Kona Coffees. Kona кофе

Kona coffee - Wikipedia

Kona coffee is the market name for coffee (Coffea arabica) cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Only coffee from the Kona Districts can be described as "Kona". The weather of sunny mornings, cloud or rain in the afternoon, little wind, and mild nights combined with porous, mineral-rich volcanic soil create favorable coffee growing conditions. The loanword for coffee in the Hawaiian language is kope, pronounced [ˈkope].[1]


Samuel Ruggles brought coffee to the Kona District in 1828

The coffee plant was brought to the Kona district in 1828 by Samuel Reverend Ruggles from Brazilian cuttings.[2]:9 English merchant Henry Nicholas Greenwell moved to the area and established Kona coffee as a recognized brand later in the 19th century. The former Greenwell Store and Kona Coffee Living History Farm have since become museums.[3]

In other parts of the Hawaiian islands, it was grown on large plantations, but the 1899 world coffee market crash caused plantation owners to lease land to their workers.[2]:70 Most were from Japan, brought to work on sugarcane plantations. They worked their leased parcels of between 5 and 12 acres (49,000 m2) as family concerns, producing large, quality crops.

The tradition of family farms continued throughout Kona. The Japanese-origin families have been joined by Filipinos, mainland Americans, and Europeans. There are approximately 800 Kona coffee farms, with an average size of less than 5 acres (20,000 m2). In 1997 the total Kona coffee area was 2,290 acres (9 km2) and green coffee production just over two million pounds.

Growing and processing[edit]

Kona coffee blooms in February and March. Small white flowers known as "Kona snow" cover the tree. Green berries appear in April. By late August, red fruit, called "cherry" because of resemblance to a cherry, start to ripen for picking. Each tree, hand-picked several times between August and January, provides around 15 pounds of cherry, which result in about two pounds of roasted coffee.

Within 24 hours of picking, the cherry is run through a pulper. The beans are separated from the pulp and then placed overnight in a fermentation tank. The fermentation time is about 12 hours at low elevation or 24 at higher elevation. The beans are rinsed and spread to dry on a hoshidana or drying rack. Traditional hoshidanas have a rolling roof to cover the beans in rain. It takes seven to 14 days to dry beans to an optimal moisture level of between 10 and 13% (by Hawaii Department of Agriculture regulations: 9.0-12.0%). Too much moisture content in coffee allows the growth of ochratoxin A, a harmful mycotoxin, hazardous to human health.[4] From here, the beans are stored as "pergamino" or parchment. The parchment is milled off the green bean prior to roasting or wholesale.

Kona coffee beans are classified by law according to seed.[5] Type I beans consist of two beans per cherry, flat on one side, oval on the other. Type II beans consist of one round bean per cherry, otherwise known as peaberries. Further grading of these two types of beans depends on size, moisture content, and purity of bean type. The grades of type I Kona coffee are 'Kona Extra Fancy', 'Kona Fancy', 'Kona Number 1', 'Kona Select', and 'Kona Prime'. The grades of type II Kona coffee are 'Peaberry Number 1' and 'Peaberry Prime'. Also, a lower grade of coffee, called 'Number 3' (or 'Triple X') can not legally be labeled as "Kona" but as 'Hawaiian' coffee. Any bean grade below Number 3 is considered 'Offgrade' coffee and can only be labeled as generic coffee. Not an official classification grade, but commonly used by Kona coffee farmers, is the 'Estate' grade where the various grades are not being separated from each other. Only the 'Number 3' and 'Offgrade' beans are being sorted out.

Infestations of the root-knot nematode damaged many trees in the Kona districts in the 1990s. Symptoms are single or clusters of trees with stunted growth, especially when transplanted.[6] In 2001 rootstock from the Coffea liberica species was found to be resistant to the nematodes. It could be grafted with Coffea arabica 'Guatemala' variety to produce a plant that naturally resists the pest, still producing a quality coffee product. The combination was named after Edward T. Fukunaga (1910–1984), who was superintendent of the University of Hawaii's Kona Research Station in Kainaliu in the 1950s through the 1970s.[7]

Kona blends[edit]

Because of the rarity and price of Kona coffee, some retailers sell "Kona Blends". These are not a combination of different Kona coffees, but a blend of Kona and Colombian, Brazilian, or other foreign coffees. Usually they contain only the minimum required 10% Kona coffee and 90% cheaper imported beans.

