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The 9 Best Kona Coffee Brands: A Guide to Savoring the Finest Kona Coffee

best kona coffee

Kona coffee is exclusively grown in the Kona Coffee Belt on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Belt is relatively small at 26 x 3 miles. And the climate is unique with volcanic soil and over 60 inches of rainfall per year, making the coffee rare, expensive—and incredible. Those who’ve had it forever crave the chocolatey, rich, smooth, and slightly nutty Kona experience.

That’s why Kona coffee is highly sought after by coffee lovers around the world. But with so many brands on the market, it can be challenging to know which ones to choose.

Based on our expert analysis, we found Koa Coffee’s Peaberry Kona to be the best Kona coffee overall.

Koa Coffee’s Peaberry Kona has the perfect combination of everything we look for in Kona: regional elements, rarity, the finest grade, and of course, the most magical taste.

But in this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the best Kona coffee brands available on the market looking at many variables. 

In fact, we’ve spent several weeks researching and analyzing all the major Kona coffee out there, taking into account factors such as rarity, grade, taste, harvesting practices, and overall quality. And we’re excited to share our best Kona coffee picks with you!

So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and keep reading to explore the best Kona coffee brands that will blow your mind.

The 9 Best Kona Coffee Brands

BEST OVERALL
Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona

Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona

  • Made from rare peaberries
  • Medium roast brings out the natural sweetness
  • High-quality coffee from a renowned region
BEST KONA STARTER
Koa Coffee Tri-Pack

Koa Coffee Tri-Pack

  • Small-batch roasted for maximum freshness
  • Three Kona coffees allow you to explore nuances
  • Suitable for those new to Kona coffee 

 

BEST SUSTAINABILITY
Kona Coffee and Tea Peaberry

Kona Coffee and Tea Peaberry

  • Grown using sustainable farming practices
  • Handpicked to ensure the highest quality
  • Certified 100% Single Estate Kona Coffee

 

BEST EXTRA FANCY
Volcanica Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy

Volcanica Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy

  • The caviar of Kona coffee
  • Otherworldly decadence and clarity
  • Extra Fancy grade ensures the highest quality beans
BEST SMALL BATCH
Mountain Thunder 100% Kona Premium Coffee

Mountain Thunder 100% Kona Premium Coffee

  • 100% Kona coffee grown in Hawaii
  • Hand-picked and small-batch roasted
  • Smooth, mellow, and delicate with a nutty aroma
BEST VALUE
Hawaii Coffee Company Lion 24K Gold Kona

Hawaii Coffee Company Lion 24K Gold Kona

  • High-quality Kona beans
  • Reasonably priced for a premium coffee
  • Light-medium roast highlights the natural nuances

 

BEST BULK KONA
Kona Coffee and Tea

Kona Coffee and Tea

  • Award winning
  • Available in multiple roast levels and quantities
  • Vaccum-sealed packaging helps keep the coffee fresh
BEST FLAVORS
Greenwell Farms 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee

Greenwell Farms 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee

  • Bold and full-bodied taste with a smooth finish
  • Well-balanced flavor, not too acidic or bitter
  • Sturdy and resealable packaging to keep the coffee fresh
BEST DECAF KONA
Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf

Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf

  • Made from 100% Kona coffee beans
  • Swiss Water decaffeination process preserves the coffee's flavor and quality
  • Medium roast brings out the natural sweetness and balance of the beans



BEST OVERALL
9.9
Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona
  • Roast: Medium
  • Grade: Extra Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Rich and smooth with notes of milk chocolate, honey, and caramel

Koa Coffee is a family-owned business that has been producing some of the best Kona coffee for over 20 years. 

They grow their coffee on their farm in the Kona district, and they have won numerous awards for their high-quality coffee. Koa Coffee offers a wide variety of Kona coffee, including their award-winning Estate Kona Coffee.

Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona is our choice for best overall, not just because it’s the finest-grade coffee from the Kona region in Hawaii. This particular coffee is made from peaberries, which are rare and highly sought after for their unique flavor profile. 

Some even call peaberry coffee the “Champagne of Kona”.

Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona is roasted to a medium level to bring out its natural sweetness and complexity. The combination of the highest possible quality, rare peaberry beans, stunning taste profile make this our confident pick for best Kona coffee overall.

