CoffeeNate #18: What is Kona Coffee?

Have a coffee question? Have it answered on the show, and win FREE coffee! ASK COFFEENATE

Ahhh, it’s good to be back!  Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve published a video, and I was really feeling it.  This video is full of great info about Kona coffee, but admittedly so, it’s a bit dry.  I didn’t really notice until I was finished, but I seem a little on the mopey side…not at all the case, but video tends to require a little more pizazz.  Okay, enough ripping myself…

Kona coffee….what is it?….why is it so freaking expensive?…is Kona coffee worth the huge price tag?  Those are the questions I am

here to answer today.  First of all, Kona coffee is the only coffee that is grown, processed, and exported from the good ‘ole US of A!  Kona coffee, in order to carry the lable %100 Kona Coffee, must be of  high quality and grown in the Kona region of the “Big Island” of Hawaii.  Buyer beware of many imitations that are labeled “Kona Type”, “Kona Blend”, or “Kona Style”.  These are some of the misleading phrases that you will find in knock offs, intended to mislead you, the consumer.

Kona coffee is unique because the region’s climate is such that there is the right amount of humidity, rain, and sun that that Arabica coffea thrives in.  Unlike other origins, Kona does not have a signature note such as Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or Kenyans.  Although there is no all encompassing descriptor for Kona coffees, they all seem to possess a superior flavor.

For this episode I sampled some %100 Kona Coffee from The Coffee Beanery.  I found this coffee to be very complex for a single origin coffee, it is a full bodied coffee, with hints of nutty brown sugar and citrus offer a wonderful contradiction that simply works.  The finish is sweet, pleasant, and long.  I was quite impressed with this coffee.  Although it is priced at a premium grade of $43.99 for a pound, when compared with purchasing an inferior grade coffee from your local shop, it is actually a cost saver!

I also received a pound of The Coffee Beanery’s Fair Trade Certified Guatemalan.  It is a medium roast that offers a full bodied taste with pungent notes and a strong but pleasing acidity.  It’s not often that I like a Central American coffee, but I was pleasantly surprised by the crisp flavor of the Guatemalan.  The price point on the Fair Trade Guatemalan is a value at just $12.99 for a pound!

If you are someone, like me, who enjoys the variety of tastes found in the coffees from around the globe, then I implore you to give this %100 Kona a try.   BUT…if you are perfectly fine with drinking a decent cup of coffee, and subtle flavor notes don’t get you excited, then I highly recommend that you skip the Kona, and order up some of the Fair Trade Guatemalan.  You would be disappointed with the Kona if you are not a coffee snob like me 😉

I recommend purchasing coffee from the Coffee Beanery, as they offer great customer service, quality fine coffees at very reasonable prices, and consumer friendly promotions.

SPECIAL FOR COFFEENATE VISITORS!For a limited time (until October 15th 2009) when you purchase any coffee, brewer, or accessory from the Coffee Beanery, CoffeeNate visitors will receive a special discount of %25!  There is NO MINIMUM purchase required, and all you have to do is visit their site, and use the coupon code: CoffeeNate09 when ordering.


Nate is a special kind of coffee lover. He began drinking the same swill that most others do, but thought there must be something better out there. Sure enough, he was right, even more so than he ever dreamed possible. He soon found his way into the specialty coffee industry, and was tasting exceptional coffees from dozens of roasters from around the country. He is now committed to teaching others how they can appreciate coffee, and how they can make the best coffee in town and save money at the same time! Cheers c[_]

Say something!

Please leave a comment or ask a question

  • Hooray for James Hall! You are the lucky winner of free coffee from Berres Brothers! Great stuff! Thanks to all who have entered the contest. Remember, you too can win some excellent coffee from a premium roaster by leaving a comment, becoming a facebook fan, tweeting this post, or signing up for our newsletter! It's so easy to win some free joe from Nate 🙂

  • Mike

    You can be down on yourself about this video, but I still think it's better than my attempts, and a whole lot more informative!

    And I've also noticed how my tastes have changed too. I'm a lot more open to trying different coffees, then I used to be.

    • Thanks for dropping by Mike! There's nothing wrong with you vids Mike, I guess we are our own toughest critics 🙂 I actually taped 3 episodes at once, but will now be redoing the other two…rats! I tried to save some time, but don't want to publish 3 Debbie Downer shows 😛 Keep up the good work buddy!

  • Jonathan Weaver

    hey nate,

    I never could stand the taste of coffee. What would you recommend for first time coffee drinker or is it an acquired taste.
    thank you
    jonathan weaver

    • Hey Johnathan! First time coffee drinker? I would recommend spending $25 on a French Press coffee brewer, very easy to use. I would also recommend buying some fresh roasted coffee from one of the recommended roasters found all over this site. Get something that sounds appealing to you, and experiment. Use different amounts of coffee, different degrees of grinding…roasting etc. All of these factor into the final taste. The more you drink it, the more you will love it. At least, that's how it was for me 🙂 Take care

  • RanMan

    Nate, my favorite Kona is from! The best Kona I've tried personally. Their "extra fancy size kona beans" tops my list and the pricing is more than competitive at $28/lb.

    • Hey there RanMan! Extra fancy sounds fancy schmantzy…is that a word? Anyway, the extra fancy is a higher grade of bean, judged primarily by it's size. I'll have to give that site a look-see. Maybe we can get some for a future show? Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jill Hayes

    I would love to try some Kona coffee. It's expensive though, isn't it?