Current Hawaiian law requires blends to state only the percentage of Kona coffee on the label but not any other coffee origins. There is no matching Federal law. Some retailers use terms such as 'Kona Roast' or 'Kona Style'. To be considered authentic Kona coffee, the state of Hawaii's labeling laws require the prominent display of the words "100% Kona Coffee".

In 1993 the Kona Coffee Council, a regional coffee growers association, tried unsuccessfully to protect the name "Kona Coffee" by trademarking their logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They were opposed by Kona Kai Farms, Inc, Captain Cook Coffee Co., Hawaiian Isles Enterprises, and Hawaii Coffee Company. In 2000 the Department of Agriculture of the State of Hawaii registered a "100% Kona Coffee" certification mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.[8] Administration in regard to this certification mark was handed over by the State Department of Agriculture to the Hawaii Coffee Company, part of Topa Equities Ltd, based in Los Angeles.

Recent developments[edit]

In the 1990s, a company called Kona Kai Farms, in Berkeley, California, was sued on behalf of Kona coffee growers. In October 1996, federal officials in San Francisco indicted Kona Kai Farms executive Michael Norton on wire fraud and money laundering charges. He was found to have put Central American coffee into bags with labels indicating it was Kona coffee since 1993.[9] In 2000 Michael Norton pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion.[4][10] In 2007 his two sons were arrested in a multimillion-dollar medical marijuana scam.[11]

Some Kona farms have become successful tourist attractions. Although some roadside stands are allowed with special permits, large gift shops at some areas that are zoned agricultural have met local resistance.[12]

Former Mayor of Hawaii County Stephen Yamashiro, who served from 1992 to 2000, is credited with introducing the "100% Kona Coffee" logo and emblem now used by the industry.[13]

Coffee berry borer infestation[edit]

Coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei), the most harmful beetle to the arabica coffee crop, was discovered in Kona coast plantations in September 2010 by a graduate student of the University of Hawaii.[14] How the tiny beetle got to Kona is unknown, but the size of the infestation indicates it has been going for a few years. Some growers suspected severe drought conditions had reduced the fungus Beauveria bassiana, which might have kept the beetle population under control for years.[15]

By late November 2010, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture declared a quarantine on all green (unroasted) beans leaving the island. Fumigation with a chemical such as methyl bromide or a six-step procedure was required.[16] The price of Kona coffee was expected to rise, up to a possible $50 per pound by December 2010, if the infestation lingers or spreads, because the insect has the potential to reduce crop yields up to 90%.[17] In early 2011 the Hawaii State Dept. of Agriculture allowed the import and application of a concentrated naturally occurring fungus (beauveria bassiana) to successfully combat the infestation.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of coffee". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Gerald Kinro (2003). A cup of aloha: the Kona coffee epic. University of Hawaii Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8248-2678-9. 
  3. ^ John C. Wright (January 19, 1974). "Greenwell Store nomination form" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Reducing Ochratoxin A in Coffee
  5. ^ http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Chapter-4-143-5.24-14-final.pdf
  6. ^ "Coffee Decline Caused by the Kona Coffee Root-Knot Nematode" (PDF). College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources of the University of Hawaii. March 1999. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  7. ^ "Fukunaga, a Coffee Rootstock Resistant to the Kona Coffee Root-Knot Nematode" (PDF). College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources of the University of Hawaii. October 2001. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  8. ^ . United States Patent and Trademark Office http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4801:3z91px.2.15. 
  9. ^ Debra Barayuga (September 29, 1999). "Kona coffee farmers win fake-bean suit: Cheap coffee had been repackaged as expensive Kona beans for years". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 
  10. ^ "Berkeley Resident Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and TaxEvasion". Business wire press release. July 14, 2000. 
  11. ^ News from DEA, Domestic Field Divisions, San Francisco News Releases, 10/31/07
  12. ^ Karin Stanton (April 30, 2007). "Neighbors' dispute could change Hawai'i ag tourism". Honolulu Advertiser. 
  13. ^ "Former Mayor Stephen K. Yamashiro (1941-2011)". Hawaii 24/7. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  14. ^ Tiny Pest Threatens Hawaii's Coffee Crop | KHON2 Hawaii's News Leader Archived 2011-06-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Michael Tsai (December 13, 2010). "Fungus holds clue to coffee blight". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 
  16. ^ Erin Miller (November 25, 2010). "Kona coffee quarantined: Processors approve, farmers upset". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ Ben Markus (December 7, 2010). "Destructive Bug Infests Hawaii's Kona Coffee Fields". National Public Radio. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  18. ^ Department of Agriculture | State of Hawaii | Department of Agriculture

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


Kona Coffees


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    Kona Coffee –

    Kona, on the west coast of Hawaii, has produced coffee since the early 1800’s. Kona’s sunny mornings and cloudy afternoons provide the perfect climate the coffee plant prefers. That along with rich volcanic soil, and the amazing amount of hand-labor and care help produce one of the smoothest premium coffees in the world.

