Kau Coffee Mill & Visitor Center

The Big Isle’s gourmet coffees are grounds for celebration! Kona coffee is grown in the North and South Kona Districts while Ka‘u coffee is named after its large, sprawling southern district. These award-winning, regional coffees are handpicked when red-ripe and carefully milled, dried and roasted to ensure quality. While each grower contributes to coffee quality through farming techniques, processing steps also contribute to the taste and aroma of coffee. When buying coffee, read labels. Kona Coffee “blends” are only required to contain at least 10 percent Kona coffee. Also note that coffee labeled as “Hawaiian” can be sourced from anywhere in the state. Peaberry coffee, which makes up about five percent of the crop, is coffee made from coffee cherries that contain only one bean—instead of the usual two. This unique, sought-after coffee has its own flavor profile and is sold at a premium by producers.

The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture established a coffee-grading standard to distinguish the quality of green Kona coffee; the top grade is Kona Extra Fancy, followed by Kona Fancy, Kona Number One and Kona Prime. Some coffee brands include these grades on packaging. It’s best to sample all roasts to determine your favorite. In addition, coffees labeled as “estate” are those produced and entirely controlled by one plantation—from tree to packaging. Farm and processing tours are offered by some producers to share first-hand information for best appreciating the Big Isle’s highly intensive coffee industry.

 

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