Admittedly, Hawaii is not a place that I would ordinarily associate with coffee. When Hawaii comes to mind, so do long beaches, sun, palm tree, vacationers…not coffee. Enter Kona coffee – the coffee type unique to the region, a product of the mild, tropical climate and the rich volcanic soils upon which Hawaii was born.
Kona coffee is grown only in the northern and southern parts of the mountainous Kona region in Hawaii, on the slopes of the Mauna Loa and Hualalai mountains. It is truly a boutique blend, its exotic taste relying on the rich soils and tropical rains for its medium-bodied, flavoursome taste. The taste is so robust that it can be identified immediately by the discerning coffee drinker, who is always aware of imitators.
Kona coffee growers are a proud, tight bunch, mostly related to each other. Passing their skills down through the generations, Kona coffee plantation owners lovingly hand-pick and process each bean, to guarantee the true Kona aroma and flavour reaches every cup. They also custom roast and dry the beans, adding to their distinctive quality.
There is Kona coffee and then there is Kona coffee. Like everything else, this brew has its superior blends, depending on the bean used. The Peaberry bean is the one used to make a superior cup of Kona. The Peaberry is special in that it only harvests one bean instead of two, resulting in a far more intense, richer and concentrated flavour.
In keeping with the images the region of Hawaii conjures, Kona coffee is an excellent example of the exotic nature of the bean.