Occasionally people ask “If Peaberry coffee beans are so rare, why don’t you plant more peaberry coffee trees?” Unfortunately, that is not how it works.
How Kona Peaberry beans form
Like all 100% pure Kona coffees, peaberry beans are grown in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii (also known as Hawaii island). In most cases, the berry, or red fruit of coffee plant, develop two halves of a bean. But in very rare instances, some berries only have one “pea” shaped bean. Peaberry beans get their name from this shape . Albeit peaberry beans are a little more oval than round. Continue reading What are Kona Peaberry Coffee Beans?
Information about Kona Coffee Family Farms in Kona
Kona coffee family farms are found in the district of Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, the youngest of the island chain. Furthermore they are on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa mountains western slopes. In the Kona Coffee Belt. On the leeward side of the Big island. For these reasons and more Kona is the tiny area of the world where the world’s best coffee is found. Continue reading Learn More about Kona Coffee Family Farms!
The Kona Coffee Belt is a strip of land running almost parallel to Kona’s famed “gold” coast. This zone, approximately 30 miles long and 2 to 3 miles wide, has proven to have ideal coffee growing conditions. Some say the best natural growing conditions in the world for coffee.
This “lower humid zone” lies between approximately 700 ft and 2500 ft elevation. It begins in the north at approximately Makalei and extends south almost to Oceanview. Also, the zone includes the west slopes of both Hualalai and Mauna Loa mountains.
Average Annual Rainfall
Annual rainfall in the belt is in an ideal amount and distribution. Consequently coffee in Kona typically has not been irrigated.
The winter dry season forces the coffee trees into a state of semidormancy. This period promotes flowering. Following the dry season, rainfall gradually increases as the crop matures. Then, rainfall decreases as the harvest season approaches and the fruiting cycle starts as the winter dry period begins. The last of the beans are harvested during the low rainfall in December-February.
Rainfall increases rapidly after mid-April in the coffee belt. Higher temperatures and high humidity provide the elements for rapid progression of the present crop. Decreasing rainfall in mid-September promotes harvest of the ripe cherries.
Ideal Coffee Growing Temperatures
In the heart of the Kona coffee belt lies CTAHR’s Kona Research station. This station records the annual average temperature is 69°F, the average minimum is 60°F, and the average maximum is 78°F. Simultaneously with drought, seasonal temperatures drop. Thus causing the coffee trees to slow their growth and develop flower buds. Kona Research Station temperatures for December, January and February average 67°F (57°F minimum, 77°F maximum).
Interesting Note: Previous to 1983, the annual rainfall averaged 68 inches. Although since 1983 when Kilauea began erupting, it has been drier, averaging only 49 inches.
History of coffee in Kona is as rich as its taste! With an area of over 4,028 square miles, the island of Hawaii, also known as “The Big Island”, is home to a beautiful region in the west known as the Kona District. The Kona District is home to many different and wonderful attractions, including the Hawaii Ocean Science & Technology Park, the world-famous Ironman World Championship, the rugged “Gold Coast” with some amazing beaches, sea-turtle habitats, and Kona coffee farms.
Coffee isn’t native to Hawaii — it was brought to Kona by Samuel Reverend Ruggles in 1828. He brought arabica cuttings from Brazil to see how well it would take to the Big Island’s climate.
As it turned out, Kona’s daily cycle of morning sunshine, afternoon cloud cover and rich volcanic soil was perfect for the coffee plants. Consequently coffee established itself as a major crop in Hawaii by the end of the 1800s.
A crash in the price of coffee in the late 1890s led to today’s system of independent family farms. The plantations which had been producing most of the coffee beans were forced to sell their land. As a result the workers bought or leased the land. Generations later, many of these plantation worker descendants are still farming Kona coffee on the same land.
Harvesting and Processing – little change throughout history.
Harvesting (picking) and then processing coffee is a tradition in Kona that you’ll see typically from August to January. Farmers and hired pickers collect the red coffee berries. These berries contain the coffee beans. Then they pulp the fruit. Also known as “wet milling”. Separating the inner bean from the skin or outer layer. The sun, breeze and consistent raking dries the parchment beans. With the exception of some machinery this is the same system used for generations. Then after dry milling the green beans are roasted, bagged and sent around the world. And finally, into your coffee cup.
Kona Coffee is at risk as the coffee borer beetle destroys coffee crops!
Some know it as the berry borer beetle or the coffee borer beetle. However, this African pest is now invading Kona and is a real threat to its coffee. This pest is about 1.5 mm long. Females can fly short distances but the males do not have wings. The beetle costs the coffee industry over $500 million each year. Due to Kona’s small harvest, a coffee borer beetle infestation would be devastating. Continue reading Java Lovers, Beware of the Coffee Borer Beetle!
Processing Kona coffee beans, from harvesting the cherries on the trees to roasting the beans, is an extremely labor-intensive process. Coffee cherries, red when they’re at the peak of their maturity, are picked by hand from the months of late August to January. The cherries are fermented and washed in clean, fresh water. Then wet milling separates the beans from the outer skin. The beans are then dried. Next they are dry milled to separate the parchment skin from the green beans. And finally the green beans are roasted and bagged. Continue reading Processing Kona Coffee Beans
For the best coffee drinking experience, drink 100% Pure Kona Coffee – not a blend of Kona beans and beans from other origins. There’s no mistaking pure Kona coffee. For coffee drinkers, there is nothing like pure Kona coffee, but consumers should know about the different Kona coffee blends.
The difference is in the taste – buyer beware of Kona Coffee blends!