    Lions Gate sits on 10-acres right in the middle of the Kona coffee belt.

    Our Kona coffee is grown on “heirloom” trees that are from 60 to 100 years old. Like a fine wine grape, age adds body and depth to coffee.

    Kona is ripe from September through December and each one of our 3,000 trees must be hand-picked several times during the season. Once picked, we pulp and process the coffee cherry immediately to prevent spoilage.

    Once milled, we spread the wet beans out in the sun on a “hoshidana” drying rack.  This allows the beans to slowly seal up and preserves the flavor. The drying coffee is called “parchment” or Kona Gold because there is a golden skin covering the bean.

    Once dry, beans are milled to remove the parchment skin, and graded. Only beans which grade (primarily by size) as Prime and above can be called “Kona”, the remainder is called “Hawaiian”. Finally, green Kona ready to roast! It takes about 7 pounds of cherry to get to one pound of roast.

    Our coffee carries the Seal of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association for 100% Kona Coffee. We are a certified Estate grower, meaning we only sell coffee from our farm.

    What is Estate Coffee?

    Estate Coffee is the product of one farm, unmixed with crops from other farms, and processed through to roast under the control of the estate farm. This produces a set of unique coffees, each with their own label, comparable to the different wines from the individual estates in the Napa Region of California, for example, as opposed to a generic wine from mixed grapes.

    Our Estate-grade is the top three bean sizes (Extra Fancy, Fancy and #1) all grown and processed here at Lions Gate.

    Our Roasts – Medium and Dark

    We roast several times a week and rarely ship coffee that is more than 3 days old. Fresh is good!

    Coffee roasting is an art, and our roaster, Suzanne, continuously watches the bean during the process to ensure that the color and consistency match the desired roast. Contrary to common sense, a dark roast is lighter and less caffeinated than a medium roast. This is because the roasting process removes some of the bean’s natural oils and acids, leaving a dark roast with a lighter flavor. Most coffee professionals recommend a medium roast for Kona as more bean, instead of roast, flavor comes through, but taste is highly subjective. Try your favorite today.

    Our medium roast is a brown bean with a dry surface. This roast highlights the smooth Kona flavor, and is never harsh or bitter. Many say it tastes slightly nutty. Surprisingly, has more “kick” than our dark roast. Medium roast is also called “City Plus”. Typically the preferred roast of our East Coast and Midwestern customers.

    Our dark roast is a rich, dark bean with only a touch of sheen.  The carmelized sugars in a dark roast give it a mellow full-bodied”coffee” flavor with a smooth, not bitter, aftertaste . The taste is unrivaled by any other varietal. This roast goes well as an after-dinner drink or for those who like to breakfast with an excellently smooth and flavorful cup. This roast is also called “Full City” or “Vienna”. Preferred by our West coast and Asian customers.

    Green Coffee

    If you prefer to roast your own beans, we will gladly sell you green coffee. Our green is 100% Lions Gate Estate Kona, as is all our coffee.


    Kona | The Coffee Wiki

    Kona is the common name given to a type of coffee (Guatemalan typica) grown in the Kona districts of Hawaii. Noted for its often mild and subtle flavors, Kona coffee often commands premium prices far above similar quality coffees from other regions. Most Kona coffee is grown on small estate farms (generally consisting of fewer than five acres), and harvests are generally hand picked.

      Kona district

      All Kona coffee is grown in the Kona district on the Southwest coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Most farms in the Kona district are at an altitude of 800 to 2500 feet above sea level, well below the typical altitude of an arabica farm[1]. The soil in the Kona district contains high levels of volcanic ash, resulting in an environment conducive to cultivation[2].


      Relative to many coffee-growing regions, Hawaii has a cooler climate. The result of this climate is that it is not common practice in the Kona districts to grow coffee trees in the shade of other, larger trees[3].


