The Best Kona Coffee Brands To Try (and where to buy them)

Our Top Pick

Koa Coffee Peaberry Medium Roast

This exclusive Koa peaberry coffee is one of the best kona coffee brands. 

Shipped direct from the farm, be warned you may not be able to go back once you try one of the best kona coffees from Hawaii.

Click to review the price and options.

Best Kona Coffee Beans – Comparison Table

We have shortlisted the best 100% pure kona coffee bean brands for you here.

In our Hawaiian kona coffee review section below we discuss the features in more detail. 

Kona Coffee BrandImageRoastRatingPrice
Hawaii Coffee Company Royal Kona Estate Kona CoffeeHawaii Coffee Company Royal Kona EstateMedium4.8Check
Koa Coffee Peaberry Whole Bean Kona CoffeeKoa Coffee Peaberry Kona Coffee BeansMedium4.6Check
Kona Gold Rum Co Kona Whole BeansMedium-Dark4.5Check
Hualalai Estate PREMIUM Kona CoffeeMedium-Dark4.4Check
Blue Horse Kona CoffeeMedium4.5Check

What is Kona Coffee?

Kona beans are highly prized arabica coffee beans grown on the slopes of two volcanoes in the Gold Belt of the Kona District on Big Island, Hawaii.

Just 30 miles long by 2-3 miles wide, the Kona coffee belt includes both North and South Kona on the west coast of Big Island. Kona Coffee District Hawaii Map

Gourmet kona coffee beans are perfect for your french press, chemex or drip coffee makers as well as espresso.

It is also one of the most expensive coffees in the world.

Why are Kona Coffee Brands So Special?

Coffee production is only successful in a limited number of regions around the world. Coffee plants need the right combination of sun, rain and quality soil to produce great tasting coffee.

What makes Kona Hawaii coffee so highly prized is the Kona coffee belt has all the critical factors to produce the best tasting gourmet coffee:

  • Nutrient rich volcanic soil on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes.
  • Little need for irrigation.
  • Well drained slopes for ideal coffee growing conditions.
  • The perfect island microclimate of warm sunny days, humid wet afternoons and mild overnight temperatures.

Few coffee growing regions in the world can tick all these boxes and this is what makes Hawaiian Kona espresso beans so special.

When you combine these climatic factors with strict quality controls, hand cultivation and generations of family run business experience, you have the best brand of kona coffee.

What Does Kona Coffee Taste Like?

Kona coffee is renowned as a smooth, rich, sweet and medium bodied coffee.

The flavor notes will vary by farm, but many describe their roasts having flavors such as citrus, honey, caramel and chocolate. The aftertaste is often nutty without the bitterness found in many coffee roasts.

Kona coffee is also considered a low-acidity coffee, which is great for digestion.

Why is Kona Coffee so Expensive

Kona is valued by coffee connoisseurs for its highly aromatic, rich flavor but what makes kona coffee special and is kona coffee worth the price? 

The stand out reason why kona coffee is so highly prized is due to the perfect coffee bean growing conditions in the kona coffee belt. That reason alone helps produce stunning examples of the best gourmet coffee.   

But the price of kona coffee is also higher due to a number of factors relating to their production:

  1. The Kona region only has ~800 coffee farms, most on small acreages.
  2. Coffee is hand picked in small batches at peak ripeness during the year.
  3. Labor costs are higher on Kona coffee farms.
  4. Total yield is low due to the small number of farms and slow maturation period.

The result? A superior quality coffee in low quantities and high demand results in  a high price.

Growing Kona Coffee
A full bag of Kona Coffee beans. Credit: Christopher Michel – Growing Kona CoffeeCC BY 2.0Link

Kona Coffee Grades Explained

The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture overseas strict standards for grade Kona beans. We summarise the grades of kona coffee here so you understand  how to choose between the different the Kona hawaii coffee beans.

There are two types of coffee bean. Type 1 is your typical double coffee bean. It contains 2 beans per cherry.

