit sour ;-).
Also, if you are around London you can visit Island Poke an Hawaiin Poke bowl restaurant and one of the few places in Europe serving fresh Kona Coffee.
You are drinking too much Coffee and want to know how i gave up coffee for a month? Read this article