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Best Kona Coffee Beans (Avoid The Scams)

best kona coffee beans
best kona coffee beans

Are you a coffee enthusiast who does not compromise on the quality, even if it costs a little extra? If yes, then perhaps Kona coffee is what would live up to your expectations. Harvested extensively on the island of Hawaii in the Northern and Southern Kona districts, it’s known for its rich taste and smell.

Unfortunately, the Kona industry is full of loopholes and scams. New buyers are often scammed. Sellers are known to offer a mix of Kona beans and local coffee beans. This is why it can be difficult to find authentic Kona coffee beans.

Adding local beans might make the pack affordable but it kills the uniqueness of the beans. If you are struggling to find authentic Kona beans then know that you are not alone.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best Kona coffee beans so that you get exactly what you want.

What Is Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is a special type of gourmet coffee that is grown, harvested, and processed in the Kona region of Hawaii. Itt requires specific conditions to grow optimally, hence can’t be grown elsewhere

Because of the low level of production, and the high quality of the Kona coffee beans, it has always been in high demand. They are usually grown on family-run farms and private estates, and there are only about 800 of these Kona coffee farms in the entire world.

What Does Kona Coffee Taste Like?

Taste-wise, Kona coffee is a mixture of a variety of different fruit and floral notes. Its texture is creamy and smooth, while the sharpness is usually medium-bodied and balanced, bright but not sharp. Some have a hint of chocolate as well. 

Overall, Kona coffee is mild, smooth, and easy to drink as it has low acidity and no harsh tones.

Why Is Kona Coffee So Good?

The combination of high elevation, rich volcanic soil, cloudy coverage, and perfect growing temperatures allow the beans to grow well and offer an unmatched taste.

best kona coffee beans

Moreover, each batch of Kona coffee goes through a strict quality control system, where it is monitored based on various factors. Every coffee bean is verified by the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture before it is exported to other parts of the world.

Where Are Kona Coffee Beans Available?

Kona coffee is not something you can pick up from the shelves of your supermarket because not only is it rare, but also pure. Hence, the options available to you are either the local coffee shops, farmers’ markets, or online retailers.

Buying it from your local coffee shops or farmer’s markets might sound like a nice idea but it’s risky. You need to be vigilant that you get the quality you are paying for. Sadly, this is not always the case. Sellers come up with new ways to scam buyers who are usually not aware of what they are buying.

So, the best bet you have when it comes to buying Kona coffee is to look for options available online. Don’t worry, there’s no need to go and look for reliable and best Kona coffee because we have highlighted some of the best options in this Kona coffee review.

Major Types Of Scams In The Kona Coffee Industry

1. Kona Blends

As 100% pure Kona coffee beans are rare and expensive, most companies sell what they call ‘Kona Blends’. 

It is a mixture of Kona coffee with other types of coffee beans such as Columbian and Brazilian. As a result, the blend does become affordable but highly compromises on the taste and quality of the original Kona coffee, depending upon the ratio of mixing.

According to the law in Hawaii, companies need to have at least 10% of Kona coffee beans in their coffee to label it as Kona. However, scams are common and many companies are known to market their products as Kona beans without containing the required percentage of beans.

While Kona blends work, you need to be careful when selecting a brand. It must contain at least 10% Kona, otherwise, you will not get the taste Kona is known for.

2. Kona Beans Not From Kona Region

Many coffee sellers sell various types of coffee under the name of Kona to count on the craze and make more money. They know buyers will pay more for Kona beans. This is why scams are very common. 

Some sellers are known to advertise beans that are not harvested in the Kona region of Hawaii. As a result, it’s not of the quality that you expect it to be.

The Kona region is known for its fertile land and suitable weather conditions for growing coffee beans. The coffee grown in this region is unique in taste and aroma. No other region is known to offer the same hit as Kona beans. 

Coffee harvested in other regions of Hawaii is also popular but it is nowhere as good as authentic Kona coffee.

Therefore, before making a purchase, make sure what you are buying is actually from the place it is named after. 

The best way to be careful is to do your research or trust us. We know the market well and have compared hundreds of products to make our list of best Kona coffee beans to help you pick the right one. 

If you want to do your own research then look for words like ‘Kona’ or ‘Hawaii’ in the description. Also, read third-party reviews and what other users have to say about the product. 

3. Grade Of Kona Coffee

Due to the rare nature of Kona coffee, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDA) is very vigilant in monitoring the production and packaging of Kona coffee. Each batch receives a grade depending upon various testing factors including its quality, freshness, moisture contents, shape, and size. The grade also takes into consideration possible flaws since not every bean is going to be perfect.

After being tested for the above-mentioned factors, the Kona coffee beans are divided into categories. Precisely, there are eight levels of classification, in which Extra Fancy is considered to be of the highest quality and Mixed Natural Prime is considered to be of the lowest quality.

