Best Hawaiian Kona Coffee Brands

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Top Hawaiian Kona Coffee Brands

If you take the time to enjoy your morning coffee sips, then you shouldn’t compromise on quality for the sake of quick energy fixes. And in the world of coffee, “Kona” is a synonym for quality. 

Treat your taste buds with the ultimate coffee flavor, and see why Kona is the rightful queen of Java. Let this guide help you find the perfect Kona brand for your mug, and start enjoying the best coffee in the world, today!

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Grown in a small family farm in the Kona District in Hawaii, the Blue Horse offers the authentic Kona coffee flavor in the most satisfying way possible. The care invested in the process of growing (hand-picked, shade-grown, and sun-dried) provides richness and complexity that all coffee enthusiasts enjoy. That top-notch quality is the reason why this coffee is our best choice on this list.

The Blue Horse contains 100% Kona coffee with a superb flavor that tastes like bittersweet chocolate. The mild acidity and deep caramel notes increase drinking satisfaction. The tender, aromatic body combines with spicy afternotes for a unique taste.

The beans are whole, dark, and slightly oily. The moisture is between 9 and 12%. For the ultimate taste and flavor, Blue Horse recommends grinding the beans on coarse, with a burr (not blade) grinder.

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The Kona Gold Coffee is a 100% authentic Kona brand that has already won two prestigious awards. Do you need any more reason why it’s the Premium Pick of this list?

Grown with care, under the shades of Ohia trees and Macadamia Nuts on a plantation in Kealakekua, Hawaii, you can rest assured that your beans are jam-packed with authentic flavor.

The coffee is hand-picked and sun-dried before it is air roasted into perfection, obtaining a very clean taste and rich aroma.
Classified as Extra Fancy, with the Kona Gold Coffee, your cup of joe will always be of the highest quality. The Hawaiian Agricultural Society guarantees large, heavy with moisture, and free of blemish Kona Gold beans.

The Butter-scented body with deep dark chocolate notes will boost your morning mood, offering a taste like no other. Tones of brown sugar and molasses tangle with sweet and fruity hints of peach, citrus, and raspberry for a recognizable flavor that your taste buds will appreciate. If you want your Java gentle and smooth but with a robust energizing kick, then Kona Gold Coffee is the perfect choice for you.

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If you appreciate a good mix of quality and value, then you will be pretty satisfied with the Koloa Estate Kona coffee. And if you belong in the eco-friendly bunch, then this is most certainly the best Java for your coffee mug.

Cultivated in an eco-friendly environment, in one of the largest irrigation coffee farms in the world (and the largest coffee farm in Hawaii), the Kauai Koloa Estate has a lot to offer.

Made from premium and 100% pure Arabica beans, this Kona coffee is rich in smoothness and great aroma. Medium roasted and bright, this coffee brand will win the hearts of those who enjoy their coffee mellow and without a strong kick. And the best part? Thanks to the smooth and light flavor spiced with floral notes, the Kauai Kona coffee is perfect for any time of the day.

The amazing flavor packed in a 2-pound package makes it our best value.

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If you are looking for a hint of Hawaii in your mug, but without breaking your bank, then choosing a Kona Blend is probably a good choice. With only 10% of Kona, the Lava Lei coffee can give you a taste of the Big Island’s excellence without having to ditch your regular coffee.

Coming straight from the Mauna Loa slopes, spiced with the minerals from the volcanic soil, touched equally by sun and rain, and grown and harvested with care, the Bay View Farm has been offering prime quality since 1984.

Combining India and Hawaii, Kona coffee with rare Arabian beans, Lava Lei will provide you with a rich and smooth medium roast for a superior coffee experience. Mild depth, well-balanced tones, and a hint of freshness, this Kona blend is a true gourmet coffee.

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If you want the real deal, the full experience, and the true 100% taste of Kona beans, then the Landor Hawaiian coffee can surely help you out. Bringing Hawaii close to you, this coffee brand will win your heart over after the first sip.

Rich and aromatic, full-bodied, but not too strong to overwhelm your palate, the Hawaiian Kona is a definite must-try. The medium roast will offer your taste buds a smooth richness with sweet notes that are highly enjoyable. Pure beans for the ultimate satisfaction!

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For those that cannot decide between Colombian and Hawaiian and equally enjoy sweeter blends and more intense sharpness, the Isles Kona Coffee is the perfect solution. Although it only contains 10% of Kona, the combination with regular Arabica beans is so exquisite, that anything more than that will overpower the balance and affect the taste negatively.

While it may not offer the pure Hawaiian coffee experience, be sure that this brand provides a top-notch flavor with enough hint of Kona to give you a taste of superiority. Made with some of the finest beans grown all over the world, the Classic Hawaiian Isles blend is a signature roast that most coffee enthusiasts enjoy.

