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Best Hawaiian Coffee In 2021 – Best Kona Coffee Online Guide

For those that aren’t well versed in coffee aficionados, the name ’Kona” may not mean anything, and why should it? For the vast majority of coffee drinkers out there: the most informed you’re ever going to need to be is whether or not it’s decaf.

For those that don’t know that name, however, you know that it is one of the best and most flavorful coffees on the market. You also know that if you aren’t careful, you could potentially waste a ton of money on knockoff scam blends banking on the name while skimping heavily on the quality.

So whether you’ve been a fan of drink for years now or have only just heard of it today, this article will go over the best sources of Kona coffee as well as what to look out for to avoid scam Kona blends.

kona coffee

What Is Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is a strain of Arabica coffee that has been grown, harvested, and entirely processed in the Kona region of Hawaii. This region includes the Northern and Southern Kona districts as well as the Hills of Hualalai and Mauna Lao, respectively.

They are given the name ’Kona” due to the fact that they are grown in the Kona region. While only beans grown from this region can be called ‘Kona,’ many companies have found loopholes to leverage the name and standing of Kona Coffee beans while ultimately taking advantage of the customers by essentially scamming them, which we will get into later below.

Top 5 Kona Coffee Products

While the process for determining what constitutes an “authentic’’ brand of Kona Coffee, we understand that it may be very daunting at the outset. To make it easier, here are our Top 5 Kona Coffee Picks.

Best Kona Coffee Beans: Kona Coffee Companies Reviewed

1. Best Hawaiian Coffee – The Hawaii Coffee Company Hawaiian Kona Coffee

Description

• Brand: The Hawaii Coffee Company
• Roast Level: Medium Roast
• Item Form: Whole Bean
• Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Pros:
• Has a smooth, full-bodied flavor
• Run by the largest Kona roaster in the world

Cons:
• Not as rich as others on this list

A well-established brand that has been around since the 1960s, the Hawaii Coffee Company’ has its own plantations from which they source all of the Kona Coffee Beans. It is noted for having a very dean and smooth flavor due to it having a lighter roast than other producers.

Especially great for those that enjoy a medium-light roast, this brand works excellent for its fruity and clear taste, working well as a pour-over coffee.


2. Best Kona Coffee Online – Blue Horse: Farm Fresh 100% Kona Coffee

Description

• Brand: Blue Horse
• Roast Level: Whole Bean
• Item Form: Medium Roast
• Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Pros: • Freshly Roasted
• Herbicide & Pesticide Free
• Deep Rich Flavor

Cons: • Has a lower caffeine content than others on this list

Blue Horse is known as an excellent Kona coffee brand, and with good reason! Their coffee beans are handpicked and wet-processed before being sun-dried. This process, while more intensive than standard practices, results in a more aromatic and altogether richer flavor when consumed.

Their beans are also shade-grown, giving them a sweeter and less acidic flavor as a result in addition to their medium roast, Blue Horse also has a Dark Roast that is a step above in almost every way. Either way, they roast immediately prior to shipping, ensuring that you get them at their freshest possible with as little time sitting as possible.

The coffee beans picked are red, ripe, pure Kona coffee cherries. This gives it their sweeter and less acidic taste. This is the best kona coffee if you’re looking to buy kona coffee online!


3. Best Kona Coffee Beans – Hualalai Estate Hawaii Coffee

Description
• Brand: Hualalai Estate
• Roast Level: Dark Roast
• Item Form: Whole Bean
• Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Pros: • Uses higher grade of Kona coffee beans
• Selects only uniform beans for a perfect balance
• Pesticide Free
• Whole Beans
• Organic

Cons:
• Cost is very steep, but the quality easily justifies it

An excellent coffee brand. Hualalai Estate Kona coffee meets many of the missing expectations of other brands in a number of different ways. They have a Premium Estate for the coffee beans meaning that they use a higher grade of coffee as a result, Whereas most other estates roast beans from different parts of their property together regardless of the size of uniformity.

Hualalai essentially hand-picks each bean to ensure that they are uniform to get the best-tasting roast with no burning or over roasting.

They have a Medium Roast in addition to their Dark Roast option, with both being organic and pesticide-free whole beans.