      Kona coffee is graded based on standards defined by the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, based on screen size and overall appearance of the beans. All Kona coffee will be assigned one of the following grades [4]:

      • Kona Extra Fancy - 100% Kona beans with a minimum screen size of 19. All beans are clean and have a uniform green color. Additionally no more than eight imperfections are allowed in a 300 gram sample.
      • Kona Fancy - Same as Extra Fancy, except that the minimum screen size is 18, and up to twelve imperfections are allowed in a 300 gram sample.
      • Kona No. 1 - Same as Extra Fancy, except that the minimum screen size is 16, and up to eighteen imperfections are allowed in a 300 gram sample.
      • Kona Select - Beans which are clean and "do not impart sour, fermented, moldy, medicinal, or other undesirable aromas and flavors when brewed." Up to five percent of Kona Select may contain defects so long as no more than two percent are "sour, stinker, black or moldy beans." No particular screen size is associated with this grade.
      • Kona Prime - Same as Kona Select, except that up to fifteen percent of the beans may be defective so long as no more than five percent are "sour, stinker, black or moldy beans."

      Lesser grades of coffee may not use the Kona name, no matter where they originated.


      Most batches of Kona coffee have a medium body with floral aromas and light acidity and hints of sweetness. Better batches of Kona are typically richer with a distinctive, but not overpowering acidity and a medium body[5].

      Kona blends

      With the relatively high price of all qualities of Kona coffee, many coffee roasters sell Kona blends, mixing Kona coffee with beans of other origins. Under Hawaiian law (which would not apply to roasters outside of the state of Hawaii), it is permissible to label coffee with as little as 10% Kona coffee as a Kona blend[6]. Additionally, coffees labeled Kona Style may not consist of any amount of Kona beans.

      Demonstrating the difficulty of pinpointing the exact origin of similar coffees by taste, some roasters have sold coffee on non-Kona (and even non-Hawaiian) origin as Kona coffee. In one well-known case, an importer sold bags of unroasted cheap Central American beans as real Kona coffee[7].


      1. ↑ Kenneth Davids (2001). Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying, Fifth Edition, 78-79. ISBN 031224665X.
      2. ↑ William H. Ukers (1922). “Cultivation of the Coffee Plant”, All about Coffee, 241. ISBN 0810340925.
      3. ↑ Kenneth Davids (2003). Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival, Rev. updated ed., 83. ISBN 0312312199.
      4. ↑ Hawaii Administrative Rules: Standards for Coffee
      5. ↑ Kenneth Davids (2003). Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival, Rev. updated ed., 90. ISBN 0312312199.
      6. ↑ Kona Coffee Farmers Association - Revision of Hawaii's 10% Kona Coffee Blend Law
      7. ↑ Mark Pendergrast (1999). Uncommon Grounds: The history of coffee and how it transformed our world, 391. ISBN 0465054676.


      Best 100% Kona Coffee Brands

      If you love coffee and haven't tried Kona, you're in for a luscious treat! If you're already a fan, then you know it's one of the finest gourmet coffees sold.

      What you may not know is what constitutes the best.

      Here's a comprehensive buying guide and the perks of this premium bean.

      Best Hawaiian Coffee Brands

      Kona Coffee


      Kona Beans



      Koa Coffee

      Vienna Roast

      Extra Fancy, Fancy,Number 1, and Peaberry

      Tripack - Save $20

      Hawaii Coffee


      Custom Roast

      Extra Fancy


      Volcanica Kona Coffee

      Medium Roast

      Extra Fancy

      Free Shipping with

      4 Bags or more

      Keala's Hawaiian Coffee

      Medium Roast

      Extra Fancy


      Grande Domaine Kona Coffee

      Kona coffee is one of the most highly valued varieties in the world, and one brand that excels at roasting these premium beans is Koa Coffee.

      The company procures its beans from trees planted well over a century ago in 1918, which lends each cup of coffee superb flavor and quality. Grande Domaine single estate Hawaiian coffee is exceptionally smooth, and it's a great choice if you're looking for a richly flavored coffee without any bitter aftertaste.

      It's balanced flavor makes this a wonderful coffee to sip at any time, from morning to after dinner -- if you're looking to impress guests, you truly can't go wrong serving it. Grande Domaine is available in three different sizes and two grind types: whole bean and auto drip grind. Since the beans are freshly roasted and ground to order, you're guaranteed maximum flavor.

      Hawaii Coffee Company Royal Kona Private Reserve

      Hawaii Coffee Company has been producing wonderful varieties for decades, and one of its premium offerings is its Royal Kona Private Reserve. It's a pure Kona blend with an aroma that's truly magnificent.