Pros:

  • Made from rare peaberries
  • Medium roast brings out the natural sweetness
  • High-quality coffee from a renowned region

Cons:

  • Some people may prefer a darker or lighter roast profile
  • Expensive



BEST KONA STARTER
9.8
Koa Coffee Tri-Pack
  • Roast: Medium and medium-dark roasts
  • Grade: Extra Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Chocolate, caramel, and nutty flavors

The Koa Coffee Tri-Pack is our pick for Best Kona Starter because it offers three 8 oz bags of 100% pure Kona coffee, each with its own unique flavor profile—but all of the highest quality. 

The tri-pack is the perfect introduction to the world-renowned Kona coffee. Each of the three variations is smooth, sweet, and balanced with the right amount of acidity, and a clean finish. 

Grande Domaine Kona Coffee is a medium-dark roast and won the Kona Coffee Cupping Contest for outstanding quality and balance.

Koa’s Private Reserve and Estate Kona coffees are the other two in this tri-pack. Both are award-winning, incredible Konas, with the latter grown exclusively at a high elevation in a single estate farm. And both are medium roast, which brings out natural notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts. 

All of Koa’s coffee beans are handpicked, sun-dried, and roasted perfectly in small batches, ensuring the highest quality and taste.

If you’re new to Kona coffee and you want to sample core variables on the spectrum of what it’s all about, this is definitely the way to go.

Pros:

  • Handpicked and sun-dried beans
  • Small-batch roasted for maximum freshness
  • Three of the finest Kona coffees allow you to explore nuances
  • Suitable for those new to Kona coffee or looking to explore its various flavor profiles

Cons:

  • As a sampler, you may not like them all equally.



BEST SUSTAINABILITY
9.5
Kona Coffee and Tea Peaberry
  • Roast: Medium
  • Grade: Extra Fancy and Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Citrus, tobacco, chocolate, and toffee

Kona Coffee and Tea Peaberry is a beautiful coffee grown in the Kona region of Hawaii. This is one of our best Kona coffee picks because it’s made from 100% Arabica beans, grown using sustainable farming practices, and is handpicked to ensure the highest quality.

People are obsessed with the uniquely delicious taste of Peaberry coffee beans, which has a light, citrusy body. And Kona Coffee and Tea goes above and beyond to preserve their Peaberry’s freshness.

As far as cons go, a few reviewers had issues with the packaging, such as the bags not sealing properly. 

But other than that, this sustainably-farmed Peaberry from Kona Coffee and Tea is a gem.

Pros:

  • Grown using sustainable farming practices
  • Handpicked to ensure the highest quality
  • Certified 100% Single Estate Kona Coffee

Cons:

  • May be more expensive than other coffee brands
  • Limited availability due to being grown in a specific region



BEST EXTRA FANCY
9.8
Volcanica Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy
  • Roast: Medium roast
  • Grade: Extra Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Nutty with hints of chocolate and caramel

Volcanica Hawaiian Kona Coffee is our pick for Best Extra Fancy. It’s a premium coffee made from 100% pure Kona beans grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. 

The coffee is carefully hand-picked, sun-dried, and medium-roasted to perfection to bring out the best of its unique flavor profile. 

Volcanica’s Kona tastes decadent and rich with hints of chocolate and caramel and a nutty finish that lingers on the palate. 

Long-time Volcanica lovers know how smooth, rich, and flavorful this Extra Fancy-grade Kona coffee is. It’s literally the cream of the crop, and may ruin any other coffee for you!

Pros:

  • The caviar of Kona coffee
  • Otherworldly decadence and clarity
  • Extra Fancy grade ensures the highest quality beans

Cons:

  • Expensive 



BEST SMALL BATCH
9.3
Mountain Thunder 100% Kona Premium Coffee
  • Roast: Vienna (Medium)
  • Grade: Not specified
  • Tasting notes: Delicate, cinnamon, dark, and chocolatey

At the heart of the world-renowned Kona Coffee belt on the Big Island of Hawaii, Mountain Thunder 100% Kona Coffee is cultivated at a high elevation. It’s our choice for the best Kona coffee made in small batches. 

Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation recognizes the importance of quality when it comes to providing a premium coffee-drinking experience and strives to ensure that you savor the most flavorful and aromatic coffee.

The Mountain Thunder team carefully cleans, grades, and processes the coffee beans with the help of a Satake Optical Color Sorter. This machine takes away the black, orange, and yellow beans that have a bitter taste, leaving only the best-quality beans for roasting.

The beans are also handpicked in small batches and roasted to order. Diehard fans keep buying it for the coffee’s great taste and aroma, with some describing it as smooth, rich, and balanced.

A few customers complained that the coffee was too expensive, considering the quantity and the fact that it was not organic or fair trade certified. And some users found this coffee to be too weak, and others thought that the flavor was not as good as other Kona coffees they had tried before.

