Where To Buy Kona Coffee & How To Know Its Authentic
Wondering where to buy Kona coffee beans online? Here are the best Kona coffee brands + tips to ensure youre not wasting your money on a fake blend!
If youve never tried Hawaiian Kona coffee before, youre truly missing out! Authentic Kona coffee beans are coveted by coffee lovers everywhere, and once you taste the real thing, youll be hooked, too.
Unfortunately, many consumers are paying top dollar for 10% Kona blends, thinking theyre getting 100% Kona coffee. So, before you purchase your next bag of Kona coffee beans, read our tips below to make sure youre getting what youre paying for.
If the coffee youre looking at is being marketed as a Kona blend with a price thats too good to be true, chances are, its probably a fake. Compare it to being served a top-shelf whiskey only its been watered down so the bar can make more money. So not cool!
But, dont worry! Were going to tell you where to buy Kona coffee, why its worth the money, and how to spot a fake.
Hawaiian Kona Coffee 100%
The Kona coffee is famous for its rich flavor, its lack of bitterness and its irresistible aroma of fresh nuts.
Kona beans have been grown for over 100 years on Hawaiis Big Island. The islands west coast takes advantage of a unique micro climate. The Kona Belt is located on the west slopes of the Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes, which protect the plantations from the strong winds that blow on the island. A rich volcanic soil and perfect climatic conditions provide to this sought after coffee its exquisite flavour and unique aroma.
Our pure Hawaiian Kona Extra Fancy is imported exclusively from certified Kona coffee farms. You will always receive from us very freshly roasted Kona 100%. Dont hesitate to enjoy your favorite coffee all day long with our Swiss Water® naturally decaffeinated Kona 100%.
No need to waste money on shipping cost to order from Hawaii. Your Kona coffee 100% is already here in Canada and ready to be roasted for you, sold in Canadian dollars and shipped free of charge with Canada Post Expedited Parcel on any order!
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How To Buy Kona Coffee
Where there are tourists, there are tourist traps, too. And some companies have a weird definition of marketing, especially when we talk about honest marketing. So, here is a quick guide on how to buy Kona Coffee.
- Kona Roast: Means absolutely nothing. The term is not protected. There is no special roast for Kona beans. Hence you probably get zero Kona beans inside.
- Kona Style: Means absolutely nothing. If there is no mention of the percentage of Kona beans you get coffee from a shady source.
- Kona Blend: Must contain at least 10% Kona Coffee. Still, 10% of coffee doesnt mean that much.
- 100% Kona coffee: The real deal. This is why you came here.
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Make Sure You Buy 100% Kona Coffee
When shopping for kona coffee, make sure the package says 100% kona coffee. If a coffee says kona blend, it usually means it has less than 10% actual kona beans, with the other 90% made up of inferior-quality beans. Safeway recently settled a lawsuit involving kona blend, but there currently is no legal protections for coffee farmers at the moment. Until that happens, one thing we can do to ensure that our favorite coffee keeps thriving is to make sure we only buy coffee clearly labeled 100% Kona.
These resources are places with proven track records where you can make sure you will get high quality, freshly-roasted coffee .
Why Kona Coffee Is Expensive
Greatness comes at a cost! If you are thinking that it is obvious that you should be asked to pay more for a more satisfying experience, greater taste, richer flavor, and absolutely inviting aroma, then you are right to some extent.
Kona coffee is a one-of-a-kind type of Java that is totally worth spending the extra bucks for. But although it probably does play a small part, the taste of the coffee here does not determine the price. In fact, if you were to buy a coffee of a similar quality that has been grown anywhere else in the world, youd probably have to pay a lot less. So, why are Kona beans so expensive?
The thing that costs the most when it comes to growing and processing Kona beans, is the labor. The picking of the beans is the most costly part, and for most coffee cultivators in this region, that gets pricey. If you add the cost of land, and the use of fertilizers or other maintenance processes, that adds up.
Add the costs that go hand-in-hand such as roasting, water and electrical bills, marketing, material such as bags, packaging and shipping, mortgage and you can see how a higher price per pound is actually fair.
The bottom line is the price may be high, but the experience is so worth it!
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Why Is Hawaii Kona Coffee So Special
If you are a Mark Twain fan and an avid coffee consumer, then you are most likely familiar with the writers famous praise saying that the rich flavor of these beans is like no other. Sorry Twain, but your influence is not what made Kona so popular!
