When it comes to choosing our coffee we can be hard to please can’t we? Finding the best Kona coffee is not merely a matter of browsing the supermarket aisles for something that you think will do the job, because what happens if you accidentally miss out on something even better?
To give you a flavor of what you get for the money I’ve spent a (brilliant) weekend tasting five of the world’s finest so that I can show you how to find the best Kona coffee on the market. Armed with a wealth of information on each of these delicious blends I have no doubt that you’ll be able to discover your perfect match so that you can start your day the right way.
Best Kona Coffee of 2018
|1 Lb||Hand picked, sun dried|
From family farm directly
|1 Lb||100% Pure Kona Coffee|
Roasted by Ferrari Coffee Company
|Hawaiian Gold||2 x 2 Lb||Whole Bean|
|Cameron's Coffee||12 oz||Premium Kona Blend|
Sustainable, hand crafted
|Hawaii Roasters||14 oz||All natural, hand-picked|
Blue Horse – Best Kona Coffee Brand
It combines a rich history and a fantastic taste into a single authentic product.
Which, as you may have guessed did a great job at impressing my palette. Let’s take a look at why I’m waxing lyrical about the taste of Blue Horse.
The first thing to say about these folks is that they know their coffee inside out. The packaging is eye-catching and contemporary, but what really catches the eye is the knowledge of the growers shining through in every area of the product.
That instantly made me smile as it gave me the confidence that I had come to the right place.
A Single Estate Approach
Blue Horse stay true to their roots with pride, and rightly so. What grabbed me straight away when I cast my eyes over the packaging was that they are very explicit about how their product comes from a single estate.
I really loved this simple yet often overlooked approach. With many mass produced coffees suffering from a certain lack of flavor due to the pooling of beans from various estates, it’s refreshing to find a brand that is committed to creating a product they can rightly be proud to put their name to.
The Natural Touch
I loved that Blue Horse isn’t afraid to make a big deal out their handpicked and pesticide-free approach. You’ll hear a lot of brands make similar claims, but when my taste buds sampled the end product they told me straight away that this was something different entirely.
All-in-all, Blue Horse, is a coffee that I will never allow my kitchen cupboards to be without ever again. With the perfect blend, a natural approach and authentic heritage, Blue Horse is one of the very best coffees not just in Kona, but the world over in my opinion.
Sold in a range of portion sizes and long-lasting, it also makes a great tasting gift…that is if you can bring yourself to give it away!
Hawaiian Mountain – Best Hawaiian Kona Coffee
As a family-run business that runs an estate that has been in expert hands for more than a century, Hawaiian Mountain is one of the coffees that I just couldn’t wait to taste.
By paying attention to all the little things that honestly matter, Hawaiian Mountain pride themselves on offering an authentic blend that is big on flavor. The question is, did it make my taste buds stand up and take notice?
A Coffee with Heritage
Nothing compares to knowing where your favorite beverage comes from, and who put their time energy and soul into making it. When I sample a new drink, I love to learn a little bit about the backstory, and Hawaiian Mountain was no different.
A great story is one of the things that I really love in the world of coffee because it allows me to connect with the drink that I want to make a major part of my daily routine.
By learning about the Ferrari family who makes this drink a reality, I was filled with a sense that this is a product that takes a little bit of the soul of its creators with it.
Simple to Brew
When you shop for luxury or premium coffees, you will often come across largely positive reviews online, interspersed with a sizable number of negative reviews that typically relate to brewing sensitivity.
That may not be a term you have heard of before, but in my opinion, it is just as important as any other aspect of your brew to be aware of!
Thankfully I discovered that Hawaiian Mountain was a versatile and resilient blend that more than held its own when subjected to a vast array of different brewing techniques and approaches.
Hawaiian Mountain is a Kona that I really did enjoy, and I loved the fact that no matter how I chose to brew it (within reason) I was able to preserve the same delicious taste.
I would implore everyone to make up their own mind. There is a theme of a small number of buyers questioning the freshness and consistency of the product.
Admittedly I experienced no such issues with my bag, but you may find that if you make this your go-to brew, you will come across a less than perfect bag sooner or later. That’s normal.
Hawaiian Gold – Best Kona Coffee Beans
Normally when you build something up in your mind, you can be setting yourself up for a touch of disappointment because your expectations are so high.