This coffee blend is smooth, roasted to medium, and not too overpowering, which makes it suit most tastes and is deeply enjoyed by Java lovers.

A great choice for Kona newbies and those who want to see what the Hawaiian coffee fuss is all about.

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Grown with care on a single estate, hand-picked, and roasted to perfection, the Royal Kona coffee lives up to its name.

The roast is medium, but once you take a sip, the light and lively taste of the liquid will surprise your palate. Smooth, clean, and without intense afternotes, the Royal Kona is perfect for those that do not enjoy their coffee strong. There are absolutely no bitter hints after the sips, which provides a superior and lush drinking experience.

The sweetness of the fruity notes dance lightly on the tongue, providing mild sharp kicks, enough to energize but not overpowering.

And if you happen to fall in love with the taste, you’d be happy to hear that there is a decaf option that tastes just like the real thing – the Peaberry coffee. Pure and alkaline coffee, feel free to refill your mug many times.

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If you are looking for a blend, here is another great option for your Java mug. Made with superb Hawaiian Kona and milder coffee beans from Central America, the Peerless Hawaiian Blend offers a delicately delicious taste, which makes this Kone blend one of the best you can find.

The blend may be made in San Francisco, but Peerless sources the most precious beans from the largest coffee-growing countries in the world, creating a superb Java that satisfies all tastes.

Peerless roasts the coffee to medium and quickly packages the lightly brown beans, preserving the freshness and locking most of their flavor inside the bag. The Peerless Hawaiian blend provides a rounded cup packed with rich taste and pleasant aroma that will kickstart even the laziest of days.

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Kona Bloom is an award-winning Hawaiian coffee farm that specializes in producing gourmet Kona coffee in small batches. And since, on average, only 10-20 percent of the Kona beans (ever!) receive such a premium rating, you can see how impressive having such a prestigious award is.

Growing 100% pure Kona beans, harvesting by hand, roasting to perfect medium, and immediately packaging to preserve the deepest flavor and aroma possible, the Kona Bloom beans will provide your mug with coffee of the highest grade.

This coffee is grown from Kona Typica – the best Arabica variety that gives Kona coffee its recognizable and exceptional flavor. Kona bloom is sweet, bright, light, and smooth, providing a soft and buttery mouthful. Savoring the silky sips of this coffee, you will be able to detect cacao, toffee, honey butter, peachy tones, and a floral touch. Serving it black and sugarless with a fruity dessert is when this pure flavor is most intense and deeply satisfying.

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Kona Java is one of the best-known Hawaiian coffee brands that can brag about having the perk of growing their beans on rich volcanic soil where lava used to flow. That uniqueness is what makes drinking Kona a highly enjoyable one-of-a-kind experience.

The beans that Kona Java grows are 100% pure Kona, and they are all harvested, roasted, and packaged at their coffee plantation. And if that impresses you, wait until you hear that they still use the same old and unique growing and processing techniques that each generation passes down to the next. Pretty sleek, right?

The roast can be dark and medium, robust, or lighter in flavor, but each version offers a smooth and energizing cup. The delicious mouthful that the Kona Java provides will satisfy every coffee enthusiast. The aftertaste has a slightly bitter tone that boosts the mood, but it is not strong enough to overpower. This coffee provides a pleasant taste which most coffee drinks will enjoy.

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Mountain Thunder Coffee grow their beans in the leeward Hawaiian side, in an ideal coffee-growing environment, which can be detected in each mouthful of brew of this Kona.

The beans are harvested, thoroughly cleaned, and then put through a sorter, which automatically discards the yellow, orange, and black beans, which carry an overpoweringly robust and bitter taste. With that in mind, you can rest assured that your mug will get only the finest and high-quality beans.

But that’s not all. After they are carefully selected, the prime and healthy beans are then roasted by the skilled Roast Masters, with the help of the greatest Diedrich Roasters. The beans are roasted in small batches only, for the sake of keeping the optimal flavor and aroma.

It can be either a French roast – stronger in taste and more energizing, or Vienna roast – chocolatey with a touch of cinnamon, with nutty afternotes and a lighter taste.

The most popular type is the Breakfast Roast, which is a medium-dark, bold but not too strong, and less caffeinated than similar blends

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If you are looking for a unique roast and a different coffee drinking experience, then perhaps you should give the Hualalai Estate Kona a try. Pure and 100% Kona coffee from the Hawaiian slopes, it is designed to please.

