Brewing Coffee Guide – how to get the most flavor!

Brewing Coffee in a French Press

Step by step instructions on grinding, brewing and making the perfect cup of Kona Coffee, every time!

Kona coffee is a rare, expensive treat that stimulates all the senses. So why do anything less than put some effort into brewing? As you’ll see, it doesn’t take that much more time.

Choose your favorite Kona bean

We stock all bean varieties, to fulfill your need for quality coffee. Choose from:

 

The Grind

Grinding beans is a treat all its own, with its rich, spicy aroma. Also a secret to good coffee often starts with its grind. It’s important to know what of grind works best for the flavor you’re chasing — whether its coarse, medium or fine.

Coarse Grind French Press, Toddy Makers (cold brew method), Vacuum Coffee Maker, and Percolaters
Medium/Fine Grind Auto Drip Makers (with flat bottom filters). Drip Makers (with cone-shaped filters)
Fine Grind Stove Top Espresso Pots
Super Fine Grind Espresso Machines

 

Amount of coffee:

Generally, a good rule to follow is to use 2 tablespoons of coffee beans for every 6 to 8 ounces of water.  Adjust for taste.

Using a blade grinder:

Load your fresh beans in the top of the grinder. Once the grinder is loaded, use the grinder in short bursts  a few seconds each so the coffee doesn’t overheat. Also shake the grinder as it’s grinding to get an even grind size.

Using a Burr Grinder:

Burr grinders offer coffee drinkers greater precision and consistent grind size. It’s a more expensive alternative to other grinding methods, so some time needs to spent figuring out what burr grind works best for you.

The water: 

We recommend using filtered water for brewing. The better the water, the better the end result. Public water systems tend to add undesirable flavors.

Brew your Kona coffee

It’s not enough to bring your water to a boil. You want that water the right temperature  — between 195 and 205 fahrenheit. Just below boiling. Any hotter, and you’ll run the risk of burning the grinds when you add the water.

Kona Coffee in a french press
Kona Coffee steeping in a french press with nice crema.

We recommend using a French press. Add 1 rounded tablespoon of ground coffee for each 4 ounces of water to the French press. Stir the coffee, allowing the  grounds to interact with the hot water.  Wait 3 to 5 minutes for the coffee to steep, then plunge slowly. Complete instructions for getting the most from your French press here.

Drip coffee maker and pour over:

If you’re using a drip coffee maker or using the pour over technique, we recommend using a natural paper filter.  Cloth filters can add undesirable tastes to your cup of Kona. For drip or pour over brewing use the approximately the same amount of coffee described above.

Enjoy!

History of Kona Coffee – Rich as its Taste!

Reverend Samuel Ruggles

 The History of Coffee in Kona

Uchida Coffee Farm at Kona Living History Farm
Uchida Coffee Farm on Kona Living History Farm

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.

Reverend Samuel Ruggles
Reverend Samuel Ruggles (wikipedia)

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.

Order yours here!

Grading Kona Beans – What do the bean sizes mean

Artisan Roasted Coffee

Grading by bean size and amount of defects.

The dry mill grades the green coffee beans according to size and number of defects in a given batch.

Grading the Beans – Size differences

Fancy or Kona #1 beans make up about 75 percent of the harvest. These are the beans most coffee drinkers are grinding when they’re making their cup.

Extra Fancy beans  make up about 20 percent of a farm’s crop. They are heavier and larger. They are the biggest in size and will have the least amount of defects.

Peaberry  is the rarest of the beans, typically accounting for 3-5% of the total crop. They are genetic anomalies. Normally, two coffee beans are in a berry. However, in the case of peaberry, there’s just one bean. Regular coffee beans are also flat on one side and round on the other, but peaberries look like almost like little footballs. They have a lower acidity and because of their shape, they roast differently and have a slightly different taste. Connoisseurs say they are the smoothest of all and have more of a chocolaty flavor than the other Kona beans .

Estate:

Also, you might hear the term Estate Grown. Estate means all the beans are all from the same farm. Estate is usually not graded so it may contain a mix of all grades of Kona.

No matter what kind of bean you choose to drink, make it 100 Percent Pure Kona Coffee. Its balanced flavor, low acidity and world renowned quality is unparalleled.

Processing Kona Coffee Beans

Drying coffee on a hoshidana

Processing

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”

Kona Coffee Blends — Know What You’re Drinking

Fresh brewed Kona Coffee in the cup with fresh roasted beans

Pure Kona Coffee beats a Kona blend every time!

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!

100% Pure Kona Coffee label
Be Sure it is 100% Kona.

Continue reading “Kona Coffee Blends — Know What You’re Drinking”

What Is the Best Coffee Roaster for Home?

Best coffee roaster

What Is the Best Coffee Roaster for Home?

Since the quality of coffee begins to decline after roasting, many coffee drinkers consider roasting their own coffee at home. Ordinarily, when you roast coffee yourself, you know when it is fresh. Moreover, you control the level of roasting and can achieve the perfect cup at the end. While coffee is green, its quality will not drop for up to one year counting from the arrival date. However, to roast coffee at home, you need a purpose built roasting machine. So, what is the best coffee roaster for home?

Best Coffee Roaster
Darker Roast

Things to Consider When Choosing a Roaster

Generally, you cannot say that a particular machine is the best coffee roaster. There are many options that you should consider and make a decision based on your preferences. When you choose a roaster, think about your budget, your desired roast, and the amount of coffee you normally drink.

