(Cover photo: Uchida Coffee Farm, Hawaii. Credit Wikipedia.)
When it comes to coffee beans, there are a few sources that are considered particularly elusive due to their small crop sizes, ideal growing conditions, and resulting unique flavor profiles. Hawaiian coffee is one such type of bean, where the super-fertile soil of Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes in the Kona districts of the Big Island lead to some amazing product. Historically owned and managed by a largely Japanese (and Japanese-American!) population in the early 20th century, Kona coffee is so sought after that specific legal nomenclature had to be put in place to qualify, say, a canned coffee product, as having sufficient Kona bean concentration to use its moniker.
The fine people at Coffeed managed to get their hands on some, and as such I absolutely had to try some.
Coffeed’s Hawaii Kona Fancy is a very lightly roasted bean, capturing a sweet, almost vegetal flavor that I haven’t experienced in many other coffees. It has an almost green tea-like quality, with relatively wet grounds before any hot water even touches the beans. Preparing this coffee through an Aeropress resulted in a bright yet assertive taste, devoid of any ashen bitterness that traditional roasts or sourcing might have.
It has an almost green tea-like quality, with relatively wet grounds before any hot water even touches the beans.
Interestingly, in researching Kona coffee, I found that the traditional hemispherical shape of Coffeed’s product is actually known as a Type I bean, one of the several types of beans that arises and is distributed as Kona coffee. Type II beans refer to peaberry type coffee beans, which arise when a single seed occupies the space where two seeds normally grow. The flavors that arise from these more-spherical beans are said to be unique due to their more uniform heating profile during roasting – which, when combined with the scarcity of Kona coffee of any sort, results in a truly unique flavor experience.
I must try that at some point. But, this by no means reduces the wonderful flavors of Coffeed’s beans. If you have the opportunity, I strongly recommend trying it! The premium is definitely worth your time!