Between Extra Fancy and Mixed Natural Prime, there are different categories: 

  • Fancy
  • No.1 
  • Select 
  • Prime 
  • No.3
  • Natural Prime

Anything from the first five categories, or to be precise, from the categories of Extra Fancy to Prime, is considered to be of high quality. This is because they only differ in terms of rarity and bean size, which has no significant effect on the taste.

The most expensive of these categories is without a doubt the most premium category, which is the Extra Fancy Kona coffee beans. 

Not only are they uniform in size and color but they are also almost free from any kind of defective beans. Although the price for this category is comparatively higher than others, the quality of these coffee beans is definitely worth those extra bucks.

Best Hawaiian Kona Coffee Brands According To Us

While researching for this article for the best Kona coffee beans, we came across some options that are definitely guaranteed to ease your selection process. Once you understand what to buy and what to avoid, the next step is to take the plunge and get a pack of Kona coffee beans for yourself to enjoy the premium quality, aroma, and taste of this beauty.

The table below accurately summarizes all the famous and authentic best Kona coffee beans options available online. For a detailed description of each brand, please scroll down:

Cuisinart DGB 800Medium Roast Whole Bean Kona Coffee Tri-Pack Triple pack of award-winning whole bean Kona Coffees roasted to a perfect medium roast, ideal to sample different coffees or to give as a gift.

    • Three different types
    • Recipient of various awards
    • High-quality hand-picked beans
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Gourmia GCM 4700Keala’s Hawaiian Coffee Triple pack of award-winning whole bean Kona Coffees roasted to a perfect medium roast, ideal to sample different coffees or to give as a gift.

    • 100% pure and authentic
    • Handpicked extra fancy grade beans
    • Featured best seller
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Breville Grind ControlESTATE MEDIUM ROAST 100% KONA COFFEE Pure Kona coffee from a high elevation, single estate farm, with a smoothly delicate flavor.

    • Extra Fancy grade beans
    • Custom roast profile
    • Strict quality control ensuring consistency
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Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy A very flavorful and full-bodied, rich coffee with a delicious taste that has a heady aroma and a complex rich and winy taste.

    • Low in acid
    • Shade-grown beans
    • No blends added
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Capresso Coffee TeamPeaberry Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee Made from rare, unique little peaberry beans with big sassy sweeter and sharper taste and high demand.

    • Highly rare
    • Exquisite taste and aroma
    • No acidity hence no acid refluxes
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1. Medium Roast Whole Bean Kona Coffee Tri-Pack

Our Top Pick
Medium Roast Whole Bean Kona Coffee Tri-Pack

If you are a beginner who has just started exploring Kona coffee then consider getting your hands on this tri-pack. The three types included in this bundle are Grande Domaine Kona Coffee, Private Reserve Kona Coffee, and Estate Kona.

This tri-pack is sold by Koa Coffee, the recipient of several coffee awards. It is a renowned and well-established brand. 

All three types are loved by coffee enthusiasts due to the high quality of the hand-picked beans.

Moreover, among the three, the Private Reserve Kona Coffee has also been called ‘The Best in America’, by Forbes, and the Grand Domaine Kona Coffee won the Kona Coffee Cupping Contest for the outstanding balance and quality.

Although all three of the Kona coffees are authentic and grown in Hawaii, they vary slightly in taste due to the difference in the climate they were grown in. 

The Grand Domaine Kona Coffee is smooth and rich. It’s slightly bitter, the kind you can expect in coffee. 

The Private Reserve Kona Coffee is of the highest grade and hits the bull’s eye when it comes to aroma.

And the last, the Estate Kona is grown, cultivated, and hand-picked privately, and is a blend of the top three Kona coffee grades.

  • Includes three different types of award-winning Kona coffees
  • Value for money
  • No compromise on quality
  • Available only as whole beans

2. Keala’s Hawaiian Coffee

Keala’s Hawaiian Coffee

The Keala’s Hawaiian Coffee is 100% pure and authentically produced by a company called Bean Box, which is based in Seattle and imports all its high-quality coffee from Hawaii. 

These coffee beans are roasted in Seattle after being harvested from the family-run coffee farms of the company owner in Holualoa, Hawaii.

With a sweet, smooth, and bright flavor to make all your mornings better, it tastes like a perfect mix of passion fruit, toasted coconuts with a light tinge of nuts, and almost no bitter aftertaste. 

It has a bold but balanced kick to it, so every sip you take feels freshly roasted. One sip will transport you to the island of Hawaii.

All beans in the bag are hand-picked. They go through a rigorous testing process, which ensures that every bean that reaches you is of the highest quality. Perhaps, this is the reason why these beans come within the top 20% of the Kona coffee beans grown in Kona. 

Moreover, these beans are not mixed, or ‘blended’, with any other types of coffee beans, which makes them taste luxurious and authentic.