      The fragrance that comes from Royal Kona Private Reserve as its brewing truly heightens the experience of drinking it and is only surpassed by its taste.

      Because the Kona coffee beans used in this variety are of the highest quality, the resulting brew is smooth and rich with a full body -- the flavor profile of this Hawaiian coffee is so well rounded that it was judged as Superior by the American Academy of Taste.

      Royal Kona Private Reserve is available in whole bean form or as an all purpose grind. The beans are medium roasted to order, which makes this coffee well suited for any occasion or time of day.

      Volcanica Hawaiian Kona Extra Fancy

      Part of what makes Volcanica's Kona coffee so delicious is its incredible flavor profile and character.

      Because Volcanica's coffee plants are shade grown and benefit from rich volcanic soil, the resulting beans are low in acid. Growing conditions around the company's estate are ideal for creating incredible coffee with a sweet flavor: the rain and humidity levels as well as elevation all work together to create Kona coffee that's unequaled.

      This particular variety is 100% pure, with only the highest quality beans making it into each bag. The Extra Fancy beans are expertly roasted to achieve a beautifully rounded flavor, guaranteeing that each cup is full bodied, rich, and satisfying.

      To ensure optimal flavor this coffee is only roasted and ground once your order is placed, and there are four grind options: French press, whole bean, drip grind, and espresso grind.

      Keala's Hawaiian Coffee

      All Kona coffee isn't made equally -- even those blends that are pure can differ due to growing conditions, manner of picking, and roasting techniques.

      Keala's Hawaiian Coffee stands out as being one of the best premium Kona brands around. Not only is the Extra Fancy coffee used in the company's blend handpicked and top quality, it's perfectly roasted right when you order it. The beans used in Keala's Hawaiian Coffee are sourced straight from farms on the Big Island, right on the volcanic slopes of Holualoa.

      The growing conditions in the region produce coffee that's balanced and well flavored with a character that's uniquely Hawaiian. Medium roasting the beans ensures that you'll enjoy all of the coffee's flavor notes, which include passion fruit and toasted coconut. The aroma of this coffee is divine, and the taste is one that you'll only find from exceptional quality Kona beans.

      ​What is Kona Coffee?

      Kona coffee is the market name for coffee grown in the Kona District of Hawaii. A variety of Arabica coffee. And it's considered a supremely high-quality joe.

      Several attributes make this brew prized worldwide.

      What's special about Kona?

      Kona has a distinct taste profile, a mix of six characteristics - aroma, flavor, sweetness, acidity, body, and aftertaste. Here are the qualities that make Kona unparalleled:

      • Aroma - sweet fragrance
      • Flavor - honey-like taste, with notes of nut, caramel, butter, chocolate, or fruit
      • Sweetness - rich, yet mellow
      • Acidity - mild
      • Body - smooth
      • Aftertaste - lingering citrus, bittersweet, or nutty note on the tongue

      What also makes Kona unique is its physical effect. Kona doesn't produce the jitters of regular joe. After drinking a cup of Kona, you'll feel rejuvenated and calm.

      This flavor profile is a generalization. The type of bean produced varies by plantation. Beans from one farm may have a berry aroma while those from another have a vanilla scent. Also diverse are the dominant flavor notes.

      Where is Kona grown?​

      The Kona coffee belt is located on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa, two dormant volcanoes located on the big island of Hawaii.

      This region provides the ideal growing climate - rich volcanic soil, sunny mornings, overcast afternoons, mild nights, and humid air. Afternoons are generally misty or rainy. These specific conditions produce Kona's distinctive flavor.

      The thin red lined area indicates the specific region of perfect altitude, weather and soil conditions where Kona coffee grows. Source: Blue Horse Kona
      How is Kona cultivated?​

      The growing season is a full 12 months:

      • February and March - plants bloom and pollinate
      • April through August - fruits develop
      • September through January - fruits are harvested

      Can you guess how long it takes for a Kona tree to bear fruit? Three years are required to reach maturity! Each tree produces roughly 25 pounds of "cherries." It takes eight pounds of cherries to make one pound of coffee. Doing the math, one tree yields about three pounds of coffee. Currently, roughly 700 Hawaiian farms produce the entire world's supply!

      The fruit begins as a green berry that turns deep red when ripe. Each cherry contains one or two seeds, which are the coffee beans. The cherries are hand-picked at peak maturity.

