You know a thing or two about coffee. You frequent coffee shops, you buy whole beans from local roasters, and you’ve got your own grinder. You spend time trying new coffee beans and new coffee brewing processes.
But you’re also still learning. The world of coffee is vast, varied, and complicated. You had no idea that one little bean could be grown, roasted, and prepared in so many different ways.
You’ve probably learned a little about coffee growing regions throughout the world, and you’re probably paid attention to the origins of the beans you buy, and you’ve probably heard of some beans that you need to try.
Why Are Kona Coffee Beans So Special?
One of those types is probably Kona coffee beans. You might have heard baristas expound on the merits of this exotic bean, and you might have noticed it for sale in shops with a pretty hefty price tag. But why is it so expensive, and why is it so renowned?
To understand that you need to know more about how Kona coffee beans are grown, harvested, and processed. Here is everything you need to know about what makes Kona coffee beans so special.
The Volcanic Soil
A big part of what makes Hawaiian Kona coffee so special is that it is grown in enriched volcanic soil on coffee farms throughout the Big Island of Hawaii. Though other Hawaiian coffee may mistakenly be referred to as Kona coffee, only beans that are grown on Kona coffee farms in the Kona district, a 30-mile swath of land on the Southwest coast of the Big Island, can truly be called Kona coffee beans.
Think of it the same way that you would think of champagne or scotch. Because it can only be grown in such a limited space it is automatically a more sought after descendant of the Arabica bean, but why can it only grow in Kona?
The volcanic soil is the answer. After an ancient volcano erupted and covered the land in lava it became highly enriched in nutrients. Who knew, but volcanic soil is so lush and rich it could grow just about anything. As the Huffington Post put it, “destruction was followed by creation.”
The Perfect Climate
The mild tropical climate also plays a huge roll in how well Kona beans grow. The temperature weather means that trees get plenty of rain and sunshine on a mountainside that also gets plenty of run-off.
That means that the coffee trees stay well watered without getting waterlogged, and they get sunshine without getting burned. They get the perfect weather, and in turn the trees yield fruit that is rich in flavor.
Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation
Thunder Mountain coffee plantation is one of the reasons that Hawaiian Kona coffee grows so well and is so desired. It is the largest organic Kona farm in the region, and it sits at the highest and steepest elevation. Because of this everything must be done by hand. Mountainsides don’t mix too well with machines, and the plantation uses no pesticides, herbicides, or GMO’s in the growing of its coffee trees.
Everything about the Kona coffee beans grown at Mountain Thunder coffee plantation is authentic and natural, which provides a big draw to customers who are concerned about the conditions under which their coffee is grown. They can trust that not only is the Kona coffee rich and robust in flavor, but its grown organically, in a way that is friendly to the environment and the farmers.
The Special Harvesting Process
But it’s also the way that the beans are processed that helps to make them special. Kona coffee beans begin as coffee cherries that are handpicked from the trees. The cherries are stripped of their skins and soaked in water for nearly an entire day before they are set out on racks in temperature controlled rooms to dry out properly. Keeping the temperature consistent is crucial in helping the beans to dry at the precise rate to ensure maximum flavor.
From there the beans are separated by size, color and type, and they are ready to be roasted or blended in with other types of coffee beans to create unique new flavors. Kona coffee blends consist of at least 10% Kona coffee beans and they are a popular way to get the robust flavor of Kona while being able to pay a more affordable price.
One Special Mean Bean
It’s no wonder that Kona coffee beans are so special. They can only grow in a tiny region of Hawaii, and they essentially grow in paradise. Do you ever find yourself fantasizing about how wonderful your life would be if you lived in Hawaii? It turns out coffee beans feel pretty much the same way.