When someone mentions quality coffee, the first thing that pops into mind is Kona. And there is a good reason for that. The exquisite taste is, obviously, why Kona is a specialty coffee that cannot be dumped in the regular coffee pile, but behind that incredible flavor hide the perfect growing and processing environment and an ideal microclimate:
- Kona coffee is grown on volcanic-rich soil on the slopes of Kona Mountains, Hawaii
- The beans get tons of sun but are also perfectly shaded to avoid overexposure
- The ideal temperature around 70 degrees F
- There are regular afternoon doses of rain
- The soil has ideal drainage
- There is little wind
- The nights in this region are mild and not too harsh for the plant
- Constant growing conditions without too many elements of surprise
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What Is Kona Coffee
You have probably already heard about Kona Coffee. Something about Hawaiian beans sounds exotic. Especially when you hear those are some of the best beans in the world. But are they? Or they are just another great story, like Kopi Luwak?
Kona is not a new coffee type. It is a name for coffee grown exclusively in the Kona region. Think of it like sparkling wine from the Champagne region or brandy from the Cognac region. So, you cant grow this coffee in any part of the world, except for the Kona region.
There are other Hawaiian islands where the coffee is grown:
- Kau 500 coffee farms
- Hamakua 15 coffee farms
- Kauai 3 coffee farms
- Molokai one coffee farm
Kona is not the only Hawaiian coffee but certainly is the most famous one. And for a long time, Hawaii was the only USA state that grew coffee. Nowadays, California joined the race. The FRINJ organization gathers almost 70 California farmers. However, it is far from industrial coffee farming.
But lets get back to Kona Coffee.
Kona coffee means green coffee processed from cherry coffee which is grown in the geographic region of Kona and which at least meets the minimum requirements of Kona Prime green coffee.
Hawaiian Department of Agriculture
Is It Good To Order Kona Coffee Online
Yes, it is safe to order Kona coffee online and sometimes it is best to order it from there. This is because when you do order online, you have a direct transaction with the manufacturer which makes everything legit. Also, when you order online you are guaranteed to get the real and genuine product so you can avoid scams.
It is very easy to get Hawaiian coffee on the internet because each brand made their website very user friendly meaning, you dont have to be a very technical person in order to navigate through the websites. There are buttons you can easily click on that will help you learn about the brands products as well as a button for ordering and purchasing Hawaiian coffee.
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Where To Buy The Best Kona Coffee For Flavor Aroma & Authenticity
Knowing how to find authentic Hawaiian Kona coffee beans will narrow down your choices quite a bit. And weve narrowed down the field even further to find the highest-grade Kona coffee beans with the best flavor and aroma so you can be sure youre getting the best coffee for your money.
Heres where to buy the best Hawaiian Kona coffee beans:
Hawaii Coffee Blend Scam
If youre committed to getting 100% Hawaiian coffee, you need to make sure you do your research .
In order to be considered Hawaiian coffee or Kona coffee, blends need to have just 10% of its beans sourced from Hawaii or Kona. That means 90% of the beans can be from anywhere else in the world! So you need to be especially vigilant and look for products that say 100% Hawaiian coffee or 100% Kona coffee.
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Kauai Swiss Water Decaf
All decaffeinated Kauai Coffee® products use the Swiss Water Process, which was introduced in Switzerland in the 1930s. This process relies on caffeine solubility and osmosis to remove caffeine from green coffee beans, without the use of chemicals. Our Swiss water decaf coffee is up to 99.9% caffeine-free.
Best Kona Coffee Brands: The Top 5
Now you know how to recognise the good from the bad and the ugly: Avoid blends, go for beans grown in the right region, and pay attention to the Kona coffee grade band. To make it even easier to find that perfect taste of Hawaii, weve found a few options for you.
The Hawaii-based Koa Coffee has been in the business since 1997, and their K-coffee has been rewarded with titles like PCCA Coffee of the Year and winner of the Gevalia Cupping Competition. They feature as the number one Kona on our list of best coffee beans here.
Best Coffee: Koa PlantationThis stuff is wonderfully smooth and its lack of a bitter aftertaste makes you think nothing of having that second cup, or third
With Koa Coffee, you know youre buying from a well-established and popular brand: they have a huge reputation to live up to.Koa Coffee also reward loyalty with special discounts for people in their coffee club, and well-priced multi-buy packages.
The Kona Coffee Tripack Medium is an especially good deal, including three 8-ounce bags of Kona for a bundle discount price. This tripack includes three types of Kona: the Grande Domaine, the Private Reserve, and the Estate.
Their Grande Domaine is produced from trees that were planted a century ago. It is a rich, smooth coffee with minimal bitterness ideal easy-drinking coffee for any time of day.
Finally, Their Estate is a rich and fragrant blend of the three highest-quality Kona grades.
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What Is So Special About Konas Coffee
Is it the allure of a tropical paradise? Is it the fact that Hawaii is the only state in the US that grows coffee? Is it the rarity of the bean? Or is it that the taste is exceptional?
You might ask 10 different people and get 10 different responses. Regardless of what makes Konas Coffee so special, it is a fact that its one of the most sought-after coffees in the world.
