Genuine Hawaiian Kona coffee is grown in only one place in the world, in the Kona districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. The mostly small, family farms are situated on the slopes of the active volcanoes Hualalai and Mauna Kea. The unique climatic and soil conditions present in the Kona district allow the coffee plants to mature slowly and produce a denser, more flavorful bean.
The volcanic slopes that make the Kona region ideal for growing coffee also make it extremely difficult to harvest with machines. For this reason, real Kona coffees are hand-picked, which allows harvesters to select only perfectly ripe coffee cherries. Without the need to harvest mechanically, Kona coffee cherries are individually selected for ripeness, leading to a product of exceptional quality and one of a kind flavor.
Kona coffee beans are graded by the government of Hawaii. Coffee cherries typically produce two beans, flat on one side and rounded on the other. Occasionally, a cherry will produce a single small, “pea” shaped bean. Coffee produced from this rare bean, known as a “Peaberry” is more robust and highly valued. Other Kona coffee grades include “Extra Fancy,” “Fancy,” Number 1,”“Select,” and “Prime.” The coffees are graded on the shape and size of the beans and any defects present. “Extra Fancy” beans are the largest and have the fewest defects, producing the fullest flavor.
Because of the unique challenges in growing and harvesting coffee in the Kona districts of Hawaii, as well as the exceptional quality that results from hand-picking, you should expect to pay more for genuine Kona coffee than you would for your generic blends. With a limited supply, labor intensive harvesting, and workers that are paid a livable wage, Kona coffee costs more to produce than factory farmed coffees. However, when you indulge in that first sip of real Kona coffee, you will know that the experience of drinking genuine Kona coffee is worth every penny.
The Hawaii Shop ships Hawaiian Kona Coffee worldwide for reasonable prices.