Kona Earth - Kona Coffee Questions Answered
100% Kona Coffee is a gourmet, specialty coffee only grown in a distinct area known as the Kona coffee belt on the Big Island of Hawaii. We offer this FAQ page as a way to help you make the most of your Kona coffee purchase.
How is Kona Earth different from other 100% Kona coffee farms?
What is small-batch or micro-roasting?
Why do you ship whole beans instead of ground coffee?
We ship whole bean Kona coffee because it preserves freshness. It also gives you flexibility in selecting a grinding level (fine to medium, etc.) depending on the way you prepare your coffee.
What are the different Kona coffee roast profiles?
MEDIUM: Roasted to the first crack, the beans are a light chocolate brown with few surface oils. Medium roast preserves the smooth, delicate nuances that make Kona coffee so special with balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity. Fans of American Roast or Breakfast Roast will appreciate this balanced and well-rounded coffee.
FULL CITY: Medium-dark roast is pleasing to every palate, balancing the mixture in flavor between the origin of the coffee and the taste of the roasting process. In this roast, the beans roast past the first crack but stop before reaching the second crack. The beans will be mostly dry, with intermittent patches of oil. This roast is often used for espresso drinks.
DARK: This is a full-bodied coffee with a bold flavor. Roasted to the second crack, the beans are dark brown with an oily surface. Dark roast creates a strong, rich flavor with an unmistakable aroma. Some refer to this roast as French Roast.
Why don’t you offer a dark roast for your Premium and Peaberry grade Kona coffees?
We listen to our cupping experts who advise against roasting our higher grade coffees beyond a Full City (medium-dark) roast. Anything darker and you taste the roast, not the bean. They liken it to serving a charred Chateaubriand. The medium roast is smooth and silky and can be enjoyed on its own. If you like cream and sugar in your coffee, the full city roast still allows for the flavor of the bean to come through. If you love a dark roast, Kona Classic is a great choice.
What do your different coffee grades represent?
Grading standards are set forth by Hawaii Coffee Association to regulate bean size and quality. During dry milling, our beans are sorted into 3 categories:
Premium is a Type I Kona coffee with screen size (19), meaning it is a larger bean with few defects.
Our Kona Classic combines other Type I grades including Fancy, Number 1, Select and Prime. Many refer to this grade as Estate coffee.
Peaberry is in a class of its own as a Type II. It is a special mutation in which only one bean develops instead of the usual two. More sugars develop per bean leading to a better-developed flavor profile.
What is the source of the tasting notes for each Kona coffee?
The Specialty Coffee Association created the Q Grader Program to help provide a consistent, credible and verifiable evaluation process that is utilized worldwide to evaluate coffee. Q Graders score coffee on various qualities like aroma, flavor, and texture.
Q Graders go through a rigorous training course to be certified to provide sensorial analysis that assists coffee farmers in perfecting their farming and production processes. By understanding the characteristics of their green coffee, this process also informs the development of each coffee’s optimum roasting profile. Many liken Q Graders to Masters of Wine in the wine industry.