Planning your next trip to Hawaii, or have you always wanted to visit the paradise in the Pacific? While your planning or just dreaming, bring your palate on a little preview with a taste of Kona Coffee.
Now, I know what your gonna say, its either I take a trip to Hawaii or buy a pound of coffee. To have the authentic quality beans can become a pricey cup of joe, ranging anywhere from $33 – $55 per pound. Yikes!
What is Kona Coffee and what makes this tropical bean so expensive? Is there an alternative, so that you can get the taste without paying top dollar? Our goal is to try and answer those questions for you in this article.
What Is Kona Coffee?
This is the market name for all coffee that is grown in what is called the “kona coffee belt”, an area of approximately 20 miles by 2 miles. This belt is located on the slopes of Hualalai and Maura Loa in the North and South Kona districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. All Kona coffee can only come from the Kona district for it to hold its authenticity.
What Makes Kona Coffee So Special?
The Kona district is the most ideal coffee growing areas in existence on account of six very important elements. These six elements are abundant in Hawaii, specifically in the Kona district. These six elements are:
- Fertile soil
- Altitude (500 – 3,000 ft as in Kona)
- Sunshine and Temperature (above 55 degrees F at all times)
- Protection from intense sun by cloud cover or shade
- Sufficient and regular rainfall
- Slope for drainage (coffee plants don’t like wet roots)
All of these elements contribute to a dramatic taste of coffee paving the Kona Coffee reputation of the world’s finest coffee. Its extremely low acidity levels paired with its bold flavor is matchless.
Then comes the farm size. Unlike many other coffee farming regions in Hawaii that are large and mechanized, most of the farms in the Kona belt are relatively small. With farms size of only several acres amidst hilly terrain, the mechanization and irrigation process is limited, creating labor intensive farming. However with that comes the home made touch we love just like the craft beer rage.
Alternative Hawaiian Taste
So you want a taste of paradise, but you don’t want to take out a loan for it. Well you are not alone. What are your options?
There are many different coffee farms that are producing great tasting coffee with the rich and bold tropical notes that you are longing for. In fact according to Wikipedia during the 2008/2009 growing season there were 790 coffee farms on the Island of Hawaii and 40 farms on the other 5 Islands. Many of these farms still achieve many of the same notes as your authentic kona bean, at a fraction of the cost.
If this is still too far from your reach, you can get a little taste by buying a kona blend. These give you some of the tropical fruity notes while saving your bank account. However be aware that a coffee only needs to contain 10% Kona coffee beans to be labeled as a Kona blend. So that means that companies can literally add the cheapest coffees to fill the other 90% of the blend. All your left with is regular tasting coffee.
The Kona Conclusion
The fame and hype around Kona coffee, is a large reason why the industry survives. Kona coffee needs to be able to sell for an extremely high price to keep it going. Is it 2-3 times as good as coffee from another country of coffee farming? Maybe, maybe not. You have to be the one to answer that for yourself. However when you are visiting or planning your trip to Hawaii, part of falling in love with the island life is tasting true 100% Kona Coffee.
If your looking for an alternative to get the taste while saving money for your next trip try Planet Coffee’s Kona blend. You will enjoy the fruity and full bodied notes at a fraction of the cost. With our locally roasted beans you can be assured to get a quality cup of coffee for your next break.