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Guide to Kona Coffee Tasting

Learn the to be a professional Kona Coffee taster


Just like wine, Kona Coffee tasting has a unique and distinct method to tasting it refined richness


Ask coffee drinkers anywhere and Kona coffee will always be at the top of a list of coffees to drink. It consistently ranks higher than coffees from other countries, including Brazil, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The taste is well balanced, with low acidity and some sweetness that is sometimes described as chocolatey.

But as highly rated as Kona coffee is — which can normally reach prices of up to $30 a pound — there are different grades of beans, sometimes with their own flavor. Grading primarily is dependent on the size of the bean, but the moisture of the bean, its density and how many defects are allowed per pound of beans are also factors.

Extra Fancy beans account for about 20 percent of a farm's crop, while Fancy or Kona #1 beans make up another 75 percent. Peaberries make up the remaining five percent. While Estate is not a grade, it does mean the beans are all from one farm, processed and roasted at that farm.

Extra Fancy beans are larger and heavier than their Fancy or Kona #1 counterparts. While Extra Fancy beans are sought after, Peaberries are the Holy Grail of Kona coffee drinkers. Peaberries are a naturally occurring aberration, with one bean occurring where there is usually two. Unlike regular coffee beans which are rounded on one side and flat on the other, Peaberries are shaped like footballs. It has a lower acidity than Extra Fancy or Fancy/Kona #1 coffees and some believe that because of its shape, Peaberries roast differently and have a different taste.

Whatever grade of bean you choose, always make sure you are drinking 100 Percent Pure Kona Coffee. Drinking anything less means you will not taste the balanced flavor, low acidity and world renowned quality of 100 Percent Pure Kona Coffee. Be aware that Kona coffee blends are always mixed with beans from other countries and the amount of actual Kona coffee is only 10 percent.