Hawai’i is the only state in the USA that grows coffee, and Kona coffee in particular has a reputation for being both very mild in flavor and very expensive. It’s hard to get your hands on 100% Kona coffee on the mainland; finding blends is much more common. Certain roasters do offer fresh-roasted Kona beans (for instance, Peet’s Coffee has 100% Kona available on their website, roasted once a week). However, with so many varieties of coffee available at more reasonable price points, splurging on 100% Kona wasn’t really a priority for me. However, when one of my students told me she was going on vacation with her family to Hawai’i, I couldn’t resist asking her if she would mind bringing back some coffee. Happily, she obliged, and this was one of the two types of coffee she brought back for me. Thanks, K! 🙂
Whole bean: These beans looked to be roasted to about a Full City level; nice medium roast. There was the barest hint of cherry, but overall the aroma was simply a strong “coffee” scent, the kind that anyone that enjoys coffee would smell and go, “ahhhh.”
French press: Simple flavor of semi-sweet chocolate. One-dimensional, but a good dimension if you enjoy chocolate!
Chemex: This method yielded a sweeter cup, that tasted more of milk chocolate. It had a rather delicate fragrance, that wasn’t as assertive as the whole beans.
AeroPress: Brewed at 175 degrees F, this cup tasted of chocolate-covered almonds. This was the smoothest cup of the four, with no additional water needed (other than what is used for brewing). I do encourage drinking this as a concentrate!
V60: Very similar to the AeroPress cup, with a hint of butter on the finish. Delicious.
Espresso: Based on how much I liked this coffee in the AeroPress, I opted to try this as espresso. It had a lovely reddish-brown color, but the flavor was pedestrian. Admittedly, I didn’t do very many pulls of this bean in my espresso machine before writing this review, but I definitely enjoyed it more when brewed as drip coffee.
Summary: 100% Kona coffee is expensive and difficult to get unless you live in Hawai’i, but if your coffee tastes run to the chocolate/almond/smooth side, it might be worth getting your hands on some as a splurge! I liked this particular coffee best in the AeroPress and V60.
From the roaster: Kona coffee is grown only in the Kona district of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Most Kona coffee is the Typica variety. Not all Konas are alike. Depending on altitude, soil, nutrition, pulping, drying, and roasting, Kona coffees can vary greatly. MauiGrown Coffee Company Store has selected a Kona coffee with what we consider is a Classic Kona Taste.
This 100% Kona is not available on the MauiGrown website (as of press time), but here is a link to their online store: MauiGrown Coffee Company Store