Fortunately, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that that wasn’t the case here!
Hawaiian Gold has to be right up there with the cups I’ve sampled in my mission to bring you the best Kona coffee, so what’s the secret? It all seems to rest on the authentic approach that puts the beans at the center of every step in the recipe.
Nothing is left to chance, and all the little things that others may pass by have been given care and attention. Let’s delve in and take a look at how they did it…
Small Batch Roasting
Scaling things is not always a sign of a fantastic product because it can be easy for a few mediocre beans to go unnoticed and dampen the overall flavor of the batch. This was clearly not the case when I got the chance to savor Hawaiian Gold.
The taste brought my taste buds to life the instant it hit my tongue, and I’ve been daydreaming about the intensity of the flavor ever since.
The Secret is in The Oil
What really riles coffee lovers is when they spend good money and get something that’s only ok. So often the issue comes down to freshness, namely the beans themselves drying out.
And that, in short, is what makes it a special blend to keep in your cupboard when you want to really treat yourself. It may sound like something simple, but if you’re a lover of coffee like me, you’ll come to appreciate just how much goes into getting it perfect bag after bag.
Hawaiian Gold really did catch my eye due to its prominent reputation, and I’m delighted to say on behalf of my taste buds that it did not disappoint! The intensity of the flavor is hard to match and serves to highlight just what you can do when you apply a small batch technique that scrutinizes every bean.
The end result? A brew that’s bursting with flavor speaks to freshness and is just a delight to brew. If you’re looking for a really strong and memorable taste, then you have just read my personal recommendation.
Cameron’s Coffee – Best Organic Kona Coffee
This is not a blend that I’d heard of until recently if I’m honest, but it came with a couple of glowing recommendations from some of my most trusted coffee loving friends, so I thought why not give it a try?
What jumped out straight away is that this is a blend that isn’t afraid to be a little bit different.
With so many varieties on the market from the coffee growing paradise, and each claiming to be the height of luxury, Cameron’s decided that to stand out from the crowd they needed to celebrate what makes them different. And boy did they not disappoint!
The crisp finish beautifully balanced with a sweet flavor that intrigued my tastebuds without overpowering them. It’s this little touch of something different that I really enjoyed tasting as it showed me straight away that the growers have a real passion for what they do.
A Coffee with A Twist
Cameron’s may not be a name that you have heard of just yet, but if this latest offering from their estate is anything to go by then you’ll be hearing more and more about them over the coming months and years ahead.
What I loved about this particular blend is that they’ve been bold with their choices, and used a little bit of imagination, so ‘bold’ doesn’t merely mean intensifying the flavor that we have all become used to as a stock luxury taste.
By working in a sweet flavor that works alongside the medium tasting body and the crisp and authentic finish, they’ve found what is in my opinion, a great way to give your taste buds a comprehensive experience to savor.
Sustainability Is Everything
When I look for a coffee to try, something I’m very big on is whether the product I’m buying is ethical and sustainable. If it’s not something, you’ve ever thought about before then put it like this if your coffee is sustainably sourced and produced it tells you a lot about the estate on which it’s grown.
It suggests to me a product that is developed with the future in mind so that the same fertile land will be used year after year to refine and standardize a highly consistent product. Plus, it means you’re doing your bit to help the environment.
In my opinion, this is the one coffee on my list that really made me sit up and take notice. I know that a few people have reported issues with extracting enough flavor, but in my experience, the process was no different to brewing any other coffee.
I loved that Cameron’s are loud and proud about their heritage and sustainable approach as this made me feel that I was purchasing a product that was made the right way and with a little TLC thrown in for good measure. What really made me take notice though was the standout flavor.
The combination of crispness and sweetness really is something a little bit different that makes this purchase worthwhile in my opinion. Highly recommended for all true lovers of coffee.
Hawaii Roasters – Best Whole Bean Kona Coffee
Hawaii Roasters is a name that has been on the market for a long time, so I was super excited when the bag arrived on my doorstep as I had been waiting with bated breath to give it a try.
I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint and I’ve already added another bag to my inventory so that I never run out, so what did they do right, and what could they add to make this flavorsome offering even better?