Gotta mention as well that a small handful of reviewers experienced issues with the packaging, with some reporting that the bag did not seal properly or that the coffee arrived stale.

Overall though, Mountain Thunder’s Kona coffee is a wonderful small-batch option you should definitely add to your list. 

Pros:

  • 100% Kona coffee grown in Hawaii
  • Hand-picked and small-batch roasted for quality and freshness
  • Smooth, mellow, and delicate flavor with a nutty aroma

Cons:

  • Not stated as organic or fairtrade 



BEST VALUE
9.1
Hawaii Coffee Company Lion 24K Gold Kona
  • Roast: Light-Medium
  • Grade: Not specified
  • Tasting notes: Chocolate, nuts, and caramel

Hawaii Coffee Company’s Lion 24K Gold Kona is a premium coffee that combines the best Kona coffee beans with high-quality Arabica beans from around the world. 

It’s actually been roasted since 1864. 😱 Lion Kona Coffee has developed a loyal fan base since then. People also love giving this Kona coffee as a gift, which underscores how delicious it is!

The beans are carefully selected and roasted to perfection. It’s perfect for those who appreciate smooth and well-balanced coffee with hints of chocolate, nuts, and caramel.

This isn’t necessarily a con, but it’s worth calling out that Lion’s roast is light-medium, so if you’re a staunch dark roast lover, this may not be your first choice.

But overall, Hawaii Coffee Company’s Lion 24K Gold Kona is beloved. It’s not bitter or acidic and doesn’t break the bank for high-quality Kona coffee.

Pros:

  • High-quality Kona beans
  • Reasonably priced for a premium coffee
  • Light-medium roast highlights the natural nuances

Cons:

  • Some coffee drinkers may find the medium roast too mild for their taste preferences



BEST BULK KONA
9.7
Kona Coffee and Tea
  • Roast: Light, Medium, or Dark
  • Grade: Extra Fancy and Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Cocoa, chocolate, and full-bodied

Kona Coffee and Tea is a farm that offers a wide variety of Kona coffee blends. They grow their coffee on their farm in the Kona district, and they roast their coffee in small batches to ensure freshness. Their coffee has a smooth and rich flavor profile that is perfect for those who love a classic Kona coffee taste. They also offer decaf and flavored Kona coffee options.

This is our best Kona coffee if you want to buy in bulk because most Kona coffee is sold in a max amount of 1-2 lbs. If you drink Kona daily, you might want to try Kona Coffee and Tea’s 5 lb option. 

The Kona Coffee and Tea Company’s Dark Roast Coffee Bag is a popular choice. Many customers rave about the coffee’s rich, bold flavor and smooth finish, making it a perfect morning pick-me-up or an afternoon treat. But it’s also available in light and medium roasts, which is a perk since it’s harder to find a Kona offering all three roast levels. 

Several reviewers have also appreciated the coffee’s aroma, describing it as heavenly and enticing. Some have even mentioned that the aroma alone is enough to give them a boost of energy and lift their mood.

Another aspect of customers love is its packaging. This best Kona coffee comes in a high-quality bag that is both attractive and practical. The bag is resealable, too, ensuring that the coffee stays fresh for a longer time.

While the majority of the reviews are positive, one issue raised by some buyers is the price of the coffee, which is higher compared to other brands. But, many customers have argued that the high price is justified given the quality and quantity.

Overall, the Kona Coffee and Tea Company’s Dark Roast Coffee Bag is a hit with customers, especially if you want to buy Kona in bulk. So if you’re a coffee lover looking for rich, flavorful, high-quality Kona coffee in a larger amount, this one’s for you.

Pros: 

  • 1st place winner in the Cupping Contest Crown Division – 2018 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
  • Available in multiple roast levels and quantities 
  • Vaccum-sealed packaging helps keep the coffee fresh

Cons:

  • Pricey



BEST FLAVORS
8.9
Greenwell Farms 100% Hawaiian Kona Coffee
  • Roast: Medium dark
  • Grade: Not specified
  • Tasting notes: Dark chocolate, vanilla, cream, caramel, rich fruit

Greenwell Farms is a family-owned business that has been producing some of the best Kona coffee since 1850. They have a rich history and are committed to preserving the legacy of Kona coffee.

Greenwell Farms’ Kona coffee is on our list as best for flavors because they offer a delicious macadamia nut flavor and a chocolate macadamia nut one, too.

Their coffee has a smooth and rich flavor profile that is perfect for those who love a classic Kona coffee taste. 

