“All About Kona Coffee Beans” courtesy of your online coffee bean store; Gourmet Coffee Beans
Kona coffee is a gourmet coffee that is grown on the slopes of Mount Loa and Mount Hualalai found in the South and North Kona districts of Hawaii. Over the years this coffee has developed in to one of the most expensive and most sought after gourmet coffee of the world. Kona coffee is specific to the Hawaiian coffee bean grown in the Kona districts alone. Only this Hawaiian coffee bean can be legally called ‘Kona’ coffee. Given the great weather pattern in Kona of sunny mornings that are nice and bright followed by rainy and humid afternoons and mild nights it is no wonder that this is the best coffee in the world as these weather conditions are very favourable for growing coffee. In 1829, Samuel Reverend Ruggles brought the first coffee plant cuttings to Kona from Brazil. However, it was quite later in the century that it turned into a worthwhile and consistent crop. Hawaiian farmers chose large plantations to cultivate this coffee bean, but in 1899 when the world coffee market crashed it caused the plantation owners to lease their land out to the workers on that land. These workers were originally Japanese and were brought in to tend and harvest the sugar cane. They then worked on their leased land of 5 – 12 acres as family concerns and started producing large coffee crops that were of a very high quality. This tradition of family farms has remained largely in effect in and throughout Kona. The families of Japanese origin were joined by Filipinos, Europeans and mainland Americans. Today, there are an approximate 800 farms growing gourmet Kona coffee beans. The average Kona coffee farm size is less than 5 acres. In the year 1997 the total area of Kona coffee cultivation was 2290 acres. The green coffee production was over a whopping 2 million pounds. February and March are the blooming months for Kona coffee. Small white flowers fill the tree in what is referred to as Kona Snow. In April, green coloured berries start to appear and by the time it is late August red fruit ripens for picking. Each tree is handpicked many times through August and January. The result is 20 – 30 pounds of fresh Kona coffee beans. A common method of preparing the coffee beans is to rinse the beans and spread them out on a drying rack for a span of 7-14 days. They are then stored on parchment and milled off the green bean before roasting. 7-9 pounds of red fruit is needed to make a pound of roasted coasted coffee beans. Because Kona coffee is rare and expensive some sellers refer to it as Kona Blends. This is just a blend of Kona coffee with Brazilian coffee or Colombian coffee. There is usually only 10% of Kona coffee in these Kona Blends. To be called original Kona coffee the labelling laws of Hawaii require the words 100% pure Kona coffee’ to be displayed on the pack prominently.