WORLD RENOWNED FOR ITS SUPERIOR QUALITY AND FLAVOR
Kona coffee is world renowned for its superior quality and flavor. Connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike agree that Hawaiian coffee is special, but what makes Kona coffee the best in the world?
"Kona Coffee is grown in an area approximately 26 miles in length and 3 miles wide, mostly between 700 feet and 2,000 feet of elevation on the slopes of Mount Hualalai. This area is known as the “Kona coffee belt.""
THE ORIGINS OF KONA COFFEE
Though the coffee plant thrives in the rich volcanic soil of Hawaiian Islands, coffee is not native to Hawaii. The first commercial Hawaiian coffee was imported from Brazil, but it is an Arabica variety first imported from Guatemala in 1892 that comprises the majority of Kona coffee today, known as “Kona typica.”
Sugarcane was being grown extensively throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but the rugged slopes in the district of Kona, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, was unsuitable for growing sugarcane. Instead Kona became the center of the island’s coffee industry. Coffee growing was once a large-scale plantation industry, but the 1899 crash of the international coffee market compelled large growers to break up their land into smaller manageable plots which could be leased for family farms. Small-scale coffee production has endured as a unique trait of the Kona district and most Kona coffee beans are still grown on family farms.
KONA: THE IDEAL COFFEE CLIMATE
Coffee plants are hardy, but they grow best in tropical climates with bright sun, ample cloud cover, and regular (but not torrential) rain. Kona Coffee is grown in an area approximately 26 miles in length and 3 miles wide, mostly between 700 feet and 2,000 feet of elevation on the slopes of Mount Hualalai. This area is known as the “Kona coffee belt.” The area is known for consistent morning sunshine followed by drizzly overcast afternoons. That combined with volcanic soil rich in minerals creates perfect growing conditions for coffee. Perfectly sheltered behind the massive mountains Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the coffee trees are uniquely protected from harsh trade winds (In Hawaiian, Kona means “leeward” or “without wind.”)
Located right in this sweet spot for coffee cultivation, Brazen Hazen coffee is grown on property featuring rocky, volcanic soil which provides our Kona coffee beans with essential nutrients. To keep our plants happy and healthy, our coffee trees are planted along the natural contours of the land in the Old-Kona fashion. Many of our trees sit beneath sprawling canopies of avocado and mango trees, which provide additional shade.
PICKING KONA COFFEE
Kona’s climate may be ideal for growing coffee, but the harvesting and roasting process is where Kona coffee beans truly diverge from the norm. Rocky, volcanic soils on steep slopes have limited the potential for industrial farming therefore Kona coffee has resisted mass production. Ripe coffee cherry is still picked by hand and milled with careful consideration by farmers who’ve been doing it for generations. The result is a delicate yet rich flavor and aroma distinguished from other coffees that are mass-produced and machine harvested. At Brazen Hazen, we honor this tradition by continuing to harvest by hand to ensure that only the cherries which are at the peak of ripeness are chosen for our coffee.
PROCESSING KONA COFFEE
Most forms of coffee processing involve fermentation, drying, and roasting. At Brazen Hazen, we ferment our beans in water-filled fermentation tanks, then rinse and air-dry. Once dried and hulled, the beans are reviewed for color, making sure that only the perfect beans make it to the roasting stage. Roasting is a critical part of the process which requires precision and timing. The difference between perfectly roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds. We roast our coffee in small batches to ensure freshness and flavor consistency. After roasting, the beans are immediately air-cooled, put into bags, and shipped straight to coffee lovers around the world.
The difference between perfectly roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds. We roast our coffee in small batches to ensure freshness and flavor consistency.
LOOKING TO BUY KONA COFFEE?
Hawaii is the only large coffee producing state in the United States. As such, it is essentially an inherently fair-trade product, for coffee pickers in Hawaii, unlike their counterparts in other regions of the world, are paid US wages. Though several small farms sell coffee produced exclusively on their respective properties, many instead sell their coffee to larger companies that source coffee throughout the coffee belt. Thus, purchasing any 100% Kona coffee is an excellent way to support small, American-owned businesses in Hawaii.
To ensure you’re supporting small Hawaiian farms, it is critical to pay attention to the label. Although there have been recent proposed legislative changes, Hawaii State law still permits companies to market coffee as a “Kona blend” so long as it contains at least 10% Kona coffee. The law allows companies to use the Kona label for low-quality, high-profit coffee that often misleads consumers and competes with small farmers producing pure, 100% Kona coffee. Support small businesses and opt for maximum quality by always choosing 100% Kona coffee. At Brazen Hazen, we never sell anything less.
VISIT THE COFFEE ORCHARD AND STAY AT THE HOLUALOA INN
Want to see the coffee trees for a true farm to cup experience? In the middle of our coffee fields sits a stunning bed & breakfast, The Holualoa Inn. The inn is designed for indoor-outdoor living, features works from local artists, traditional Polynesian furniture, stunning sculptural accents and beautiful garden sights. The Holualoa Inn uses our small-batch roasted beans so you can take in sweeping views of the Kona coast while enjoying 100% Kona estate-grown coffee with your delicious gourmet breakfast.
NEVER RUN OUT OF THE WORLDS BEST COFFEE
Love the superior taste and quality of Kona coffee while supporting small US farmers at the same time? Join our Fresh Brew Club and have 100% Kona coffee delivered right to your door every month. Handpicked, carefully selected, roasted to order, and steeped in tradition, you can enjoy the world's best coffee and transport yourself to the island with every cup.
BUY 100% KONA COFFEE