Talk Kona Coffee Story
About Kona Coffee Beans
Bees are necessary for Kona Coffee flowers to become the Kona coffee cherry. Kona Coffee is the market name for the coffee cultivated on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa Kona belt districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. Only coffee from the Kona Coffee Belt, a 30 miles long and 2 miles wide, is considered Kona Coffee.
Coffee cherries need a balance of sun-shade, volcanic nurturance, and tropical humidity. Therefore coffee trees produce only in limited locations around the world. The Kona environment is a balance of bright sunny mornings, humid rainy afternoons, and mild warm nights which create fantastic coffee bean size and flavor. It is considered one of the premium coffees of all the world’s Islands.
100% Kona Coffee History
Coffee carried to Kona in the 19th century by Samuel Ruggles from Brazil, Later in the same century Kona Coffee’s value became apparent. Large plantations paved the way, then a crash of world coffee markets in 1899 caused plantation owners lease land for survival. Workers from Japan bought leases to harvest sugar cane. They worked their leased land as a family producing large, quality cane crops.
The Japanese tradition of running family farms in Japan continued throughout the Kona Coffee Belt. The families of Japanese origin have been joined by Europeans. There are now hundreds of Kona coffee farms, with an average farm size of less than 7 acres. In 1997 two million pounds green coffee beans were produced.
How Kona Coffee Beans Grow
Kona coffee blooms in February through March. Kona trees have white flowers that cover them and they are affectionately known as “Kona Snow”. Berries appear on the trees in April. August heat ripens the “Kona Coffee Cherry” for hand picking. Each tree will provide around 20 pounds of hand-picked cherries between August and January of each Kona cycle.
The Kona cherry is then run through a machine, to remove from the pulp from beans, fermented overnight. The coffee beans are rinsed, drained and spread to dry on a “hoshidana” or drying deck. Traditional hoshidanas have a rolling roof to cover the beans in the event of rain. Best is about 10 days to evaporate moisture level of coffee beans to 13%. Beans are stored as “pergamino” or parchment. The parchment is left on the green coffee bean till roasted. It takes seven pounds of green Kona coffee beans to make one pound of roasted Kona coffee.
The Best Kona Coffee Beans are classified
Kona coffee beans are classified based on the size and shape. The standard class beans consist of 2 beans per cherry, flat on one side and rounded on the other. The top class called a Peaberry Bean which consist of one round bean per cherry and are very rare. The further grading of these two beans types depends on moisture content, consistency of the bean. The standard Kona coffee beans are; Kona Extra fancy; Kona fancy; Kona Number 1; and, Kona Prime.
Best of Kona Coffee Blends
Because kona coffee is rare, some retailers sell a blend of Kona coffee. These blends are not a combination of different Kona coffees but rather a blend of Kona and high quality Columbian or Brazilian beans. These blends usually contain less Kona coffee and more of other slightly inferior beans. Buying your coffee from Gourmet Kona Coffee Company insures fresh coffee beans and ground Kona coffee right at your doorstep!