Coffee can be confusing. They are grown in different regions. Beans have varying flavours and aroma depending on their origin and roasting. The way they are processed will also affect their quality. Among others, one of the types of coffee that you should know of is Kona. In case you are wondering what is the famous Kona coffee, read this post and we will have the answer for you. By the time you are finished reading, you will know why it is considered as a gold standard and why it is chosen even by discerning coffee enthusiasts.
Famous Kona Coffee – What Exactly Is It?
Coffee can be called Kona only if it is grown in Hawaii, specifically in the Kona region. If it is grown outside South and North Kona, it cannot be called Kona coffee. In this region, it is estimated that there are about 600 small and independent farms. The usual size is three to seven acres. Cultivation of coffee in Kona is believed to be more labour-intensive, especially because farmers are hand-picking the beans.
Processing of Kona coffee usually takes place anywhere from late August to late January. During such time, farmers will focus on picking the best berries that are available to process them into coffee. The cherries are then peeled and fermented. They undergo a wet method process, and after which, the cherries are sun-dried. They are also raked every now and then, making sure that they will be dried evenly on all sides.
When buying Kona coffee, make sure that the label says 100% Kona Coffee. There are some products that are labelled as Kona blends, which are obviously cheaper. The latter contains only about 10% Kona coffee beans, which is why quality can be inferior. Check the label and see to it that you will be getting the value for your money!
Famous Kona Coffee – Characteristics
One of the defining characteristics of Kona coffee is the altitude at which it is cultivated. In the case of most types of coffee, they are grown at an altitude of up to 5,000 feet. With Kona coffee, on the other hand, the altitude usually ranges from 800 to 2,300 feet. This allows the coffee to be covered by clouds in the afternoon, providing protection from the harsh heat of the sun.
Another thing that makes Kona coffee unique is that it is grown in the absence of using pesticides or any other harsh chemicals. A compost is used, which is usually made of a combination of coffee husks, cherry skins, and seaweed. There are also animals roaming the farm and their manure contributes to the fertilizer.
Famous Kona Coffee – History
It was around 1828 when the first coffee was planted in Kona by Reverend Samuel Ruggles, a missionary. However, it was not a success story at first. One of the biggest problems was the infestation caused by white scales, which limited the yield. The land has also been converted into a sugar plantation, which is why the coffee industry did not initially prosper.
In the 1850s, coffee was back in the picture and this is also believed to be the point in history wherein the peak was reached. Ladybugs have been introduced, which put an end to the infestation caused by white scale. There have also been notable improvements in coffee growing methods.
It was also in the 1850s when Henry Nicholas Greenwell arrived in Kona. He bought a piece of land and made coffee one of its main crops. In a fair in Vienna, he brought coffee from Kona and it won an award. This is the first time Kona coffee was exposed to the world and has been recognized.
The following years, Kona coffee suffered from setbacks. In 1899, an economic crash presented a huge challenge in its cultivation. In the 1930s, due to the Great Depression, its price crashed. Nonetheless, some good things also happened, such as entry of more Filipinos to work in coffee farms and the introduction of coffee imported from Guatemala.
Today, most of the Kona coffee is grown in a land by the Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate. Income that is generated from the land goes to the financial support of schools in Hawaii. With this, if you buy 100% Kona coffee, you are not only supporting local farmers, but you are also supporting the education of the members of the local community.
Famous Kona Coffee – Conclusion
At this point, I hope that you are no longer wondering what is Kona coffee. In a nutshell, it is a type of coffee that is grown exclusively in the Kona region in Hawaii. It might come with a premium price tag, but such is sure to be worth it gave the fact that the quality is also premium.
Have you tried Kona coffee before? Did you like it? Let us know by leaving a comment below.