All About Kona coffee – History, Origin & Many More

If you are a coffee lover, there are chances that you’ve heard of Kona coffee. You are at the right place to learn more about Kona coffee and its specifications.

Being one of the most expensive coffee beans in the market, Kona coffee is one of the most prominent products from Hawaii, after macadamia nuts and pineapples. You might be wondering what makes Kona coffee so special. Let’s dig in!

The Roots Of Kona Coffee

Generally, all kinds of Kona coffee are grown on the Big Island of Hawaii. The coffee plants are usually planted on the slopes of the Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Along with the climate perfect for coffee growing, the volcanic soil is loaded with nutrients that make the Kona coffee culture the best.

The name of the coffee is pretty self-explanatory. To be the best Kona coffee beans, they must be grown in a specific region in Kona, which is hardly 30 miles long and one mile wide.

It is this rarity of the geographical space that makes Kona coffee so special among coffee lovers. It is shocking that such a popular coffee bean nonetheless only constitutes 1% of the coffee the world’s population consumes.

Kona coffee is a rare type of coffee with a unique taste. It comes with a high price point because it is known for its distinctive flavor globally.

History Of Kona Coffee

The history of this unique coffee begins with Samuel Ruggles who brought some coffee plants to the Hawaii region for the first time in 1828. Although Don Francisco de Paula Marin is the first person to have tried cultivating coffee in 1817, he was unsuccessful.

In the 1850s, the coffee plantations of this region flourished until the constant problems with the weather, labor, and pest almost vanished the coffee cultivation. Even after Henry N. Greenwell brought Kona coffee to the World’s Fair in Vienna in 1873, it took several years for its popularity to grow.

Only after 1892 when Herman Weidman brought Guatemalan coffee to the Kona region, did it start to acquire the due reputation. Currently, it is one of the most prominent coffees in Hawaii, and it is also known as Kona Typica, continuing the demand and production until 1899 after which the prices dropped gradually, and the loss of income led to the crop slowly dying out.

Again the demand for coffee increased in 1917 with World War One, especially because Brazil, where most of the coffee was typically grown, faced a devastating frost. After that, Hawaii became the alternative place to get good coffee beans.

Just as things were falling in place, the coffee prices again bottomed with the Great Depression in 1929.  Again with the beginning of the Second World War, the popularity of Hawaiian coffee returned. It also led to an increase in prices after the war ended.

With plenty of labor resources and an increasingly growing tourism industry for coffee in Hawaii, its popularity grew gradually through the 1960s. Finally, almost a century after Kona coffee was first grown, the crop rebounded with the price increases as there were several coffee farmers. This is how Kona coffee took off as one of the most sophisticated coffee beans.

Basics About The Kona Coffee Bean Type

Kona coffee falls under the variety of Arabica coffee beans, generally quite flavorful. The Coffea Arabica plant is one of the most prominent plants available widely globally. The Hawaiian location of the Kona coffee helps to bring out the flavors of the arabica bean that also adds an exceptional coffee taste.

There is no one roast that you get with Kona coffee. With other types of beans, you can roast them to different levels to get the flavor you want.

You can find light roast, dark roast, and complete roast. Light roast Kona will give you a natural flavor. On the flip side, dark roast Kona will provide you with less of the natural flavors and oils from the beans. You will get more of the roasted flavor instead of the natural ones.

What Is The Taste Of Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is savored globally for its exceptional taste. The bright and sweet taste of the Kona Coffee strikes a perfect balance of sweetness and citrus acidity. Alongside, the fruity sweetness of the coffee, the aftertaste of the roast provides a distinctive flavor to it.

Furthermore, you need to know that not all Kona coffee tastes the same as you will find differences in each batch. They are made with different beans, and they are also roasted in different ways. The specific elements of soil fertilizer, watering, and drainage also influence how the coffee will taste. Kona coffee is relatively light and delicate, having a softer finish. With the balance of various tastes and undertones, it possesses an extraordinary level of richness.

Is Kona Coffee Only Available in Hawaii?

The actual Kona coffee is only available in Hawaii, especially in the Kona region from which the coffee gets its name. Kona coffee is found in at least six square miles of the area on the Kona coffee belt. However, it makes up only one fraction of the belt. You should be careful with the Kona coffee blends available in your local stores as they mostly have very low levels of Kona Coffee beans in them.

I'm a coffee lover, foodie, and blogger - passionate about coffee and all the things that go with it. I write about coffee, and news, learn about new coffees from across the world, do some home roasting, and share my thoughts on various other topics.

Leave a Comment