What is Kona Coffee? And What’s The Big Deal?

by Kieran MacRae | Last Updated: May 20, 2021

Kona Coffee, a name that can spark desire in the hearts of any coffee enthusiast, it’s expensive so it’s got to be the best right?

But what is it? And why is it so expensive?

Kona coffee is coffee that’s grown in the Kona belt on the big island in Hawaii, just like champagne has to be from the champagne region, Kona coffee has to be from the Kona region.

Now, this coffee belt is only 20 miles long and about 2 miles wide so that is really not a lot of room, if you want to grow coffee there you’re going to need to already be growing coffee there or you’ll need to try and convince a 3rd generation coffee farmer to sell you there farm which probably won’t be easy!

I think this has a lot to do with the high price because don’t get me wrong the coffee itself is absolutely delicious, it is undoubtedly some of the best in the world, but it’s also grown in this tiny region and can’t be grown anywhere else.

Is Kona Coffee Worth It

It really depends on the type of coffee drinker you are, for instance for me it would absolutely be worth the big ole price tag to get to try some, it wouldn’t be just the coffee I drank but it would definitely be something I would pay to try.

And even then I don’t think I have the coffee palate to appreciate it properly.

But if a cup of coffee to you is a nice treat, you like a fresh coffee much better than an instant coffee but beyond that, it’s all just good coffee. In that case, it probably isn’t worth it, just stick to fresh coffee you can get anywhere.

For the coffee enthusiast however it’s definitely a try before you die coffee, a cup definitely worth having even if you have to go to Hawaii to get a taster at a local farm!

Growing Conditions

The landscape of Hawaii - The home of Kona coffee

Hawaii is a tropical paradise, it’s absolutely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the privilege to go.

Apart from making it a tourist magnet this also makes certain regions of Hawaii perfect for growing coffee.

For how easy it is to get a coffee pretty much anywhere in the world, it is surprisingly difficult to grow. The Kona farms are located between altitudes of 1,000 to 3,500 feet above sea level on the seaside on the mountains they’re on.

Couple this with the volcanic soil that is positively packed with nutrients, the balance of sunshine and rain, and all sorts of other agricultural needs that you don’t need to know about, you get the perfect growing conditions for coffee.

And with the perfect growing conditions, a whole lot of love and care, and you get some pretty spectacular coffee.

A word on Peaberry Kona Coffee

A quick background on growing coffee but basically coffee grows inside a “cherry” and two coffee beans are in every cherry that then gets washed and prepared.

But sometimes you open up a cherry and you get a single coffee bean inside, this single bean is a sort of “supercharged” coffee bean that has double the nutrients of a single bean without being twice the size.

And these get separated from the rest of the coffee and sold separately for an even higher price because of their, even more, superior taste.

These are of course in short supply which hikes up the price again, but if you’re lucky enough to come across some Peaberry Kona coffee then you should definitely pick it up, that’s something special and is going to make a really great cup of coffee.

How Much Does Kona Coffee Cost

The prices vary a whole lot, usually on an auction basis for each farm’s own coffee and that goes by the scores given when a tasting happens.

Generally 100% Kona coffee costs $8-$65 per pound retail. That’s for low quality, all the way up to the highest quality Peaberry coffee.

coffee beans spilling out of a jar

Although, this is for 100% Kona Coffee, which you need to look for on the bag because regulators have allowed coffee brands to use the term Kona Coffee when the bag only contains 10% actual Kona Coffee.

And some people try to get around this by talking about Kona Roast, or Kona Style coffee, all of which is nonsense and is just marketers trying to get you to buy their coffee even though a single coffee bean could never have touched Hawaiin soil.

Final Thoughts

Kona coffee is something special in the coffee world, and because of its limited supply as well as superb taste. It’s no wonder.

If you are really into coffee then you should definitely get yourself a cup if you ever see it for sale in a Cafe. Or if you come across any in a shop and it’s clearly labeled 100% Kona coffee then you definitely need to get a bag to try.

And if you do come back and tell me what you think!

Kieran MacRae tried getting into wine but didn’t like it, tried getting into whiskey and it was too expensive, then thought “I really love coffee. I wonder if you can get really into coffee?” Turns out you can!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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