The coffee you enjoy each day have taken a long journey from picking to roasting before arriving in your coffee cup.
Between the time they’re planted, picked and purchased, coffee go through a typical series of steps to bring out the best.
Planting Our Kona Coffee Step One:
The kona coffee bean is actually a seed. When dried, roasted and ground, it’s used to brew some great coffee. If the seed isn’t processed, it can be planted and grow into a coffee tree.
Our pure Kona Coffee is generally planted in large beds in shaded nurseries. The seedlings will be watered frequently and shaded from bright sunlight until they are hearty enough to be permanently planted. Planting often takes place during the Hawaiian wet season, so that the soil remains moist while the roots become firmly established.
2. Harvesting It
Depending on the pure kona coffee variety, it will take approximately 3 to 4 years for the newly planted coffee trees to bear fruit. The fruit, called the coffee cherry, turns a bright, deep red when it is ripe and ready to be harvested.
There is typically one major harvest a year. In countries like Colombia, where there are two flowerings annually, there is a main and secondary crop.
In most countries, the crop is picked by hand in a labor-intensive and difficult process, though in places like Brazil where the landscape is relatively flat and the coffee fields immense, the process has been mechanized. Whether by hand or by machine, all coffee is harvested in one of two ways:
Strip Picked: All of the cherries are stripped off of the branch at one time, either by machine (the world) with few exceptions or by hand (Hawaiian Style).
We Selectively Pick: Only the ripe cherries are harvested, and they are picked individually by hand. Pickers rotate among the trees every eight to 10-14 days, choosing only the cherries which are at the peak of ripeness. Because this kind of harvest is labor intensive and more costly, it is used primarily to harvest the fancier Arabica coffees.
A good pure kona coffee picker averages approximately 80/100 pounds of coffee cherries a day, which will produce 20 to 40 pounds of coffee. Each worker’s daily haul is carefully weighed, and each picker is paid on the merit of his or her work. The day’s harvest is then transported to the place of processing.
3. Processing Your Pure Kona Coffee
Once our pure kona coffee has been picked, processing must begin as quickly as possible to prevent fruit spoilage. Depending on location and local resources, coffee is processed in one of two ways:
The Dry Method: is the age-old method of processing coffee, and still used in many countries where water resources are limited. The freshly picked cherries are simply spread out on huge surfaces to dry in the sun. In order to prevent impurities in cherries and therefore spoiling, they are raked and turned throughout the day, then covered at night or during rain to prevent them from getting wet. Depending on the weather, this process might continue for several weeks for each batch of coffee until the moisture content of the cherries drops to 11%.
We Use The Wet Method: We remove most of the pulp from our pure Kona after harvesting to dry with only the parchment skin left on. First, the freshly harvested cherries are passed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp.
Then our purest Kona is separated by weight as they pass through water channels. The lighter float to the top, while the heavier ripe one’s sink to the bottom. They are passed through a series of rotating drums which separate them by size.
After separation, they are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. Depending on a combination of factors — such as the condition of the coffee, the climate and the altitude — they will remain in these tanks for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to remove the slick layer of mucilage (called the parenchyma) that is still attached to the parchment. While resting in the tanks, naturally occurring enzymes will cause this layer to dissolve.
When the purest Kona fermentation is complete, the coffee feel rough to the touch. It is rinsed by going through additional water channels, and are ready for drying.
4. Drying It
Because we process the purest Kona by wet method, the pulped and fermented coffee must now be dried to approximately 11% moisture to properly prepare them for storage. Pure Kona Coffee, still inside the parchment envelope (the endocarp), are machine-dried in large tumblers. The dried coffee are known as parchment coffee, and are warehoused in jute or sisal bags until they are readied for roasting.
5. Milling It
Before being sold, parchment coffee is processed in the following manner:
Hulling machinery removes the parchment layer (endocarp) from wet processed coffee. Hulling dry processed pure Kona Coffee refers to removing the entire dried husk — the exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp — of the dried cherries.
Polishing is an optional process where any silver skin that remains on the pure Kona Coffee after hulling is removed by machine. While polished coffee is considered superior to unpolished ones, in reality, there is little difference between the two.
Grading and Sorting is done by size and weight, and coffees are also reviewed for color flaws or other imperfections. Sized by being passed through a series of screens. They are also sorted pneumatically by using an air jet to separate heavy from light.
Typically, the size is represented on a scale of 10 to 20. The number represents the size of a round hole’s diameter in terms of 1/64’s of an inch. A number 10 would be the approximate size of a hole in a diameter of 10/64 of an inch, and a number 15, 15/64 of an inch.
