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Kona coffee is a marketing name for coffee that comes from the Kona District of
Hawaii. Pure Kona coffee is highly sought after all round the world. It has a
richer flavour than others due to the location and environment they are
cultivated.The land of Hawaii is rich with volcanic soil and is perfect for
coffee growing. The afternoon clouds also provide a good cover for it to grow.
These factors give Kona coffee its character, loved by many around the world.A
Peek At HistoryThe first coffee plant was introduced to Kealakekua-Kona by
Reverend Samuel Ruggles in 1828. It was not considered a viable agricultural
commodity at that time until very much later. During the California gold rush
era, demand for coffee from this region starts to pick up and farmers start
planting their crops along the slopes of Mauna Loa and Mount Hualalai. Many of
the large estates were leased to their Japanese workers during the world coffee
market crash in 1899. There are now about 600 plantations all around the
district and each of them having a size of not more than 5 acres.Coffee Farming
& ProcessThe coffee plants in Kona will start to bloom from February to March.
Green berries will soon start to appear after the flowers have been pollinated.
Majority of the berries will be harvested from August to December or early
January. It is estimated that each tree can produce around 20 to 30 pounds of
berries. During peak harvesting period, most mills work round the clock. All the
berries will be processed within 24 hour time frame to maintain quality. The
berries will be tested for freshness and color before being sent to the pulper.
The pulper will strip the flesh leaving the beans. The flesh is transported back
to the farms to be used as fertilizer. The stripped beans will next undergo a
fermentation process of around 8 to 18 hours in giant tanks. After completing
the fermentation process, the beans are cleaned and dried on drying racks
covered by hoshidanas. Depending on the weather, it might take about 10 to 14
days before the Kona coffee beans are ready for the next process.It is essential
to constantly rake the beans during the drying phase. This is to prevent mildew
from forming and maintain consistent quality throughout the batch. The beans are
then graded according to size, shape and weight.Controversial KonaThere is a
high demand for Kona coffee due to its unique taste and quality. Many large
corporations and individuals have tarnished the name by selling coffee that is
not truly Kona. These blends are normally made up of only 10% Kona coffee and
the remaining 90% from cheaper imports from Colombia or Brazil. It hurts the
industry in Kona and gives a false impression to the consumers about the quality
of pure Kona coffee. The farmers have been fighting a loosing battle to
trademark the name. Even though there are labeling laws in Hawaii, there is no
corresponding Federal law to support it.ConclusionThere is no denying in the
quality of Kona coffee. Great care is taken to ensure quality from the many who
toil in the farms and mills to deliver you that perfect cup of beverage
possible. They are all committed to deliver you the true taste of Kona - Gold of
Hawaii.