All Natural: All Flavor
I could tell right away that this was a blend with a difference when my nose took in the flavor as I tore open the bag. The aroma burst out like it had been bagged that same day, and you could see the oil on the beans which tell you everything you need to know about how fresh a crop is.
Not to mention how well it travels. Everything was handpicked which showed in the consistency as I got to the bottom of the bag. With not a single bean found wanting I was able to brew a flavorsome and powerfully hitting drink with no bother at all.
Three Generations of Expertise
Hawaii Roasters is not just a brand; they’re a family business. This made me smile straight away as it told me a lot about the product that I had in my hand.
Picking coffee is something that anybody can do, but doing it well is something different altogether entirely. By passing down key bits and pieces of experience down the generations, Hawaii Roasters have perfected a recipe that brings coffee to life in my opinion.
The flavor was so delicate and mild that it is difficult to find a coffee that has a more refined and intricate taste from what I’ve seen.
The uniqueness of the flavor may well put off a small number of coffee drinkers who have strong predetermined ideas of what a cup of Kona coffee ‘should’ taste like, but if you’re willing to let your taste buds judge for themselves, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
The flavor is to die for, and the aroma speaks to freshness like no coffee I’ve tried in a long while. Highly recommended for the coffee lover who thinks that they have already seen and tasted the very best that Kona has to offer.
Best Kona Coffee – Buyer’s Guide
So there you have it, five of the most delicious Kona coffees for you to caste your taste buds over. For those of you who want to find out even more about this flavorsome part of the world and the brew that it has given its name to, why not take a look at my buyer’s guide…
What Makes Kona Coffee So Special?
Kona coffee has been spoken of in the very highest terms by coffee lovers the world over for years and years now, so what makes it home to the pinnacle of caffeine beverages?
The unique climate allows a lush crop to grow with ease and allows the plants to be free from the herbicides and pesticides that are needed in so many other parts of the world.
This 100% natural approach is completed after the harvest when the beating Hawaiian sun takes center stage and dries out every bean just enough to enhance and lock in flavor without drying out and compromising the freshness of every bag.
Where is Kona?
Kona is on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It is split into north and south districts, both of which specialize in the production of luxury coffee.
They use the natural rainfall and abundant sunshine to create a natural crop that flourishes with apparent ease compared to larger more industrial approaches that are common in other parts of the world.
How Can I Judge Freshness?
Freshness may sound like a strange thing to be worried about from a bean that is deliberately roasted in the sun. If you’ve ever made the step from instant to decent coffee, you’ll notice straight away that freshness resides mainly in the amount of oil present on the outer surface of each bean.
Is Handpicking Really Such a Big Deal?
Ok, so you need a little more background to make up your mind. Let’s put it like this.
If you had a massive industrial operation that focused on maximizing output, and then you had a second operation in which individuals with years of hands-on experience examined each bean, which would you trust?
The first operation may well ship more coffee, but they wouldn’t deliver as much good coffee, and they’d ship hardly any great coffee.
That is super important because as every coffee drinker will appreciate, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a coffee you love, only for the next bag to be left found wanting. If a beverage is hit or miss, why bother with it for the long haul?
Tell Me What ‘Kona’ Means
Kona is an ancient Hawaiian word which means Lady. It’s a village in Hawaii and is perhaps equally famous for being the birthplace of Iron Man triathlons.
You may well have also heard of Kona Mountain Bikes. This combination of great tasting products and an active lifestyle really are the Kona region in microcosm.
Can’t Anyone Claim To Produce Kona Coffee?
No! Much like Champagne, the Kona region’s brand is fiercely and passionately protected by those that spend their lives perfecting it.
While there are great tasting coffees in all four corners of the globe, you can sleep easy knowing that if you purchase a Kona coffee, you’re buying a 100% authentic coffee that comes from that small region and nowhere else.
This is My First Time Trying Kona, Why Does It Taste So Different?
Most of us have grown up drinking watered down instant coffee or off the shelf roasted blends that are well out of their optimal freshness window. In short, the reason your mouthful of Kona tastes so different to what you’re used to is that you’ve been drinking the wrong stuff till now.
I’m not knocking your previous choices; I’m just saying that be prepared to experience something that tastes completely different. But, please don’t let that you put you off.
Kona is a unique region with unrivaled expertise, and with that comes some irresistible flavors and aromas the like of which your taste buds will have never experienced.