Kona coffee is a small, single-harvest coffee grown only on an island in Hawaii, in less than six square kilometers, making it a difficult-to-spot high quality product--perfectly suited to food fraud. With its unique flavor, the very term "Kona" has become synonymous with high quality and authenticity. Fortunately, with increased awareness, tougher standards and transparency have been used to combat this problem.
The production of Kona coffee requires the same farming methods as any other type of coffee, although farmers are often not paid at the same wages and do not receive the same benefits as larger coffee plantation operations. Due to the limited area and small harvest size, production of Kona requires high standards of quality control. Farmers, however, are able to save considerable money by using minimal machinery and less labor. In order to protect the integrity of their product, they follow strict guidelines of production and handling.
Because Kona is such a small and delicate bean, farmers carefully choose their growing location. Kona is found in only one specific part of the world, so the best conditions are located in places where the temperatures are cool enough to allow for proper growth and to keep the beans from roasting, which can damage the coffee. In addition to this, farmers must ensure that there is enough water to sustain the growing Kona plants.
To maintain high quality, farmers grow their Kona beans at the right time, usually between May and June when the weather is warm and the weather is pleasant. Since Kona is a very seasonal crop, it must be picked up the night before it is needed to be ready for shipping. For this reason, farmers have to be alert for signs of a cold snap, such as a decline in crops.
Kona also requires specific processing steps before it is shipped off to retailers. It is first roasted to create a darker and fuller flavor, which is then infused into other beverages and mixed into coffee. Kona also has an oily, distinctive aroma that cannot be masked by artificial additives.
Kona's uniqueness is also what is keeping it out of many grocery stores because it cannot be processed like other beans. To protect Kona, farmers must ensure that farmers grow only the best Kona, select the best farming conditions and pay farmers fair prices.
In addition to producing premium quality Kona beans, farmers also do their part to protect the environment by reducing waste and encouraging recycling. They ensure that they harvest their own coffee rather than purchasing it from local suppliers who, in many cases, do not take steps to conserve water or use efficient and effective methods for composting and other waste management techniques.
With the proper care, Kona coffee beans can provide consumers with some of the finest coffee available in the world. Whether you're looking for a gourmet cup of Java or just need a simple cup to tide you over, there is a great selection of Kona on the market to fit your needs.