      Why are the berries hand-picked?​

      The berries ripen at varying times, requiring a discerning eye. The lava landscape also doesn't lend itself to mechanical cultivation, being rocky and hilly. Therefore, planting, cultivating, and harvesting are all done by hand. Kona cultivation is the most labor-intensive agricultural industry in the world!

      How are the berries harvested?​

      Workers select berries on the basis of size, color, and firmness. Then they're sent through a machine that removes the flesh. What remains are the coffee beans, which are then cleaned and dried.

      Once the berries are picked, the coffee is processed within 24 hours. How's that for freshness! This expediency is necessary to protect the fruit from spoilage.

      Kona Coffee Berries
      What is the history of Kona coffee?​

      This will surprise you! Kona isn't native to Hawaii. Coffee beans and plant cuttings were first brought to Oahu from Brazil in 1828. The Hawaiian climate proved ideal, and Kona crops flourished. In the late 1800s, the Brazilian plants were replaced by stock from Guatemala, from which modern crops are descended.

      During the 1960s, Kona production slowed, reflecting changes in labor costs, pricing, and market demand. In the late 1980s, interest resumed when gourmet coffee gained popularity. Coffee shops increasingly sold the novel joe, and the beans appeared on store shelves.

      Why does Kona cost more than regular coffee?​

      Prices reflect the labor-intensive production expenses, high demand, and limited supply. To make it more affordable, many retailers sell Kona blends.

      ​What are Kona blends?

      Kona blends are a mix of less expensive beans. They may be sourced from Africa, Brazil, Central America, or Indonesia. Hawaiian Kona blends must include at least 10 percent Kona. Outside Hawaii, a blend may have only 1 percent or less of Kona. In fact, technically, a blend can have merely one Kona bean!

      State law mandates that blends must show the percentage of Kona on their labels. For pure products, labels must prominently display the words "100% Kona Coffee."​

      Does a government authority oversee production?

      The Hawaii Department of Agriculture requires Kona coffees to pass inspection before they can carry a "Kona" label. Beans are first classified and then assigned a grade.

      ​Inspectors also certify the coffee by "cupping" it, sampling the brewed coffee to assess its aroma and flavor. State certification is required for Kona growers and processors to sell beans outside the Kona District.

      How are the beans classified?

      There are two types of beans:

      • Type I - two beans per cherry
      • Type II - one bean per cherry

      Usually, a cherry contains two beans which are flat on each side. Sometimes only one of the seeds gets fertilized, and a single seed develops, with nothing adjacent to flatten it. The oval seed is known as a "peaberry."

      Only 5 percent of Kona beans grow as peaberries. In other words, out of every 100 bags of Kona coffee, just 5 bags are Peaberry! Although the beans are small, they produce a more robust flavor than regular Kona beans. Peaberry is the "champagne" of coffee beans.

      How are the beans graded?​

      ​Kona beans are graded by:

      • Size
      • Shape
      • Defects
      • Moisture Content

      Generally, larger beans have more flavor, and beans with the least defects are preferred. If beans are hollow, chipped, or deformed, they don't roast uniformly and have less flavor.

      This grading system applies only to beans from the Kona District. Beans from other Hawaiian regions are merely separated by size, resulting in varying taste profiles.

      What are the grades?​

      There are five primary grades of beans:

      • Kona Extra Fancy - the very best, with superior flavor, derived from the largest beans.
      • Kona Fancy – excellent, but made with slightly smaller beans
      • Kona Number 1 – medium coffee beans, with a mild nutty flavor
      • Kona Select – small beans, with up to 5% defects
      • Kona Prime – the smallest beans, with up to 20% defects

      Extra Fancy


      Number 1















      (tolerance for undersize - 10% by wt.)

      Type I - Size 19

      Type II - Size 13

      Type I - Size 18

      Type II - Size 12

      Type I - Size 16

      Type II - Size 10

      Optional (May be specified)

      Optional (May be specified)

      MOISTURE (by wt.)

      9 to 12%

      9 to 12%

      9 to 12%

      9 to 12%

      9 to 12%

      *Defects are scored as either full imperfections or less than full imperfections. Less than full imperfections are scored as one‐fith of a full imperfection.

      Kona is King!

      Kona is favored for its full-bodied flavor and low acidity. Only coffee from the Kona District is state-inspected and certified for origin.

      This is your assurance of the best Kona coffee available. One sip will convince you that Kona is the King of coffees!


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