4. Best Kona Coffee Brand – Mount Thunder Espresso Roast Premium Gourmet Kona Coffee

Description:

• Brand: Mountain Thunder
• Roast Level: Dark Roast
• Item Form: Whole Bean
• Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Pros
• In Whole Bean and Ground Roast Options
• Very Rich Flavor with an Ultra Smooth Aftertaste
• Delicious whether Hot or Cold

Cons: • Noted as being slightly bitter in taste

Mountain Thunder is another great Kona coffee brand that excels at making delicious 100% pure Kona coffee. Their Espresso Roast is a very rich dark roast with chocolate overtones. Their beans are all grown, picked, and roasted in the Kona District of Hawaii, making them as “Kona’ as possible, especially when compared to other brands.

What makes them stand out as one of the better brands is the incredible amount of care they put into the process. The beans are handpicked and slow-roasted to ensure the highest quality and is shipped only a day or two later for maximum freshness.

Their coffee is grown at a high-elevation along the Kona Coffee belt in Hawaii, giving them a level of quality and taste that is literally award-winning.


5, Best 100% Kona Coffee – Green Coffee Traders 100% Hawaiian Roasted Coffee Beans

Description
• Brand: Green Coffee Traders
• Roast Level: MediRoast
• Item Form: Whole Bean
• Caffeine Content: Caffeinated

Pros: • Noted for having a chocolatey, tangy flavor that is very smooth
• Extra Fancy Grade • At a very reasonable and affordable price

Cons:
• Roasting is done sometime before shipping, causing a slight drop in quality when compared to the others on this list

Founded back in 1993, Green Coffee Traders has been a great member of the Kona coffee roasters for over 25 years, noted for their meticulous care and consistency, awarding them a grade of Extra Fancy.


Buyer’s Guide (How to Avoid Kona Coffee Scams)

Since the early 1800s, Kona coffee has been recognized for its stellar taste and deep and rich flavor. As such, you can imagine that it didn’t take long before others wished to profit without putting in the required work. This ultimately led to numerous products being labeled as ’Kona’ in an effort to profit on the name while serving the same bland scorched generic coffee that can be found almost anywhere.

With all that said, what is an effective way of determining what is real and what is a scam?

Top 3 Signs to Know If It is Real or a Scam

Does it Say ”100% Kona” or “Kona Blends”?

Because Kona coffee beans are so expensive and in such a short supply, many fraudulent companies manage to cheat the system by producing what is dubiously known as a ‘Kona Blend.’ This is not what you think and is very much a legal loophole similar to the “all-natural* scam that was heavily pushed in the 2010’s.

Just as the term “all-natural” on a food item does not mean it is healthy or particularly better than an item that doesn’t have that label on it, the same is true from ‘Kona Blends’ not really having any real Kona coffee beans in them. In reality, Hawaiian law dictates that any coffee labeled as ‘Kona Blend’ must have at least 10% certified Kona beans as an ingredient.

This means that companies may have up to 90% of their ingredients coming from other cheaper and inferior sources while still charging prices comparable to the actual Kona rates.

And you know what’s worse than only having 10% Kona in your ‘Kona Blend’0 Having 0% Kona in your “Kona Blend”!

That’s right. While Hawaiian law is strict on this matter, other parts aren’t so stringent and don’t require any certification of Kona at all! Again, and this is all while charging you a premium for literally nothing.

As such, you should only buy Kona that specifies it is from Hawaii and only if it is labeled as 100% Pure Kona Coffee. Any other option runs the risk of you spending a ton of money on something worth $3.

kona coffee for sale

Does it Say if it is from the Kona Region?

Kona from Hawaii is not only going to be authentically certified as actual Kona coffee, but Kona from the Kona Region of Hawaii is going to be at its highest and proper quality.

Why is this important?

Because while the Kona region of Hawaii has the perfect overall climate for growing the coffee beans, this does not extend to the whole of Hawaii itself. In fact, the vast majority of the islands (such as Maui and Kauai as an example) are poorly suited for coffee farming, resulting in much lower quality content as a result.

Now, does this mean that no coffee can be grown throughout Hawaii outside the Kona region? Not at all.