Finally, the defective purest Kona is now removed either by hand or by machinery. Kona purity that are unsatisfactory due to deficiencies (unacceptable size or color, over-fermented, insect-damaged, un-hulled) are removed. In Hawaii, this process is done both by machine and by hand, ensuring that only the finest quality coffee are delivered.
6. Tasting The Pure Kona Coffee
Pure Kona Coffee is repeatedly tested for quality and taste. This process is referred to as cupping and takes place in a room specifically designed to facilitate our process.
- First, our taster — called the cupper — evaluates the pure Kona for it’s overall visual quality. The coffee is then roasted in a small laboratory roaster, immediately ground and infused in boiling water with carefully-controlled temperature. Our cupper nose the brew to experience its aroma, an essential step in judging the coffee’s quality.
- After letting the coffee rest for several minutes, he breaks the crust by pushing aside the grounds at the top of the cup. Again, the coffee is nosed before the tasting begins.
- To taste the coffee, the cupper slurps a spoonful with a quick inhalation. The objective is to spray the coffee evenly over the taste buds, and then weigh it on the tongue before expelling it.
Samples from a variety of batches and different coffees are tasted daily. Coffees are not only analyzed to determine their characteristics and flaws, but also for the purpose of blending different flavors or creating the proper roast. Our expert cupper can taste many samples of coffee a day and still taste the subtle differences between them.
7. Pure Kona Coffee Roast Guide
Roasting is a heat process that turns coffee into the fragrant, dark brown we know and love.
Why We Must Roast Pure Kona Coffee Before It Leaves The Island?
Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the coffee. Beans are stored green, a state in which they can be kept without loss of quality or taste for many years. A green coffee has none of the characteristics of a roasted version — it’s soft and spongy to the bite and smells grassy.
Roasting causes chemical changes to take place as they are rapidly brought to very high temperatures. When they reach the peak of perfection, they are quickly cooled to stop the process. Roasted pure Kona Coffee smell like heaven, and weigh less because the moisture has been roasted out. They are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed.
Once roasted, however, they should be used as quickly as possible before the fresh roast flavor begins to diminish.
8. Is Roasting Pure Kona Coffee An Art Or A Science?
It takes years of training to become an expert roaster with the ability to “read” the coffee and make decisions with split-second timing. The difference between perfectly roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds.
Know your roasts
Most roasters have specialized names for their favored roasts and there is very little industry standardization. This can cause some confusion when you’re buying pure Kona Coffee, but in general, roasts fall into one of four color categories — light, medium, medium-dark and dark.
Many consumers assume that the strong, rich flavor of darker roasts indicates a higher level of caffeine, but the truth is that light roasts actually have a slightly higher concentration.
The perfect roast is a personal choice that is sometimes influenced by national preference or geographic location. Within the four color categories, you are likely to find common roasts as listed below. It’s a good idea to ask before you buy. There can be a world of difference between roasts.
Light roasting Pure Kona Coffee
Light brown in color, this roast is generally preferred for milder coffee varieties. Casts a fruity flavor with no oil on the surface of this coffee because it’s not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface.
- Light City
- Half City
Medium roasting Pure Kona Coffee
This roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it has a fruity/floral flavor is generally preferred pure Kona Coffee in the United States.
Medium dark roast Pure Kona Coffee
Rich, dark color, this roast has now shifted to a hint of chocolate flavor with some oil on the surface and with a slight bittersweet aftertaste.
- Full City
Dark roast Pure Kona Coffee
This roast produces shiny black color with an oily surface and a pronounced bitter chocolate. This roast is most generally consumed with added sugar or added flavorings. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage. Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to charred black (Italian), and the names are often used interchangeably — be sure to check your pure Kona Coffee before you buy!
- New Orleans
9. Grinding Your Pure Kona Coffee
Image credit: William M. Murray, Giphy
The objective of a proper grind is to get the most flavor in a cup of pure Kona Coffee. How coarse or fine the coffee is ground depends on the brewing method.
The length of time the grounds will be in contact with water determines the ideal grade of grind Generally, the finer the grind, the more quickly the coffee should be prepared. That’s why coffee ground for an espresso machine is much finer than coffee brewed in a drip system.
We recommend taking a moment to examine and smell the aroma — in fact, the scent of pure Kona Coffee alone has been shown to have energizing effects on the brain.
10. Brewing Pure Kona Coffee
To master how to brew Pure Kona Coffee coffee, use our guide for Tips and Methods On How To Make The Perfect Cup For Any Preference. Enjoy!