Customers adore its rich, deep aroma and super-layered nuances that vary from dark chocolate to fruity. Greenwell offers a variety of Kona coffee blends beyond flavored options, too, including their award-winning Private Reserve Kona Coffee.

Pros:

  • Bold and full-bodied taste with a smooth finish
  • Well-balanced flavor, not too acidic or bitter
  • Sturdy and resealable packaging to keep the coffee fresh

Cons:

  • Some users found the coffee to be too mild for their liking
  • The flavors are hit or miss if you haven’t had them before



BEST DECAF KONA
9.3
Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf
  • Roast: Medium
  • Grade: Extra Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Chocolate, caramel, and toasted nuts

If you want Koa’s incredible Kona without caffeine, then Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf is for you. 

It’s a decaffeinated coffee made from 100% Kona coffee beans grown in the rich volcanic soil of Hawaii’s Big Island. 

The Swiss Water decaffeination process is used to remove the caffeine from the beans while preserving their rich, complex flavors. 

This coffee is roasted to a medium roast level to bring out the natural sweetness and balance of the beans, resulting in a smooth and satisfying cup of coffee that can be enjoyed anytime.

Pros:

  • Made from 100% Kona coffee beans
  • Swiss Water decaffeination process preserves the coffee’s flavor and quality
  • Medium roast brings out the natural sweetness and balance of the beans

Cons:

  • More expensive than other decaf coffees on the market



How to Choose the Best Kona Coffee – Buying Guide

best kona coffee

What is Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is a type of Arabica coffee that is grown in the Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Kona region is the largest growing district in Hawaii, famous for producing the renowned Kona coffee.

best kona coffee

The coffee is grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, which provides the perfect growing conditions for the beans. The volcanic soil, combined with the tropical climate and ample rainfall, produces a coffee that is distinctively sweet, smooth, and mellow. The minerals and nutrients found in volcanic soil are crucial for the flourishing of coffee plants, making it a prime location for coffee production.

When choosing the best Kona coffee, it’s important to consider several factors, such as taste, aroma, acidity, and overall quality. 

best kona coffee

First, be mindful of blends that may contain as little as 10% Kona. Such blends often incorporate low-quality beans. It’s not Kona coffee, and some producers take advantage of the “Kona” name and lack of knowledge out there to turn a profit.

Opting for 100% Kona coffee, which should cost more than $20 per pound, is the best way to ensure an authentic and premium coffee experience. Anything below that price range should be regarded as a warning sign that the coffee is not 100% Kona. 

Tips to help you choose the best Kona coffee:

  • Look for brands that use 100% Kona coffee beans only.
  • Consider the roast level. Kona coffee is typically roasted to a medium roast level to preserve the flavor profile. But it’s all up to your personal preference. Just be sure to check so you know what you’re getting.
  • Check for freshness. Look for brands that roast their coffee in small batches and offer freshly roasted coffee.

What Makes Kona Coffee So Special?

best kona coffee

Kona coffee is special because of the unique combination of factors that contribute to its flavor profile. Here are a few of the reasons why the best Kona coffee is so highly prized:

  • Location: Kona coffee is grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, which provides a unique microclimate that is perfect for growing coffee.
  • Soil: The volcanic soil in the Kona district is rich in minerals, which provides an ideal environment for growing coffee.
  • Climate: The tropical climate in Hawaii provides ample rainfall, sunshine, and warm temperatures, which contribute to the coffee’s flavor profile.
  • Handpicked: Kona coffee is handpicked, which ensures that only the ripest beans are harvested.
  • Small production: Kona coffee is produced in small batches, which ensures that each bean is carefully selected and roasted to perfection.

What Roast is Best for Kona Coffee?

Most Kona coffee connoisseurs agree that light to medium roast is the ideal level to roast Kona coffee. This particular roasting process brings out the natural flavors of the beans to the fullest. 

With Kona coffee, for instance, you can better taste its delightful fruity, floral, chocolatey, and nutty undertones.

While light and medium roasts are the most popular, medium-dark roasts are still delicious, especially when it’s been carefully prepared in small batches by an artisan roaster like our suggested Peabody Kona coffee.

The Kona Grading System

If you’re interested in purchasing the best Kona coffee, it’s essential to understand the Kona grading system. This system takes into account several factors that determine the quality of Kona beans. Let’s dive into the details.

best kona coffee

Extra Fancy

Kona coffee is graded based on the size, shape, and density of its beans. The highest quality beans are given an “Extra Fancy” grade. These beans have no defects, are large in size, and have a well-defined shape. 