First, if you like dark roasts, choose Gene Cafe or air roaster because they work better with dark roasts. Second, depending on the machine, you will be working with 4-12 oz. batches. Usually, 4 oz. of green coffee will result in 26-42 oz. of brewed coffee (depending on how strong you make your coffee). A Gene Cafe or a HotTop will make twice more coffee, while a Behmor 1600 will make up to a full pound of light roast. So, if you drink a lot of coffee, you should consider a larger drum roaster instead of an air roaster. Lastly, drum roasters are much more expensive compared to air roasters so plan accordingly.

Air Roaster or Drum Roaster?

Air roasters use hot air for moving and roasting coffee. Examples of those are Nesco and Fresh Roast. Usually, air roast takes about 8-12 minutes. If the roast stays less, the flavor might not develop completely. If the roast stays too long, the flavor might dull. Drum roasters are larger in size and they move the beans using a rotating drum. Examples of those machines are Behmor 1600, Gene Cafe and HotTop. It takes longer to roast the coffee using those, about 14-20 minutes.  While air roasters make coffee brighter, drum roasters tend to develop the flavor better.

Best Coffee Roaster
Lighter Roast

How Long Does a Roaster Last?

The longevity of the roaster depends on the regularity of use and maintenance. Small roasters normally last around two years. They might last longer if you use them less often, clean them regularly and make lighter roasts. However, if you use the roaster a lot, do not clean it, and make dark roasts, the machine can have a shorter lifespan. If you choose a drum roast, you have an option to replace parts instead of replacing the whole unit. This saves you money in the long run.

Roasters for Beginners

Smaller machines like Nesco or Fresh Roast do a great job roasting coffee beans. Fresh Roast is good for beginners, affordable and small, which makes it perfect for those who do not drink a lot of coffee. Nesco is bigger and has a feature for smoke reduction, which is great if you do not have good ventilation. It is tricky if you buy a large machine without knowing how to use it, but it is also tricky to buy a machine that will not produce enough coffee.

If you do drink a lot of coffee or if you already know some things about roasting, going with a larger drum machine is a good choice. Such roasters as HotTop, Gene Cafe, and Behmor allow you to control time and temperature. A lot of these machines now include programming features which help you tailor the roast to the coffee beans. All things considered, choose a roaster depending on your needs. Think about your budget, the amount of coffee you drink, and the desired roast.

 

 

What Do I Need to Roast Coffee at Home?

How to roast coffee at home

How do I roast coffee at home?

Understanding how to roast coffee at home makes you appreciate the drink even more than before. In addition, your beans remain as fresh as possible and you control the lightness or darkness of the roast. Roasting coffee at home is  exciting and very rewarding. So, how do you roast coffee at home?

How to roast coffee at home
Green coffee beans ready to be roasted.

Methods of Roasting at Home

If you want to achieve the best results, then you would want to use a purpose built roasting machine. However, you probably do not own one, so that would be your most expensive option. High quality roasting machines can range around $500. A cheaper way to roast coffee at home is by using a pan, grill, or oven.

The Roasting Process

Roasting is a process that includes several steps, which are the same for every roasting method. Firstly, the roasting temperature is normally between 350°F and 500°F. However, the exact temperature depends on the roasting method you are using. Secondly, beans need agitation – constantly moving beans will ensure an even roast. Thirdly, when the beans reach the right temperature they will “crack” for the first time. At this stage they are considered lightly roasted. For a medium to dark roast, let them stay for a few more minutes until you hear the second crack. Finally, cool the beans by shaking them between two metal colanders until they have cooled.

How to roast coffee at home
Roasted Coffee Beans

Roasting in the Grill or Pan

Roasting coffee in the oven or a pan is very popular because many people have these at home. This method is convenient and cheap, but it is very smoky. Also the beans need constant agitation to insure they are roasted evenly. Furthermore, make sure to avoid coated pans to preserve flavor of the beans. Ensure good ventilation before starting to roast. Use a thick pan and place it on medium heat. Next, add the beans leaving room for stirring and expansion of the beans. Constantly stirring, wait to hear the first crack a light roast and second crack for a medium to dark roasts. Continue with cooling down and removing chaff, then leave exposed for 1-3 days to de-gas.

Roasting in the Oven

Roasting coffee in the oven is also cheap, but very smoky and slower than other methods. Preheat oven to 500°F (this temperature may vary depending on the oven). Ensure good ventilation. Place the beans on a perforated tray on middle shelf in the oven. Wait for the first crack for a light roast and second crack for a medium roast. Cool down and remove chaff, then leave exposed for 1-3 days to de-gas.

Roasting in a Purpose Built Roasting Machine

A roasting machine is an expensive investment, but it is meant to last. It is also easy to use and to clean up afterwards. Firstly, always make sure you have good ventilation because roasting produces a lot of smoke. Secondly, follow manufacturer’s instructions for roasting. Some machines are fully automatic, but you still should look over the process.  If your machine does not have a cooling process, use the colander method mentioned earlier. Leave the beans for 1-3 days to de-gas.

These are some of the methods of roasting coffee at home. All in all, it is up to you which one to use. Happy roasting!

100% Pure Kona Extra Fancy “green” beans available here.