Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kona Coffee

In 1827 while King Kamehameha II visited Europe, he sent the first coffee trees home to the Hawaiian Islands. Coffee was grown on all of the islands until sugar cane and pineapple toke over as the cash crops.

The Kona coast on the Big Island continued to grow coffee because a handful of small farmers, retired cane workers were given mountain land judged unsuitable for cane production. Today, as sugar mills and pineapple canneries shut down, coffee plantations are reappearing on all the islands.

Kona coffee is a protected label. It designates the specific Kona region on the Big Island. Exact percentages of any mix must display on the label. Kona, however is not a quality designation, and there is no quality designation for Kona coffee. Kona coffee is not organic or shade grown, nor is the decaf organically decaffeinated. Only the Peaberry is hand picked. None of the Kona is hand picked, but rather all is machine harvested from big open field company farms.

I have visited these fields and checked the prices and the facts. Kona costs $31.99 / Maui including delivery. Decaf is $34.99 / Lb.

To its credit the taste is full bodied rich with a pleasant after taste. None that I tasted rated as high as my wife's Earth Friendly Dark Roast and none shared the distinct quality gradation of Guatemala's SHB (strictly hard bean).

The Kona lable demands a premium price