  • Extra Fancy grade of 100% pure Kona coffee
  • Sourced directly from the island of Hawaii
  • Medium roast for a balanced flavor
  • Lacks in acidity. Hence, you only get a slight ‘coffee kick’

3. Estate Medium Roast 100% Kona Coffee

Estate Medium Roast 100% Kona Coffee

The Royal Kona Estate Kona Coffee is produced by the Hawaiian Coffee Company, which is a well-known coffee brand having its roots in Hawaii. Its tagline ‘Coffee for Royalty’ is quite popular.

With no acidity and no bitterness, this medium to lightly roasted coffee serves as a one fit for all. 

The light roast makes it a perfect choice for pour-over coffee. Not only is it clean, light, and refreshing, but it also has slight earthy and fruity tones with no unpleasant aftertaste.

This is because the beans that reach you are only roasted after you have placed your order, so the freshness remains intact until they hit the base of your cup.

Harvested on their own private high elevation plantation estate in Hawaii, these beans are popular all around the world. 

There is a strict check on quality to ensure that each coffee bean reaching the table of the consumers is better than the last. The beans are authentic Arabica with no hint of being dry or stale.

  • Extra Fancy grade Kona coffee
  • Medium to light roast
  • No bitterness
  • Too light for some

4. Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy

Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy

The Hawaiian Kona Coffee is a product of the famous coffee company called Volcanica Coffee. It is named Volcanica as all their coffee products are grown in volcanic lava rock slope soil of the Hawaiian island at an altitude of somewhere between 3,000 to 7,000 meters.

It is grown in shade to protect the fields from excessive sun and strong winds. This is very important due to the field’s close proximity to two major volcanoes, the active Mauna Loa Volcano and the extinct Mauna Kea Volcano. 

The coffee has a mellow straightforward character with a rich and full-bodied taste and a heavenly aroma. The flavor is more inclined towards floral notes instead of fruity touches. The fruity tones are primarily citrusy – like tart cherry and have a slight caramel and nutty kick to them.

The gourmet coffee beans used to make this 100% pure Kona coffee are smaller than the beans used by most other companies. These beans are produced on family-run farms and are hand-picked and sorted carefully. There are no blends to maintain quality.

  • Available in four types of grinds: Whole Bean, Drip Grind, Espresso Grind, and French Press
  • Extra Fancy grade
  • Balanced medium roast with a mild sweetness
  • On the expensive side

5. Peaberry Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee

Peaberry Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee

The Peaberry Kona Coffee is a product of Koa Coffee. Peaberry beans are known for their exquisite taste and aroma. These beans are a result of a rare mutation of coffee beans in which they take up the shape of a single oval-shaped bean instead of two flat beans nested together. This sets them apart from other products on the market.

This unique shape improves taste and the overall experience of having coffee. It offers a sweeter, sharper, and fruitier taste than regular Kona coffee. The coffee produced using these beans is known as ‘the champagne of coffee’ due to its unique qualities.

These coffee beans are roasted to a medium level and contain almost no acidity so you can have it without any worries of acid refluxes. 

Make sure to be quick to order these as they’re rare. According to the company, they only produce somewhere between 3 to 5 bags of Peaberry coffee for every 100 bags of regular coffee!

  • Rare peaberry blend
  • No bitter undertones
  • The smooth and sweet flavor
  • Expensive due to being rare
  • Limited availability

Best Kona Coffee Beans: Conclusion

These were some of the best Kona coffee beans to choose from. We have made this list after careful research. All these companies are authentic and legitimate. 

Pick what suits you the best. These are all Kona beans but they greatly differ in terms of price, taste, and aroma. If you enjoy experimenting then try different options from these best Kona coffee means list.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How To Identify Kona Beans?

It can be hard to identify Kona beans and your only option is to look at the pack and find symbols and stamps that guarantee originality.

Which Kona Coffee Is The Best?

The Peaberry Kona coffee is the rarest and the best according to most people. However, taste is subjective and we suggest that you try a variety of options to find what you find the best.

Does Starbucks Sell Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is available for a limited time at selected Starbucks stores featuring the Starbucks Reserve® coffee line. 100% Kona Coffee is offered in half-pound whole bean coffee to make at home or you can enjoy it in-store by the cup through the Clover® brewing system. However, it might be more expensive than other options but not come with additional perks.

Why Is Kona Coffee So Expensive?

The ever-growing high demand and comparatively limited supply make Kona coffee one of the most expensive coffee in the world.

Does Kona Coffee Taste Different?

Kona coffee is a mix of different tones, so you can expect to taste different flavors including brown sugar, milk chocolate, honey, and a hint of a bright fruit flavor. Overall it is bright, crisp, smooth, and slightly syrupy.

How Do You Make The Perfect Cup Of Kona Coffee?

The best Kona coffee can be made through fresh whole bean Kona coffee, which is ground right before brewing, that too preferably in a French press. Make sure to use a reliable coffee machine to get the best taste as a lot depends on it as well.