If you love coffee as much as I do, then you probably enjoy discovering a new variety that you really enjoy. It’s very satisfying when you hit on a special flavor that suits your tastes perfectly, and there are enough varieties around the world that could keep you busy tasting for several lifetimes. Let me introduce you to my very favorite coffee bean – Kona from Hawaii – which I highly recommend.
You may think that you’ve already tried Kona coffee, but let me warn you of something. It’s fairly easy to find coffee with the word “Kona” featured prominently on the label. However, look closely and you’ll probably find that it’s actually a blend of beans – sometimes containing as little as 10% actual Kona coffee beans. The rest are usually lower quality varieties from Brazil or Central America. In fact, the USA’s federal law does not require labels to specify the proportions, but Hawaii’s state laws do. So you may have to do a little investigating to find 100% Kona beans, but believe me, it’s worth the extra effort.
To be correctly called Kona coffee, the beans must have been grown in the Kona Districts of Hawaii, specifically on Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa. This beautiful area on the Big Island has the perfect climate for growing these delectable beans: bright, sunny mornings, rainy afternoons, and mild, cool evenings. This type of climate is not found in many places of the world, and these conditions are what make this variety rare and unique.
There are two types of Kona beans. The first type is more common, from cherries that produce two beans. These are the coffee beans that most people are used to seeing, with one rounded side and one flat side where the two cherries pressed against each other as they formed. This type of Kona beans includes Kona fancy, Kona extra fancy, Kona Number 1, and Kona prime.
The second type of Kona bean, the peaberry, is more rare. When the cherry only contains one coffee bean instead of two, this is referred to as a peaberry. Some people believe that peaberry coffee beans are more flavorful than their more common double-bean counterparts because the single bean doesn’t share components with a “twin”. Whether that’s true or not is up to you to decide. Look for Kona peaberry number 1 and Kona peaberry prime to see for yourself.
No matter how or where you try your first cup of Kona, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy this unique, and flavorful bean.