Smooth and rich coffee with much complex flavor than what other brands offer. This pure Kona is aged for two whole years before it is packaged and shipped to you, which increases the maturity and intensifies the flavor. But if you think that this makes the beans overpoweringly rich, you are so wrong. Thanks to this processing technique, the beans lose some acidity, become smoother, and are much more pleasant to the palate.

The Hualalai Estate Kona is free of pesticides and organically grown, and the roast is medium-dark and extremely satisfying.

And that’s not even the best part. This item is of limited quality and one-of-a-kind, which makes it even more desirable. If you find it appealing, you might want to hurry up and make your order while still available.

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If you are looking for pure and 100% Kona beans of the highest quality, then the Green Coffee Traders can surely help you out. Although the coffee is not made in Hawaii, but in North America, this brand is proud to say that they source only the finest beans, so there is no compromise on quality.

Handled with care and roasted by hand, the Green Coffee Traders Kona has been providing consistent quality for more than 25 years. Their signature is the City Roast – a deep brown, just past medium roast, that is rich and smooth, packed with tons of flavor and aroma. No bitter afternotes, no strong kicks – just a silk finish with a slightly more robust hint. Fresh and delicious and suitable for most tastes.

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If you are into scented, flavorful, and deeply aromatic coffee, then there is no doubt that you will love this blend. Combining the recognizable Kona flavor with some of the finest Arabica beans from all over the world, the Hawaiian Isles have managed to create a unique blend that fails to disappoint.

Add vanilla and macadamia nut to the mix, and you are in for some flavorful and unforgettable sips that you will savor with absolute pleasure.

Grown (the Kona) on the coast of Big Island and handled with meticulous care, under ideal growing and processing conditions, you can rest assured that his blend, even with 10% of Kona content, brings Hawaii straight to your kitchen.

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If you want your cup of Joe straight from Maui, you cannot fill your mug with a better brew than the one made with this coffee. A trusted and family farm from the West Maui Mountains, grows, handles with care, picks carefully, and roasts daily with one goal in mind only – satisfying your coffee-craving palate.

Pure Kona beans roasted to medium, with deep flavor, buttery notes, and preserved freshness. Packaged with the one-way “Stay Fresh Valve” that allows the coffee to breathe, while keeping the oxygen locked out.  

These 100% Kona beans are sold ground and in 7-ounce packages.

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Cameron’s Coffee Roasted Ground Coffee

If you are looking for pure and 100% Kona beans of the highest quality, then the Green Coffee Traders can surely help you out. Although the coffee is not made in Hawaii, but in North America, this brand is proud to say that they source only the finest beans, so there is no compromise on quality.

Handled with care and roasted by hand, the Green Coffee Traders Kona has been providing consistent quality for more than 25 years. Their signature is the City Roast – a deep brown, just past medium roast, that is rich and smooth, packed with tons of flavor and aroma. No bitter afternotes, no strong kicks – just a silk finish with a slightly more robust hint. Fresh and delicious and suitable for most tastes.

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Why is Hawaii Kona Coffee So Special?

If you are a Mark Twain fan and an avid coffee consumer, then you are most likely familiar with the writer’s famous praise saying that the rich flavor of these beans is like no other. Sorry Twain, but your influence is not what made Kona so popular!

When someone mentions quality coffee, the first thing that pops into mind is Kona. And there is a good reason for that. The exquisite taste is, obviously, why Kona is a specialty coffee that cannot be dumped in the regular coffee pile, but behind that incredible flavor hide the perfect growing and processing environment and an ideal microclimate:

  • Kona coffee is grown on volcanic-rich soil on the slopes of Kona Mountains, Hawaii
  • The beans get tons of sun but are also perfectly shaded to avoid overexposure
  • The ideal temperature around 70 degrees F
  • There are regular afternoon doses of rain
  • The soil has ideal drainage
  • There is little wind
  • The nights in this region are mild and not too harsh for the plant
  • Constant growing conditions without too many elements of surprise

Kona Blends Explained

Kona coffee is not for every pocket. The exquisite taste comes at a high price that not everyone can afford. To bring Hawaii closer to everyone’s mug, many retailers have started selling “Kona Coffee Blends”.

As the name suggests, Kona blends are, well, blends of different types of coffee. For a blend to be eligible to stick a “Kona Blend” on their package, 10% of the coffee beans in the blend have to be pure Kona. For a 1-pound package of coffee, that means that 1.6 ounces of 100% Kona beans are mixed with cheaper (but probably still of high quality) imported Arabica beans.

Bottom line is – some of these blends are definitely worth trying. However, a Kona blend doesn’t even come close to the real deal. Only by brewing 100% pure Kona will you be able to taste the full Kona experience.

Kona Coffee Grades

The coffee that’s grown in Hawaii probably goes under the most precise testing. Every single batch of Kona is to receive a grade that is based on the moisture content, size, and shape of the beans. The beans are also inspected for other possible negatives.