Where Does Kona Coffee Grow
Kona Coffee grows in the Kona region of the Big Island in Hawaii. Specifically, in the north and south districts of Kailua-Kona, on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa Mountains.That area is known as the Kona Belt. About 50 kilometres long and 3-4 kilometres wide, on an elevation that ranges from 150 m to 1000 m. Rich volcanic soil, high altitude and favourable climate make these beans top quality and one of the best ones you can buy.
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Stay Away From Kona Blends
Because there is only a limited amount of the real deal available, and its very expensive, many companies produce Kona blends at a more affordable price. Stay away from these. You want pure Kona only.
According to Hawaiian law, any blend labeled as a Kona blend must contain at least 10% of certified Kona beans. Companies wanting to make a buck will, naturally, use the 10% and not one bean more. 90% of these blends will contain low quality dark roast and city roast crap.
Do the math you will not be getting much Kona in your cup.
Even worse, some companies go full-on scammy and dont use any certified Kona at all.
While the Hawaiian law is strict on this, many places dont care if companies are using the Kona name merely for marketing purposes. In many countries, so-called Kona beans might contain only a tiny fraction of Kona beans, or none at all. For this reason, you should buy Kona that is from the island of Hawaii and labelled 100% Pure Kona coffee. Stay away from all Kona Blends unless you are fully aware of what youre buying.
Why Is Kona Coffee That Expensive
Kona Coffee has two main reasons that keep her price up. The first one is exclusivity. These beans are grown in a specific part of Hawaii. Hence, it can be grown only there, usually in micro-lots. Also, those micro-lots are on the slopes of volcanoes and mountains. You cant get any heavy machinery there. And everything else you need must be transported by boat.
The second part is the paycheck. Most of the worlds coffee farms are located in third-world countries. However, Hawaii is part of the USA. That means that labour cost is much, much higher, especially for precise hand picking. Hiring experienced pickers costs even more.
Coffee pickers in Columbia are paid around $0.15 for every kilo of cherries they collect. Good picker having a good day can pick 200 kgs and earn $30.
In Hawaii, pickers are paid $1.5 $2 per kilo.
It usually takes 8 kilos of cherries for 1 kilo of roasted coffee. Its already a difference of at least $11 per kilo of coffee. And thats just one of the factors.Some might say that Kona Coffee is expensive, but others claim that other beans are undervalued. Or even worse, the human rights of those workers are on a disputable level. However, we are still far away from lab-grown coffee, so we will have to deal with this problem.
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How Kona Coffee Is Graded
Hawaii also puts coffee through rigorous testing through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Every batch of Kona coffee is graded based on its moisture content, shape, and size, as well as any possible flaws in the coffee beans.
Extra fancy is the highest HDA grade awarded, but Kona coffee Grade 1 Fancy, Select, and Prime are all excellent quality, as well.
Dont waste your money on Kona coffee thats graded No. 3, Natural Prime, or Mixed Natural Prime. These are the lowest grades awarded.
Trust us, its worth a few extra bucks to get Kona beans with a higher HDA rating.
Is Coffee Native To Hawaii
Despite the fact that coffee is grown all over the Hawaiian Islands, coffee is actually not native to Hawaii.
Coffee was first introduced to Hawaii from Brazil in the 1820s. This new crop was originally planted in Oahus Manoa Valley, but it didnt really thrive. As a matter of fact, coffee crops in Hawaii struggled for a while at least until coffee was planted on the Big Island in 1828. And, as they say, the rest is history.
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The Best Kona Coffee Brands At A Glance
If youre in a hurry, heres where to buy the best Kona coffee online and have it shipped right to your door. Scroll down for full reviews of each product.
4. Hualalai Estate 100% Kona Coffee | Smooth, Low-Acid Authentic Kona
5. Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee | Best Artisan Kona from a Small, Family Owned Kona Farm
6. Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee K-Cups | Best Kona K-Cups
Kona Kai Coffee Scandal In The 1990s
Meet Michael Norton, owner of Kona Kai Farms, businessman and visionary. Michael had a brilliant idea. He imported almost 1600 tons of coffee from Panama and Costa Rica from 1993 to 1996. Then he labelled them as Pure Kona Coffee and sold them to roasteries around the USA. Some of his customers were Peets, Starbucks Coffee Co., Peerless Coffee Co., Hills Brothers, and other smaller and bigger coffee industry names.
At that time, Panamian beans were sold for around $2 per pound. Pure Kona coffee was worth $7 per pound. By some estimates, our handy Michael pocketed around $14 million. Part of that he hid on his Swiss account.
Michal was placed under arrest after someone tipped the authorities about his little game of switching beans. The thorough investigation included protected witnesses, videotapes and financial police.
In 2002. Michael got 30 months in prison. Also, he was ordered to pay $475,000 in restitution and $440,000 in delinquent taxes for diverting $1.3 million to a Swiss bank account.
Every coffee you can think of has been a victim. I suspect therell be a wake-up call within the industry.
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