Kona RainForest Farms Organic 100% Kona Coffee is one of numerous coffees that are produced on the more than 600 farms located in the uplands of the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island. This coffee growing region extends from north of Kailua-Kona on the uplands of Hualalai Mountain to about 35 miles south to the lower slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano in Honaunau, where KRF Farms are located. These uplands are similar to the hilly and mountainous areas of other subtropical coffee growing locales around the world. The premium taste of Kona coffee in general – and Kona RainForest Farms coffee in particular – comes about from its ideal growing environment: crumbly, rich volcanic mineral soils and cooler elevations (temperatures range from 80⁰ in the daytime to 60⁰ at night) coupled with sunny mornings and cloudy, often rainy afternoons. These conditions result in exceptionally large cherry with a sweet pulp and large beans, which produce a coffee possessing a distinctive sweet aroma and full-bodied yet mellow flavor. The coffee grown here is a variety of Arabica coffee, which is the high quality and high value coffee grown commercially for the specialty market. In the past couple decades, the Kona coffee name has become internationally known and 100% Kona coffee is in high demand by coffee drinkers around the world.
Coffee plants first came to Hawaii from Brazil in 1825 and were planted successfully on Oahu; from there coffee spread to all the Hawaiian Islands and was brought to the Kona District of the Big Island in 1828 by one of the Christian missionaries who had arrived in Hawaii less than a decade prior. By the end of the century, coffee cultivation took up substantial acreage on all of the islands, although it particularly flourished in Kona’s excellent growing environment. In 1892 Guatemalan coffee plants were introduced into the Kona district and quickly became the dominant coffee type here. Today the coffee grown in Kona – and on Kona RainForest Farms – is called Kona Typica, descended from these Guatemalan plants.
For the last century or so, Kona coffee has largely been grown on family farms with a relatively small acreage – usually less than five acres per farm. Still, so much coffee eventually came to be grown here that at its high point in the late 1950’s there were 6,000 acres in production growing 17 million pounds of beans annually with the largest yields per acre of any coffee growing region. But in the next 20 years, fluctuating prices and the cost of hired labor to tend larger farms forced many out of the industry and both acreage and production were drastically reduced. This was to be only a temporary setback for Kona coffee: the trend to gourmet coffees in the 1980’s and 1990’s led to a dramatic resurgence of the Kona coffee brand and to the esteemed position it now holds in the coffee market worldwide.
100% Kona Coffee – The real thing
All of the coffee sold by Kona RainForest Farms is 100% Kona coffee beans and we are proud of that. When you drink our coffee, you are assured you are drinking only coffee that was grown, processed and roasted in Kona – what you buy is the real thing. This is important to know because today a large amount of Kona-grown coffee is blended with other cheaper coffees from around Hawaii or other countries. By Hawaii State law any blended product sold in the state of Hawaii may be marketed as “Kona Coffee” as long as at least 10 percent of the coffee in the blend comes from Kona and then the percentage must be noted on the label. Everywhere else there are no restrictions on how much Kona coffee must be in the blend to call it “Kona Blend”. Only a single bean is required . Even at 10 percent the blend is 90 percent other coffees and so will have the characteristics of the other coffees and little of Kona. Depending on what other variety is blended with the Kona coffee, the blend may produce a satisfactory or even tasty brew – or it may not. Good or terrible, the key thing to remember here is that these blends are not representative of the real taste and flavor profile of Kona coffee. The only way to get the authentic Kona coffee taste is to drink coffee that is “100% Kona.”
When talking about the “flavor profile” of Kona coffee, what you are really doing is talking about specific characteristics that give you a means to objectively describe how a particular coffee tastes. These coffee characteristics can be complex but commonly include: aroma, body, flavor, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste. These characteristics are all based on an intensity scale, ranging from completely absent to very intense. Here is what each of the characteristics mean:
Aroma: Refers to what coffee smells like before you even taste it, either as beans or after being brewed. Aroma can tell you about how fresh the coffee is and the degree of roasting.
Body: The way the coffee feels in your mouth; the coffee “weight” and “texture.”
Flavor: What does the coffee taste like? Literally dozens of terms can be used to describe flavor: chocolate, nutty, berry, earthy, citrus, spicy, fruity, woody and many more. This is usually very subjective but often determines your like or dislike of the coffee.