There are eight possible grades that Kona coffee can receive, listed from highest to lowest quality.

#1 Extra Fancy (high-class coffee beans that are uniform in size and shape with no flaws)

#2 Fancy

#3 No. 1

#4 Select

#5 Prime

#6 No. 3

#7 Natural Prime

#8 Mixed Natural Prime

The grade of the beans is usually stated on the package. If the package does not state the grade of the beans, then in most cases, they fall under the Prime category.

Why Kona Coffee is Expensive

Greatness comes at a cost! If you are thinking that it is obvious that you should be asked to pay more for a more satisfying experience, greater taste, richer flavor, and absolutely inviting aroma, then you are right to some extent. 

Kona coffee is a one-of-a-kind type of Java that is totally worth spending the extra bucks for. But although it probably does play a small part, the taste of the coffee here does not determine the price. In fact, if you were to buy a coffee of a similar quality that has been grown anywhere else in the world, you’d probably have to pay a lot less. So, why are Kona beans so expensive?

The thing that costs the most when it comes to growing and processing Kona beans, is the labor. The picking of the beans is the most costly part, and for most coffee cultivators in this region, that gets pricey. If you add the cost of land, and the use of fertilizers or other maintenance processes, that adds up.

Add the costs that go hand-in-hand such as roasting, water and electrical bills, marketing, material such as bags, packaging and shipping, mortgage… and you can see how a higher price per pound is actually fair.

The bottom line is – the price may be high, but the experience is so worth it!

Tips for Buying Kona Coffee

When you mention Kona beans to a bunch of people, at least one of them will tell you that they have been scammed. But have they really? People are usually misinformed, and as soon as they see the term “Kona” on the package, they assume they are getting the real deal. But read more carefully and you will see that the package states that the coffee is actually a blend.

If there is no “100% Kona Coffee” on the package, then beware. Do not buy coffee that says “Kona Roast” or “Kona Blend” unless you are actually looking to buy a blend of Kona that contains 10% pure Kona beans.

Otherwise, look for the 100% purity sign. Another thing you should look for is “Estate-Grown” or “Single-Sourced”.

Also, even though there are some great Kona brands that import and process the coffee outside the district of Kona, it is best you stick to the ones that are grown, processed, roasted, and packaged on a single estate, for the best experience.

Quick History of Kona Coffee

The plant we know as Kona coffee today was first brought to the Kona district of Hawaii in 1828 by Samuel Reverend Ruggles, and it was actually a cutting originating from Brazil. The one who established the Kona coffee brand in the late 19s century was the English merchant Henry Greenwell.

Primarily, Kona coffee was grown on large plantations, but after the market crash that happened in 1899, the ones that took over were the workers. Most of these families were from Japan and the Philippines, and they worked together as a family, producing crops and gradually expanding the acreage.

Today, there are 800 Kona farms in the district of Kona, and as of 1997, there are less than 2,230 acres of Kona coffee beans, with the production yielding 2 million pounds of green beans.

A Guide to Hawaiian Coffee Islands

Kona coffee is a Hawaiian coffee, but if the coffee is Hawaiian, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is Kona. Confused? It’s quite simple, actually. Kona coffee is a type of coffee that is grown in the Big Island’s district of Kona. But there are also other coffee-growing regions on this island. Knowing the difference between these regions and coffee types will up your experience and provide insight that may be helpful when shopping for Java.

Kona Coffee

The coffee grown in the Kona region is some of the most well-recognized types in the world. The variety of the region adds to the quality. The coffee grown in lower slopes will brew a mild and smooth cup with a chocolatey taste, sweet note, and a very balanced flavor. The beans grown in the higher-altitude estates are deeper in taste, richer, buttery-like, and leave a lingering silky afternote with a floral touch.

Puna Coffee

Most of the Puna coffee beans grow in lava, or just above it. And although Hawaii does not officially recognize this region as a coffee growing, this part of the island has also a lot of coffee-cultivating experience.

Puna is the most moisture-rich region on this island. The coffee grown here is rich, slightly acidic, and has a mineral-loaded body.

Ka’u Coffee

The soil in this region is rich, with good growing conditions. The coffee farms here are located on about 1500’ to 2100’ above the sea level, and the taste is malt-like, syrupy, rich in floral notes, and with a complex body.

Hamakua Coffee

The coffee farms in this marvelous-looking region are small and scattered all over the place. The production of Java here is limited, but if you can get your hands on Hamakua coffee, you will be pleasantly surprised. This coffee provides a round and smooth cup, with a nutty taste and chocolatey notes. The low acidity gives a delightful pleasure to the palate.

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