It’s one of the most highly coveted and expensive coffee crops in the world, but what is Kona coffee and why is it so desirable?
Connoisseurs love its lively, complex and full-bodied flavour profile, and Hawaiians are rightfully proud of the product that thrives in their rich, volcanic soils. Yet, not all coffee labelled “Kona” is the real thing. Many are a lower-quality Kona blend containing as little as 10 percent genuine Kona coffee.
Difference Coffee’s Hawaii Kona Champion coffee is 100 percent genuine Kona. Not only that, but it’s the best coffee grown in all of Kona according to the expert judges at the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. We buy the winning lot at the competition – the highlight of the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival – and turn it into our Kona Champion coffee capsules. Try a cup and discover a taste of beautiful, tropical Hawaii at home.
WHAT IS KONA COFFEE?
Kona coffee is some of the most expensive coffee in the world for several reasons. Firstly, its quality is exceptional, thanks to the region’s rich volcanic soil and perfect climate conditions. Furthermore, the local coffee industry benefits from some 200 years of expertise. Almost all of the coffee farms in Kona are small-scale family operations, and knowledge is passed down through generations of local farmers and workers.
Kona coffee also commands a high price due to scarcity. To be labelled Kona coffee, local authorities mandate that the coffee be exclusively grown in the district. The Kona Coffee Belt spans just 20 miles and sits between 150 and 910 metres above sea level. Only in this narrow band of elevation is the combination of sunshine, rain and cooling trade winds ideal for growing world-class coffee. Such a small growing area with no option for expansion limits the supplies of genuine Kona coffee, and therefore keeps prices high.
THE KONA FESTIVAL
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Hawaii’s longest running food festival, is celebrating its 50th year in 2020. The festival pays homage to the pioneers of Hawaii’s 200-year-old coffee industry as well as the contemporary farmers and artisans who advance its achievements. Locals and visitors enjoy coffee farm tours, parades, exhibits, workshops, concerts and more, but the pinnacle of the festival is the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition.
THE KONA COFFEE CUPPING COMPETITION
Only the best Kona coffee makes it to the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. There are approximately 650 coffee farms in the district of Kona, and each year only the top 50 to 100 of them enter their highest quality lots of 100-percent Kona coffee into the competition. Over several days, judges conduct blind taste tastes and award each coffee a score out of 100. The judges are industry professionals, mostly from Hawaii. The coffee receiving the highest score is crowned the winner, and Difference Coffee purchases that winning lot for our Hawaii Kona Champion Coffee. This unique approach to sourcing our Kona coffee guarantees we offer the highest quality possible.