Is it the weather? The soil? The ocean? Or is it the perfect harmony in which they all come together? Only one place in the world do the conditions come together to provide the perfect setting to grow the elite coffee beans that go into each cup of Hawaiian Kona coffee. Mark Twain stated it so eloquently, “Kona Coffee has a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it by what name you please.” ~ 1866, Letters from Hawaii.
Kona coffee can be traced back to around 1825 when John Wilkinson brought a few seedlings to Oahu from Brazil, and in 1828 missionary Rev. Samuel Ruggles en route to Kona carried a few young trees to his new home in West Hawaii to plant as ornamentals. They prospered in the hospitable climate and today’s coffee industry was born.
Coffee requires a very specific combination of sun, soil, and water. It is successfully grown in only a limited number of locations round the world. The Kona coast provides just the right combination of the three. The magical diurnal cycle of bright sunny mornings, humid rainy afternoons, and mild nights create perfect growing conditions for exotic plants to flourish. The trees thrive on the volcanic rocky land, and mild frost-free temperatures.
For centuries Kona has been revered by the elite and quality seekers of quintessential coffees. The Kona Coffee growing district is only about 2 miles wide by 20 miles long, a relatively small area compared to other coffee growing regions. The Kona region contains approximately 600 independent coffee farms. Most are small, usually three to seven acres in size. Traditionally, as with most farms, they are a family concern. The relatively small annual harvest only serves to increase the demand for coffees from Kona.
In addition to the relative small quantity of coffee, a large part of what makes Kona coffee special is the tremendous extra care taken in growing, harvesting, processing, and grading of the beans. Even a single defective bean can taint the flavor of an entire pot or pound of coffee, so repeated meticulous sorting, both mechanically and by hand, is used to ensure maximum flavor in every cup.
Donna Straw is the founder of Kona Girls Coffee Company, which has been disturbing 100% Kona Coffee for years. Find out more at http://www.konacoffeeclub.org