What it does mean is that Kona coffee that is not specifically labeled as being a part of the Kona region is likely to be at a lower quality (sometimes substantially so) than if it were grown in its proper region and area.

If you’ve ever seen the term ‘Hawaiian coffee’ as a term, you’ve probably thought that it was altogether a superior alternative to the more generic brands of coffee. The reality is that outside of the Kona region and its rich volcanic soil and fertile climate, ‘Hawaiian Coffee’ is another marketing ploy to trick you into buying something with the belief it is much better than it actually is In reality. “Hawaiian Coffee’ isn’t all that different from ‘Folgers Coffee.’

What is The Grade?

This, I will admit, is not quite as foolproof as the earlier two methods. Still, a good frame of reference is to look into the overall grade and score that the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDA) has given it.

Generally, the coffee beans are put through a very stringent and very meticulous testing process to determine their overall quality, with each batch of Kona beans getting a grade based on their quality.

This quality grade is determined by the overall size and shape of the beans as well as their moisture content, as well as if there are any flaws noticeable such as scorching or discoloration.

There are eight separate grades a bean can be labeled as:

Extra Fancy

No.1

Select

Prime

No. 3

Natural Prime

Mixed Natural Prime

kona coffee companies

While the top 5 categories are all considered as being particularly high-quality, the ’ideal’ option you should always look for is anything that says ‘Extra Fancy.’ These are generally the most uniform in size and color and have no discernable defects in the beans. This uniformity ultimately results in a more even roasting process and an ultimately smoother and better-tasting coffee.

The reason I mentioned that this is ‘less’ foolproof an option compared to the other two. is that the process for getting graded is an expensive process and not something every manufacturer opts to go through. Similar to the “USDA Organic* certification that is on many organic foods, this does not necessarily mean that something that is not labeled as organic “isn’t* organic Rather, it means they did not go through the process of being certified as being organic.

This is all to say that one of the reasons Kona coffee is so expensive (especially at the ‘Extra Fancy” levels) is due to offsetting the cost of the certification. This is why the first two methods are much more definitive in determining the overall quality is where it should be or if you are ultimately ripped off.

Which Brand is the Best?

While all of the Kona brands on this list are worth considering (with some much stronger contestants and contenders than others), the one that is a definite purchase is none other than our top pick: Blue Horse – Farm Fresh 100% Kona Coffee.

Whereas all had their own strengths and weaknesses to them. Blue Horse consistently sat at the top as having the highest quality and taste for the best value.

konabeans

Is Kona Coffee Really That Good?

Before answering this, it is important to note that coffee in and of itself has a set taste that is emblematic of it, no matter how good the quality is. Because many of its flavors are undertones, you should not expect it to taste like ‘hot chocolate’ as an example.

That being said, Kona coffee has, time and time again, boon at such incredible quality that many people simply cannot go back to ‘average coffee*. It really is that good.

Why is Kona Coffee So Special?

Between the incredible aroma, smooth body, and exotic and delicious taste, Kona coffee stands well above the competition. The reason for this is largely due to its perfect and very unique soil and climate conditions in the Kona region.

Is Kona Coffee High In Caffeine

While you may be able to get decaffeinated in some select locations, the vast majority of Kona coffees have caffeine and often in fairly high amounts. For those that wish for a lower amount, our Top Pick. Blue Horse Farm Fresh 100% Kona Coffee is noted for not having a particularly high amount of caffeine.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you are someone that has only just heard of Kona coffee somewhat recently, be it before or even during reading this article know that it is. Without a doubt, one of the best-tasting coffees you will ever have and will very likely spoil you away from standard generic coffees from now on. It’s something that can be consumed black without any additional supplements to the taste, such as milk, honey sugar, or creamer.

It really is just that good.

Of course, ifs also rife with numerous scams and fraudulent companies looking to profit off being called ‘Kona” without making good on the quality front. If you are someone that has enjoyed coffee well enough but never considered it as anything particularly outstanding, give Kona a try.

I know your world is about to change forever.

About David Dewitt

Hi, my name is David and I come from Columbus, Ohio. I am a amateur photographer, and a coffee lover. I love to write, and don't mind me a cup of joe!