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Kona Coffee - The World's Favorite Blend

Kona Coffee Cherries at Harvest

All coffee connoisseurs are familiar with the rich dark blend known worldwide as Kona Coffee. It is one of the most expensive and popular coffees available, with a reputation for flavor that is unmatched. The coffee can only be legally called Kona Coffee if it is grown on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai in the Kona district of Hawaii's big island. The perfect combination of soil and weather in this location are responsible for the coffee's unique flavor. Kona has a predictable weather pattern characterized by sunny mornings, cloudy afternoons, mild nights and very little wind. The volcanic soil on the slopes of Kona is porous and mineral rich, guaranteeing a bountiful crop of flavorful coffee beans year after year.

The history of coffee growing in Hawaii dates back to the early 1800's. Samuel Ruggles brought Brazilian coffee plant clippings to the islands in 1828 and began the rich tradition of coffee plantations in Kona. The coffee crop would take many years to catch on, as sugarcane was still the island nation's preferred cash crop. Many Japanese were brought to Kona specifically for the purpose of working on the Kona Coffee plantations and eventually leased small parcels of between 5 and 10 for themselves and farmed the land as a family venture. The plantations are still largely family owned and operated, mainly by Japanese and Filipinos.

The Kona Coffee plant begins blooming in February and March, ushered in by small white flowers covering the tree known locally as "Kona Snow". By the end of August the coffee plant grows a red fruit called a "cherry" due to its resemblance to the fruit. The coffee plant then ripens for picking and is harvested several times between August and January. Each tree will produce between 20-30 pounds of "cherries", all of it being hand-picked. The beans are run through a pulper within 24 hours of picking to separate the pulp from the beans. Once the beans are rinsed and dried they are ready to be roasted.

Though many have tried to imitate the rich flavor and bold taste of Kona Coffee, none have come close. The unique combination of climate, soil, and weather provide conditions that create a one of a kind coffee bean. Each year over 2 million pounds of Kona Coffee is produced, with the demand still far outstripping the supply. True coffee lovers worldwide gladly pay top dollar for the privilege of the wonderful smell of Kona Coffee in the morning to start their day.

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