Last Updated on May 23, 2021 by Ed Joven
A Coffee Fanatic?
Do you drink coffee more than water? If so, then I have something Hawaiian for you today. Keep reading to find out.
Are you coffeeholic? Do you feel the day has not begun until you have had your cup of joe? How many cups does it take to meet your caffeine fix? If it’s any less than 20 cups a day, then you can quit reading. Kidding, that’s way too much, but if you are someone who can never get enough of this heavenly beverage, then you have to give Hawaiian Coffee a try.
Hawaii is the only state in the United States that still grows these coffee beans.
You might have heard of Hawaiian coffee or Hawaiian Kona Beans, but most people don’t realize that most of Hawaii is a coffee-growing region. Most of the island coffee farms are divided mostly into two regions: Kona and Ka’u district.
A bit about Kona
Samuel Reverend Ruggles brought the coffee plant to the Kona district from Brazil in 1828. However, after an English merchant named Henry Nicholas Greenwell relocated to the region in the nineteenth century, Kona coffee became a well-known brand. Both the Greenwell Store and Kona Coffee Living History Farm have become historical landmarks ever since.
In 1899 after the world coffee market crashed, the large plantations in most of the Hawaiian Islands were hampered, and the owners leased the land to their laborers, who were mainly from Japan. The tradition of farming in Kona continued, and Filipinos, Europeans, and Americans eventually joined the Japanese. Their Kona Coffee Belt now consists of 800 coffee farms in the north and south Kona district with 2290 acres, making it the largest coffee-growing region in Hawaii.
The farms are all situated either in Hualalai or the Mauna Loa volcanoes. The volcanic soil, rich in minerals and the natural shading from the clouds, makes the climate ideal for growing coffee. The Kona beans’ flavors differ primarily due to different techniques of harvesting, processing, and roasting. Kona is best known for its intense richness of sweet aroma and fruity and nutty taste, making Kona the most famous coffee-growing region in Hawaii.
We can describe Ka’u coffee as grown just on the opposite side of Kona – Ka’u is harvested on the southern side of Mauna Loa, whereas Kona is grown on the western side. As a result, it gets the same rich minerals from the volcanic soil as the Kona coffee. When it comes to taste, Ka’u coffee has a certain smooth quality to it with a floral and nutty essence with hints of brown sugar, citrus, cherry, almonds, strawberries, butter, vanilla, and various spices.
Although both the coffees have similar tastes, coffee farming in Ka’u has started very recently, just after the closing down of sugar plantations compared to the more than a hundred years of coffee growing tradition in Kona. Moreover, the processing of the Ka’u coffee is primarily done in mills in Kona.
Maui coffee is grown in the west Maui mountains, and the way it is grown and harvested is the secret to its rich flavors. Aside from the growing techniques, the rich volcanic soil and harvesting at higher elevations impact the flavor more than you might think! The beans have a rich and sweet taste that is pleasant to the most discerning coffee connoisseur. Maui coffee is also known as the champagne of coffee for its crisp, bright, and sweet flavors and the tasting notes ranging from brown sugar and milk chocolate to citrus and berry. These coffees can be very balanced and mild.
A Few Others worth mentioning
The region of Oahu has only one coffee farm situated at an altitude of 700 feet on an old sugar plantation. There are two other coffees named Kauai coffee and Molokai Coffee which is well known for their mellow and delicate taste.
Why is Hawaiian coffee expensive?
Kona coffee is the most expensive coffee in Hawaii. That is primarily because of the cost of labor. The coffee is handpicked by the farmers most years. Since only the ripest beans are picked for processing, farmers often need to harvest from the same tree multiple times throughout the growing season. Then the beans are separated by grading with many more post grading to come. The larger the bean, the higher the standard. The coffee is then dried, cooked, and packed to be sold.
Other coffee-growing regions have scaled to mass production and use automated processes to shake the coffee trees to harvest the beans. Most growers typically pick a mix of ripe and underripe beans of all sizes in large-scale production. This indiscriminate picking can end up making the brew taste more bitter than the Hawaiian coffee. This processing difference is reflected in the price as well. While most other coffee from different regions of the world range around three cents per pound of coffee, its price is 75-85 cents per pound of handpicked ripe beans in Kona.
Many Kona coffee farmers sell their coffee cherry harvest to Kona processors. However, recent trends indicate that private label small-batch coffee blends are on the rise. That brings in the more intricate tasting unique blends to the market.
There are also “extra fancy” designations given to the Kona coffee crop that is guaranteed to be picked when the bean is the ripest and most flavorful.
Wet-Method Processed – preserved.
Coffee beans are cherry-like fruits. After picking the crop, the cherries are thoroughly pulped to remove the outer flesh. Then they are fermented to give the beans their distinct crisp flavors. Once the fermenting process is done, the beans are given a thorough wash and dried for packaging.
The Department of Agriculture Standards then grades the beans based on the crop’s ripeness and processing. These beans are then sent to roasters for custom blends and roasts.
What’s the hype about?
The coffee trade in Hawaii would not survive without the hype around it. The coffee is sold mainly to tourists at high costs for the expensive coffee trade to continue on the island. However, the price is absolutely worth it.
The careful picking of ripest beans and the labor-intensive wet processing and roasting beans to custom flavors of small-batch coffee are reasons why this premium coffee taste so good!.
A pound of Kona coffee might cost between $30 to $50. Is that coffee 2-3 times as good as coffee from Central Amerinationstion or Ethiopia? That is for the discerning coffee lovers to find out!.
You have to visit Hawaii at least once in your lifetime and taste their beans to discover the brilliance of their coffee.
When you go into a grocery store, it’s fairly normal to look for coffee labeled “Kona blend,” “Kona mix,” or “Kona.” These labels do not specify that coffee must contain 100% Kona beans in order to be classified as 100% Kona.
So, a blend or mix of Kona and other coffee beans will only give you a fraction of the flavors. However, the name Kona on the label allows the roasters to charge a premium price.
Just know that when you drink a coffee labeled “Kona Mix,” – you are likely only getting 90 percent Kona beans.
To get a real Kona coffee, you should seek a label that claims 100% Kona beans. Be prepared to pay an extra premium for 100% pure Kona beans.
How you brew your coffee makes a significant difference in how the cup of joe will taste.
The ideal method to brew coffee is decided by your flavor, strength, and taste preferences. All you’ve got to recollect is that for every technique, you’d want the right grind, water, and the right machine. Once you perfect your technique, you will be on your way to enjoying a perfect cup of coffee with every brew!
Pour Over technique
There are many coffee brewing machines you can use for a pour-over technique. All you need is a dripper and a filter. The filter is placed on the dripper, and you pour over the water evenly. For best results, use a fine grind to get the maximum flavor out of the beans.
A French press technique uses a plunger method. You simply add roughly ground beans and hot water and let the coffee steep for a few minutes. Then slowly press down the plunger to separate the grounds from the brew and pour yourself the resulting rich brew.
Unlike paper-filtered coffee, this brew retains all the oils that add to the perfect flavor profile. The strength of the coffee depends on how long you let the coffee steep before pouring.
Kona coffee from Hawaii is by far one of the best coffees you will ever taste. So, get yourself a nice bag of Kona beans and savor the complex flavors. Be warned this expensive bean might ruin the rest of your coffee collection!
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