About Kona Coffee
Growing Some of the Best Coffee on the Planet
Kona RainForest Farms is one of 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 the lower slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano in Honaunau. 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 comes from this ideal growing environment. Rich volcanic mineral soils, cooler elevations, sunny mornings and rainy afternoons all combine to create the ideal conditions of a coffee utopia. The results are 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. In the past two decades, the Kona coffee name has become internationally known, and 100% Kona coffee in high demand by discerning coffee drinkers around the world.
A Brief History of Kona Coffee
Coffee plants arrived in Hawaii from Brazil in 1825 and were planted successfully on Oahu. Coffee spread to all the Hawaiian Islands and was brought to the Kona District on the Big Island in 1828. By the end of the nineteenth century, coffee cultivation took up substantial acreage on all of the islands, although it particularly flourished in Kona’s excellent growing environment.
Kona coffee has largely been grown on family farms with relatively small acreage, usually less than five acres per farm. So much coffee eventually came to be grown in Kona that at its high point in the late 1950s there were 6,000 acres in production growing 17 million pounds of beans annually. Over the next 20 years fluctuating prices and the cost of hired labor 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 1980s and 1990s led to a dramatic resurgence of the Kona coffee brand and to the esteemed position it now holds in the coffee market worldwide.
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 therefore 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.”