Are Kona coffee beans worth the price? 

What is the best Kona coffee?

​It’s no secret that Kona coffee beans are expensive. The best coffee Hawaii has to offer is grown in a micro-climate that is extremely ideal for coffee growth, but is it really worth such a high price tag?

You can skip to our best Kona coffees if you just want some ideas!


Let me lay out a scenario for you. You purchase two bottles of wine for a friend. One bottle is a decent mid-range dinner wine and the other is an expensive, top of the line bottle. If the person is not a wine lover, they probably aren’t going think that the expensive bottle is 10 times better than the cheap bottle, nor will they think the drastically increased price is worth paying.

The same can be said for coffee lovers and Kona beans. For those of us with a passion for coffee, it doesn’t get any better than this. For the casual coffee drinker that can take it or leave it, it’s probably not worth the price. Let’s be clear, most of us aren’t drinking a 100 percent Kona coffee as a daily coffee, this is extravagant, special occasion stuff.

In the same way that you might bring out a pricey bottle of wine at a fancy dinner party, you may decide to treat yourself every once in a while! In the end, you really need to try it yourself and decide if you think it’s worth it. I personally don’t purchase it all the time because of the price, but I am always thrilled to receive it as a gift! (It’s become the go-to Christmas and birthday gift for several of my relatives... no complaints).

Here's a quick summary of our picks for the best Kona coffee!

The Coffee

The Visual

Kona Qualities

Available As...

Extra Fancy Kona

Best Kona Coffee Hawaiian Kona Extra Fancy Coffee Whole Bean
  • Notes of wine, nuts & cinnamon 
  • 100% Kona, extra fancy grade beans

Gold 100% Kona

100 percent Kona coffee Hawaiian Gold 100 Kona Coffee
  • Rich notes of fruit, cream & brown-sugar
  • 100% Kona, extra fancy grade beans

Peaberry Kona

Peaberry Kona Coffee Hawaiian Peaberry Kona Coffee Whole Bean
  • Chocolate, nuts & spice
  • Concentrated flavor, peaberry style!

Where is Kona coffee grown? The Kona Coast!

The Hawaiian coffee region where the famous beans come from is a micro-climate located on the western coast of the island. Only coffee that is grown in this region can be called Kona coffee. This region puts forth optimal coffee growing conditions year round. The typical day consists of an ideal balance between sun and rain, and remains quite warm even overnight. 

Kona beans are grown at a high altitude, on volcanic slopes that provide consistently nutrient rich soil. Kona coffee farms are also highly regarded, as they tend to be independently owned and well taken care of. 

The combination of excellent growing conditions and the special care taken on Kona coffee farms result in some some truly remarkable beans.

Hawaii Kona Beaches

Kona beaches and Kona coffee... the dream.


Kona coffee blends and grading... go for pure Kona coffee!

There are a few things that you should keep an eye on when it comes to picking a Kona coffee to try. If you dig a little deeper than the initial sales pitch, you’ll find that a lot of Kona coffee brands are actually not pure Kona coffee. Many are blends that contain a relatively small percentage of Kona beans. 

There is nothing inherently bad about these blends, but for what you’re getting, the price can often be inflated. The best Kona coffee brands are 100 percent Kona coffee.

Another thing to be aware of is the coffee grading system used in Hawaii. Hawaiian coffee beans are graded based on their size and shape. If you’re going to splash out for some Kona beans, we recommend going all out and getting Extra Fancy beans, the highest grade.

One exception to the Extra Fancy classification is that of peaberry Kona coffee. Peaberries are naturally smaller and therefore not graded as extra fancy. The concentrated nature of peaberries themselves make for very worthwhile cup of Kona as well. More on peaberry coffee.


Hawaiian Kona Coffee Taste Profile

So what does Kona coffee taste like? The truth is that Kona coffee taste profiles have a decent amount of variety to them. That being said, you can expect your Kona coffee to have at least a few of the following characteristic;

  • Clean, smooth & often syrupy body
  • Intense flora, fruity or spicy aroma

  • Rich, with notes of brown sugar, chocolate, nuts, fruit & spices

  • Balanced, mellow acidity
  • A nice sustained finished with hints of chocolate or spice


Looking for the best Kona coffee? 

Worried about picking the wrong Kona coffee? Here are three pure Kona coffee options that we feel are well worth the price tag. Enjoy! You can click View Profile to see a detailed look at each coffee!


Extra Fancy Kona Coffee

Roasted By: Volcanica Coffee

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, notes of wine, nuts & cinnamon

Extra fancy Kona coffee is about as good as it gets! This coffee features prominent wine notes, as well as complimentary notes of cinnamon & nuts. A mellow, balanced acidity is nicely balanced and contributes a layer of complexity to this cup. The hints of spice stick around in the form of a sustained aftertaste. We tend to trust Volcanica when it comes to highly specialized coffees, so far they have done us no wrong!


Gold 100% Kona Coffee

Roasted By: Kona Gold Rum Co.

Roast: Medium

Taste: Rich, notes of fruit, brown sugar & cream

It's important to make sure your Kona coffee is 100% and not a blend. Don't worry, all three of our recommendations are legitimate! This coffee is very rich and has delicious brown sugar notes to it. Cream & fruity notes are also balanced in this  tasty profile. As expected, a nice mellow acidity contributes without overwhelming. This one is well worth the steep price tag!


Peaberry Kona Coffee

Roasted By: ​Hualālai Estate Coffee

Roast: Medium-Dark

Taste: Rich, notes of chocolate, nuts, spice & earth

Last but definitely not least, we have a peaberry Kona coffee. If you're a peaberry fanatic, it really doesn't get any better than this. Everything you expect from Kona coffee is presented in concentrated peaberry style. These beans have a fantastic spicy aroma. A wide variety of flavor notes including nuts, chocolate, spices & some earthy character are on display. As always, a mellow acidity sits in the background. A spicy chocolate aftertaste remains after the cup is complete, making a second cup almost a necessity. Worth. Every. Penny.

That's a wrap! What is your favorite Kona coffee? Let us know, we're always happy to hear about these delightful beans!

Have a coffee question? We may have the answer. Ask away!

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