If you’re looking for a great coffee to enjoy for a relaxing break, you’re certainly not short on options these days. Even at the highest end of the quality scale, there are hundreds of different coffees doing the rounds that are all worth trying out.
But when our customers ask us to narrow things down, there’s one coffee we never hesitate to recommend - Kona coffee.
Kona coffee – certainly all the Kona coffee we stock - is considered superior because of the climate in which it is grown, the care taken during its cultivation and the wet-method processing used in its production.
Just as is the case with the most outstanding quality wines, the very best Kona coffee excels beyond just about any commercial coffee due to the care and attention going into its production. In return, what’s produced is a unique, rich and flavourful coffee that has become a staple for connoisseurs all over the world. Kona coffee has a tendency to be more expensive than many comparable products, but the simple fact of the matter is you cannot put a price on this kind of quality or exclusivity.
One of the main reasons why Kona coffee is so exclusive and revered is the way in which it is exclusively grown in one comparatively small region. These incredible coffee beans thrive on the dark volcanic lava rock slopes of Kona, a district in the Big Island of Hawaii, where the unique soil and climate conditions produce a coffee that’s unlike any other. As anyone who’s ever sampled it will know, Kona coffee is characterised by exceptional richness, balanced acidity and a medium body, coupled with notes of red wine and a lingering spicy aftertaste.
The Kona coffee region has been producing this outstanding coffee for around two centuries, with various producers on a global basis having attempted in vain to replicate the flavour and prestige of Kona coffee. However, if it isn’t grown and produced in this one region, it cannot be labelled genuine Kona coffee.
It’s not just the perfect conditions of the region that contribute to the quality and exclusivity of Kona coffee. Instead, it’s the way in which the vast majority of the independent coffee farms across the region are small, family-owned and follow the same cultivation and production processes that have been used for generations. Over the course of the average year, no more than around two million pounds of Kona coffee are produced in total – an incredibly small quantity when compared to any standard commercial coffee producer.
Cultivating and processing Kona coffee is significantly more labour intensive and precise than with most other types of coffee. Between late August and late January, the farms focus heavily on picking and processing ripe red coffee cherries, in order to produce the coffee beans to then be sold or stored. While most coffee farms have for decades now relied on automated picking machinery, Kona coffee is picked exclusively by hand. This enables the farmers to meticulously check each and every cherry for both ripeness and quality, ensuring that only those at their absolute peak of ripeness are selected.
Something else that gives Kona coffee its legendary status and quality is the way in which the coffee cherries undergo wet-method processing, after which they are naturally dried on large decks using sunlight. There is an extensive process of inspecting and verifying the quality of the beans by hand, before Kona coffee is considered suitable for sale or storage.
Owning and operating independent family farms has been an important tradition across the Kona region for hundreds of years. While many new families and businesses from a variety of countries have moved into the area, the traditional methods by which Kona coffee are produced have remained unchanged. Those who produce Kona coffee have just as much regard for both the environment and those they employ as they do for the quality of the coffee they produce. Once again, unless the coffee is produced in accordance with strict guidelines in this one region alone, it cannot be considered Kona coffee.
The way we see it, Kona coffee is exactly the kind of coffee that makes for a simply gorgeous everyday indulgence. It’s not the type of coffee you simply throw down in seconds as part of a busy working schedule. But when it comes to those relaxing breaks when you really have the time to appreciate what’s in your cup, there are few better coffees out there than the Hawaii Kona.
If you’re yet to dive into the world of true gourmet coffees the likes of which connoisseurs swear by, Kona coffee is definitely a good place to start.
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