Kona coffee is the name of a very special arabica coffee grown on the slopes of Hualalai Mount and Mauna Loa Mount in Kona District on Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Like Jamaica blue mountain coffee, Kona coffee is a single estate coffee mainly grown in isolated mountains.
What’s special about Kona coffee?
Kona is a district located on the volcanic island of Hawaii. Coffee in here is cultivated only on the sides of the two mountains, where have the rich volcanic soil which is very ideal for coffee trees. The weather featured by sunny morning, cloudy or rainy afternoon and light wind also creates very favorable conditions for coffees. Especially, absorbing the abundant minerals and nutrients from volcanic soil makes Kona’s coffee beans in here very distinctive from others.
Not all coffees from Hawaii are called Kona. Only coffee planted in the North and the South districts of Kona on Big Island of Hawaii is called “Kona coffee”. This coffee is also taken care in a very typical condition. The time for growing and harvesting has to be punctual or if not, coffee will not be the best. They have to bloom in February and March. In April, it will develop the green berries. By August, the green berries will turn into red cherries and ready to be harvested.
Kona processing and roast.
The processing of Kona coffee is very important in deciding coffee flavors. Within 24 hours of being picked from coffee trees (must be hand-picked), the fresh cherries have to be pulped in machine to separate the beans. These beans are then place in a fermentation tank for 12 to 24 hours. After that, they will be brought to sun-dried on large decks (natively called hoshidanas). The time for drying should be 7 to 14 days to take all the moisture out of the beans.
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Roasting is considered as an art work because different ways of roasting Kona coffees can create different flavors for its coffee. Coffee can be roasted at a high temperature which is called dark roast or fairly hard called medium roast. Flavoring is processed after roasting for the best absorption.
Because of the limited quantity, it is really difficult to buy a genuine Kona made coffee. That’s why we have Kona blend. It is the mixture of a lot of different coffee, including about 10% to 20% of Kona coffee. The mixture contains lower grade beans from Brazil, Central America, Africa and Indonesia.
Kona grading system.
What a so-called “Kona grading system” is the classification of Kona coffee based on different specifications including coffee bean’s sizes and shapes and the number of defects it contains.
Coffee beans are divided into 2 main types. Type I or first grade contains two beans per cherry, flat on one side, oval on the other side. Type II or second grade consists of one bean per cherry which is called “peaberry” or one-seeded bean. Type I is graded into ‘Kona Extra Fancy’, ‘Kona Fancy’, ‘Kona Number 1’, ‘Kona Select’, and ‘Kona Prime’. Meanwhile, the grading of type II are ‘Peaberry Number 1’ and ‘Peaberry Prime’.
Kona coffee is not only an aromatic coffee type but the island on Hawaii is also a very special tourist site where you can visit wonderful landscapes and endless green coffee farms as well as discover the unique method of cultivating and processing coffee.
To sum up, Kona has already been as a rising specialty coffee among other ones such as Jamaica blue mountain, Sumatra, Java, Chieng Ban, Cau Dat, etc. In fact, Kona is a single estate coffee from Hawaii, America. It possesses premium and extraordinary quality of a coffee specialty. Kona coffee is so famous that its different blending with other beans from other origins can be sold at a high price. Kona coffee itself with 100% originally genuine blending is very scarce and expensive.