Sun all throughout the year. Amazing reef. Wonderful sandy beaches. And, yeah, great surfing sites. Those are the usual reasons why tourists across the globe flock to Kona, one of Hawaii’s most beautiful districts. But there is something more to Kona than those. What does Kona has to offer aside from its usual natural attractions?
The answer to that dates back many, many years ago when a heavily bearded American missionary named Samuel Ruggles brought cuttings of Brazilian Arabica coffee to Kona. From then one Kona coffee has become one of the most sought after coffee in the world. This coffee is so amazing that it is responsible for popularizing Kona across the globe. More than its handsome beaches and other natural wonders, Kona is much more known because of the great coffee beans it produces.
Kona coffee beans are generally classified into five grades, namely, Extra Fancy, Fancy, Number 1, Peaberry, and Prime. Peaberry is somewhat different from the other grades. Usually, cherries contain two flat-sided coffee beans which can be separated upon drying. Peaberry, on the other hand, comes from unique cherries that only hold one oval-shaped bean. Cherries that produce such rare beans make up only 3 to 5 percent of the total harvest. So Peaberry Kona is quite rare and pricey. In fact, it is aptly called the “Champagne of Kona.” But it is very worth its cost because a whole beans exude smooth and full-bodied taste that is the joy of both ordinary coffee drinkers and sophisticated connoisseurs.
The other grades of Kona are classified according to their bean sizes and defects. Extra Fancy has the largest and least defective beans, followed by Fancy, Number 1, and Prime. When it comes to cost, Extra Fancy generally has a higher price tag compared to the three other grades. But the cost of buying Extra Fancy Kona is well worth it considering its rich and smooth flavors.
All in all, though, all grades of Kona have that distinct special flavor that is beloved by coffee lovers. And why do Kona coffee beans have such amazing flavors? The secret mainly lies in the way Kona coffee is grown and processed. Kona is grown in the slopes of mountains that contain volcanic soil rich in nutrients and minerals. Arabica coffee loves such kind of soil. But isn’t the rather harsh tropical climate of Hawaii not conducive to Arabica tree? After all, Arabica hates a lot of sun. Nature has a great hand in solving this problem. All throughout morning, the sun shines fiercely all over Kona. But in the afternoon humid clouds roll all over Arabica plantations, giving coffee trees much-needed shade from the intense sun rays. The end result is that coffee grows well and produces high-quality beans.