As a result, they produce a robust and intense flavor. Extra Fancy Kona beans make up only 20% of the available Kona beans. If you want an authentic Kona experience, go for the Extra Fancy grade, if your budget permits. It’s the absolute best Kona coffee money can buy.

Fancy

The second-highest quality beans are given a “Fancy” grade. They may be slightly smaller or have minor defects, but they are still relatively large and of high quality. 

Fancy-grade beans are allowed 12 imperfections for every 300g. Although not as uniform in size and shape as Extra Fancy beans, they still produce a high-quality flavor.

“Kona #1”

The “Kona #1” grade includes smaller beans with an allowance of 18 defective beans per 300 grams. Despite its name, Kona #1 is the third-best grade on the Kona scale.

“Kona Select”

The next level down on the Kona grading scale is “Kona Select.” These beans do not need to meet any color or size requirements, resulting in smaller beans. 

Kona Select can have up to 5% defective beans, and there is a significant difference in taste compared to Extra Fancy.

“Kona Prime”

“Kona Prime” is the same as Kona Select, but it allows up to 20% defective beans.

It’s crucial to note that if a batch of Kona coffee has 35% defective beans, it does not meet the required quality standards and cannot be labeled as Kona coffee. Instead, it must be labeled as “Hawaiian Coffee.”

Our Verdict On The Best Kona Coffee

Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona is our choice for the best Kona coffee overall. If you’re interested in picking some up, head on over to Koa’s website or just click the link below.

BEST OVERALL
9.9
Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona
  • Roast: Medium
  • Grade: Extra Fancy
  • Tasting notes: Rich and smooth with notes of milk chocolate, honey, and caramel

To sum things up, Kona coffee is a unique and highly sought-after coffee that is grown exclusively in Hawaii. It is known for its sweet, smooth, and mellow flavor profile, but like anything with coffee, what’s most bewitching to your palate could be any of the gems on our list.

Whichever you decide to try, we hope this article has helped you choose the best Kona coffee for your taste buds!

Best Kona Coffee – FAQs

What is the difference between Kona coffee and other types of coffee?

Kona coffee is a type of coffee that is grown exclusively in the Kona district of Hawaii’s Big Island. It is considered one of the best coffee varieties in the world due to its unique growing conditions, including the region’s mineral-rich volcanic soil, sunny mornings, and rainy afternoons.

Kona coffee is also hand-picked, sun-dried, and roasted in small batches, which contributes to its high quality and distinctive flavor.

How should I store Kona coffee?

Kona coffee should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It is best to grind the beans just before brewing to ensure freshness.

Can I buy the best Kona coffee online?

Yes, just make sure you’re going with a supplier that rigorously checks dates and ships quickly. Ideally, pick a brand that roasts on demand like some of the ones we suggest above.

What is Peaberry coffee?

Peaberry coffee is a type of coffee bean that grows when only one seed, rather than two, forms inside the coffee cherry. This results in a smaller and more oval-shaped bean that creates a more intense taste. It’s a rare creation of nature and makes some of the very best Kona coffee out there.

What does Peaberry coffee taste like?

Peaberry coffee is bright with notes of fruit and sometimes floral undertones. It may also have a smoother and slightly more delicate taste than regular coffee beans due to the smaller size and higher density of the Peaberry beans.

How can I ensure that I’m buying genuine Kona coffee?

To ensure that you’re buying genuine Kona coffee, look for coffee that has the “100% Kona Coffee” label on it. This label is a certification mark that is issued by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to coffee farmers who meet strict standards for growing, processing, and labeling Kona coffee.

You can also look for the best Kona coffee that is sold by reputable retailers or directly from Kona coffee farms. Stay away from “Hawaiian Blends”, which usually have a tiny percentage of actual Kona beans mixed in with cheap varieties.

What makes Kona coffee more expensive than other types of coffee?

Kona coffee is more expensive than other types of coffee because of the high cost of production. The Kona region has a limited area for coffee production, which means that the yield per acre is low.

Additionally, Kona coffee is hand-picked, which is a labor-intensive process that adds to its cost. Finally, Kona coffee is subject to strict quality standards and certifications, which adds to its price.

What is the best way to brew Kona coffee?

Use a pour-over method with a ceramic or glass dripper to bring out the coffee’s finer nuances. It’s also important to use fresh, filtered water and grind the Kona coffee just before brewing for the best results.

Can I visit Kona coffee farms and see how the coffee is produced?

Yes, many Kona coffee farms offer tours that allow visitors to see how the coffee is grown, picked, and processed. These tours often include tastings of the farms’ best Kona coffee varieties. It’s a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Kona coffee.

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