Sweetness: Having some kind of detectable underlying sweetness, as opposed to being bitter or harsh. Sometimes this is described as being rich or mellow.
Aftertaste: Refers to the coffee taste that lingers in the mouth or tongue after the coffee has been swallowed.
Acidity: Acidity is desirable in coffee and gives it its verve or brightness.
Of course, many people enjoy a cup of coffee like Kona Rainforest without ever thinking about why they prefer it. But, as with drinking wines, giving some thought to characteristics like the ones above can let you discover why you like a coffee objectively and actually enhance your drinking experience and enjoyment.
How to Make a Great Cup of Coffee
No matter how good the quality of the coffee you have purchased – and we modestly happen to believe that Kona RainForest Organic 100% Kona Coffee is among the best – you still have to turn it into a delicious brewed beverage. How you do that can have a big effect on the taste when you finally get a chance to drink a cup – and that’s really where the enjoyment comes in. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that we feel can make that “coffee moment” one you will look forward to again and again:
Start with the freshest coffee possible
Use beans that have just been roasted. We air ship ours to you the day after roasting .
Use the coffee as soon as possible.
Just-roasted coffee has a “freshness” window of only about three to four weeks at the longest, so it is best to use it during this time. Keep it in an airtight container in a dark and cool place.
Try not to store coffee if possible. If you have to keep it longer than a month, put it in an airtight container and into your freezer.
Buy whole beans.
Ideally you will buy whole coffee beans because they stay fresh the best.
Grind your beans into ground coffee at home.
You can use a blade grinder for this; they are typically inexpensive and widely available. Or upgrade to a burr grinder which does a much nicer job of creating particles all the same size and is easier on the coffee. Grind beans fresh daily.
Select a grind that is right for your brewing preference.
A grind with larger particles usually needs a longer brewing time while a grind with smaller particles needs less brewing time.
Decide on a brewing method. There are more than a dozen ways to brew coffee. These range from simply pouring hot water over the grounds in a filter to using high-tech brewing machines. One of the more popular methods is the French press and, of course, the ubiquitous “Mr. Coffee”- style automatic drip coffeemaker. If you want to make good espresso, then you will want to choose from several methods that force water under pressure through the coffee to make a concentrated brew. Everyone has their own favorite brewing method, but don’t be afraid to experiment to see what it does to the taste of the coffee.
Some other considerations you should keep in mind when brewing your coffee are:
Water temperature – Not boiling, rather about 190 degrees.
Materials the containers are made of– glass, metal, plastic- all can affect taste.
The type of filter – If you are using a filter.
The contact time between the coffee and the water – Making coffee requires your attention!
You can see there are many variables that can affect the ultimate taste – for better or for worse – of the coffee that finally ends up in your cup. Making great coffee is a thoughtful and in fact, very sensual process, but one that is well worth it for the final result. Enjoy!
Coffee FYI – How to impress your friends with coffee culture facts
- Coffee is a relative of the gardenia plant family and is thought to be indigenous to the African region which is now the country of Ethiopia.
- Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and the first to make a beverage from the roasted beans around 1300 AD.
- Today coffee is grown in more than 70 countries – all in subtropical regions – and more people drink coffee than any other beverage except water and perhaps tea.
- The United States consumes more coffee – 300 million cups a day – than any other country, but other countries drink more per capita. The citizens of Finland, population five million, for example, drink a total of 20 million cups per day.
- Most research shows that drinking coffee has a variety of health benefits and may be good for heart health.
- Workers who drank coffee rather than napping were more alert and performed better on the job, studies show.
- Coffee beans have up to 800 flavor characteristics that our senses can detect. Red wine, by comparison, only has 400. Most coffee connoisseurs prefer mild roasts because the longer a coffee bean is roasted, more characteristics are burned off.
- Espresso Coffee has just one third of the caffeine content of ordinary coffee.
- The process of roasting causes coffee beans to begin to release carbon dioxide. When you pour hot water over freshly roasted and ground coffee, as in a French press, you will get a foamy head like that from a dark beer.
- A coffee tree lives for between 60 and 70 years.
- Specialty coffee is surprisingly affordable. One cup costs about 24 cents making it cheaper than bottled water.
- It takes about 5000 pounds of coffee cherries to produce 1,000 pounds of green coffee beans; the beans lose another 20 percent of their weight in the roasting.