As a family-owned Kona coffee farm, we nurture our single-estate, 100% Kona coffee from crop to cup. We micro-batch roast it on site, and ship it to you farm-direct for supreme freshness. But once it gets to your home, how do you ensure you're getting the best result from this delicious specialty coffee? When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of Kona coffee, there are many variables to consider. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you achieve your ultimate Kona coffee experience.
#1 ROAST PROFILE:
The roast profile you choose when ordering has a big preliminary impact on your Kona coffee experience. For example, a lighter roast delivers a brighter flavor than a more intense dark roast. In general, the darker the roast, the more you taste the roasting process rather than the coffee bean itself.
Overall, we believe that 100% Kona coffee is best experienced in a medium to full-city roast. These roasts allow the true character of the bean to be enjoyed. That said, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy your Hawaiian specialty coffee and each person’s “perfect cup of coffee” is unique to them. If you love a dark roast, by all means, you should have it. That’s why we offer a dark roast in our Classic Estate coffee for those who love that bold taste.
#2 GRIND SIZE & PREPARATION METHOD:
We ship our coffee whole bean to give you the longest shelf life and the most control over your coffee preparation. As a result, having a good coffee grinder is an essential kitchen accessory.
We recommend using a Burr mill grinder similar to this one from Cuisinart which can be found on Amazon for less than $50.00. It gives you a variety of grind settings from ultra-fine to extra coarse, keeping the grinds uniform.
Why does your grind setting matter? The size of the grind affects the rate and quality of extraction of compounds from the beans. If water passes through the grinds too quickly, you end up with an under-extracted coffee, resulting in a more sour taste. Conversely, if water sits in the grinds for too long, it yields an over-extracted coffee with a more bitter taste. Therefore, it’s very important to know the right grind size for the method of coffee preparation you prefer.
For drip coffees, it’s best to use a medium to medium coarse grind because water passes through the grounds & filter slowly by means of gravity. If you used a fine grind, the water would sit in the grinds much longer giving you an over-extracted bitter coffee.
In contrast, espresso machines push water quickly through the coffee grinds by means of a pump. In this case, if you used a coarse grind, the water would go through too quickly, leading to under-extracted coffee. That’s why fine grind is a good choice for espresso machines.
Your optimal grind setting is determined by the way you like to prepare your Kona coffee. By experimenting with your grind settings, you can find the sweet spot for your preferred method of coffee preparation.
#3 WATER QUALITY & TEMPERATURE:
It may surprise you to know that your tap water may be altering the taste of your Kona coffee. Many municipalities add chlorine or other minerals to the water that comes into your faucet. Harsh chemicals can strip the natural oils from the coffee beans, resulting in a less-than-ideal cup of coffee. Hard water can lead to mineral buildup in your coffee maker over time, and can also make your coffee taste bitter. This is why we recommend using filtered or bottled spring water when brewing.
In addition to using filtered water, be sure to use water that is at the correct temperature. For drip coffee makers, this should be between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water is too hot, it can scald the coffee, resulting in a burned, bitter taste. On the other hand, water that is not hot enough will not extract all of the flavors from your coffee beans.
#4 COFFEE TO WATER RATIO:
Just as grind size and water quality can affect your coffee brewing success, so can the quantity of ground coffee you use. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to use two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.
For some methods like a French press or cold brew, you will need to use more coffee. It is recommended to use a ratio of one ounce (28 grams) of coffee per every two cups (470 ml) of water. This can be adjusted to your taste, of course. If you like a stronger cup of coffee, add more coffee. If you prefer a weaker cup, use less.
Experimentation is key in achieving your ideal cup of Kona coffee. But it's worth the effort. After all, 100% Kona coffee is an expensive Hawaiian specialty coffee and you want it to achieve its true potential once it gets to your home. By following these five tips and dialing in your preferences, you can be sure that your next cup of Kona coffee will be brewed to perfection. Happy brewing!