Origins of Kona Coffee
Kona coffee comes from the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island. Coffee was first brought to Hawaii by an American missionary in the form of coffee plant cuttings from Brazil. Originally grown on large plantations, today the coffee is grown on about 800 small Kona coffee farms. Kona coffee is one of the most expensive and rare coffees, since just 2 million pounds are distributed each year.
There are basically two types of Kona coffee beans. I’m partial to the smaller bean, known as the peaberry. There are many blends of Kona and Columbian or Brazilian coffee available, but I try to always buy 100% Kona coffee. I don’t recommend buying a blend, since it may consist of as much as 90% cheaper coffee. Why pay a premium price for that?
How to brew the best Kona Coffee
When you invest in premium Kona coffee, it makes sense to make sure you brew it the best way. Always buy whole beans and grind them yourself. Only grind the amount that you will use in the same day. Learn how much fits into your coffee press or coffee machine, and only grind that amount at a time.
This leads me to the question of the coffee maker. I use a coffee press rather than a coffee maker. A coffee press is a glass cylinder with a plunger attached to the top. You put coffee in the bottom of the press, add hot water and let it brew for at least 4 minutes, then push the plunger down to strain out the coffee grounds. My coffee press makes a better cup of coffee than my $200 Capresso espresso machine. I would never use anything but my $30 coffee press when brewing Kona coffee.
When testing whether you like Kona coffee, buy a small amount first. If you find that you like it, you can then order larger quantities to save money. If you’re really a coffee aficionado like me, buy enough coffee beans to last you a month. For me, freshness is the top priority.