The quality is assessed based on the size, shape, moisture content and purity of the bean. There are eight grades:

  1. Extra Fancy (the highest quality Kona coffee beans)
  2. Fancy
  3. Number 1
  4. Select
  5. Prime
  6. Number 3
  7. Natural Prime
  8. Mixed Natural Prime (the lowest quality Kona coffee beans)

Whilst all of the top 5 grades will produce a quality coffee, the best rated kona coffee is the Extra Fancy Kona coffee. Kona extra fancy beans are the ultimate in quality and will cost more than the other Kona coffee grades.

Type 2 Kona coffee beans are also known as Peaberry coffee beans. These have just 1 bean per cherry and make up only 5% of all Kona coffee beans.  There are two grades:

  1. Number 1
  2. Prime

Kona coffee peaberry beans are the champagne of the Hawaiian coffee world and naturally command the highest price.

Peaberry coffee beans have a higher moisture content, less defects and produce a smooth, full bodied coffee considered to be one of the best tasting coffees in the world.
Best Hawaiian Kona Coffee Brands - Kona Coffee Cherries

Are You Buying Real Kona Coffee?

Due to the premium price and value placed on Kona coffee, you need to be wary as there are many Kona blend coffee brands out there. Many Hawaiian coffee brands are not 100% pure kona coffee.

A Kona blend coffee needs to include just 10% Kona coffee beans. They are often priced higher than other great espresso beans like these ones but they will not give you the best Kona coffee experience.

It is often difficult to tell at first glance when you buy kona coffee beans whether it is genuine Kona coffee, or a Kona coffee blend. 

Here are some tips to ensure you are getting the best kona coffee in Hawaii:

  • Labelling: 100% pure Kona coffee brands will be labelled as 100% Kona coffee. Kona coffee blends will not. In fact they often avoid mentioning it.
  • District: Confirm it is grown in the Kona district. It is not Kona coffee unless the package states it is from Kona Hawaii.
  • State: Check the coffee is Hawaiian coffee. Many companies will name their foreign coffee as Kona or Hawaiian coffee to trick the unknowing consumer.
  • Grade: Expect to pay a premium for Peaberry and Extra Fancy Kona coffee beans. If you are looking for the top rated Kona coffee beans, the grade will usually be listed by the Kona coffee brand.

Best Kona Coffee Beans

Just because coffee is grown in the Kona region, doesn’t automatically mean it will taste great.

Differences in the quality of the soil, growing and production techniques as well as roasting methods produce distinctly different Kona coffees. 

While this may not be as noticeable if you drink milk coffee, the difference will be  obvious if you drink black coffee.

To help you choose the best Hawaiian Kona coffee beans, we have reviewed some of the best Kona coffee brands. 

Choose from this list and be confident you are buying pure kona coffee.

Best Kona Coffee Reviews

All Hawaiian coffee beans in our Kona coffee review are 100% Kona whole bean coffee.  

Some Kona coffee brands do offer ground Kona coffee, but honestly, if you are paying top dollar for Kona coffee beans, you need to grind those beans at home to achieve the best tasting coffee. 

Hawaii Coffee Company – Royal Kona Coffee Review

Hawaii Coffee Company Royal Kona Estate

Hawaii Coffee Company is the largest Kona coffee maker in the world and one of the best Hawaiian coffee brand choices. With a number of brands under their banner, the Royal Kona Private Reserve Estate is our top rated Kona coffee.

100% Kona coffee, Extra Fancy Grade and hand-picked from a single estate, it has a distinct aroma and smooth finish.

Royal Kona coffee is medium roast but has a light, clean, lively taste unlike some other Kona roasts.

This Kona coffee is great for any style of coffee, but if you love to make coffee in your Aeropress or Chemex, this is a great choice.

  • Medium Roast
  • Extra Fancy Grade
  • Single Estate Origin
  • Shipped direct from the farm
  • Decaf and Peaberry options available

Where to buy Royal Kona coffee? Hawaii Coffee Company sell Royal Kona coffee whole beans direct from the farm.  

>> Click here to check the price and order direct. 

Koa Coffee Peaberry Medium Roast Kona Coffee

Koa Coffee Peaberry Kona Coffee Beans

KOA Coffee company was founded in 1997 and has rapidly established itself as a leading Kona coffee brand.

Koa Kona coffee have a range of awards under their belt including Forbes best Kona coffee in America. They are renowned as one of the best hawaiian coffee brands and they produce some of the best pure kona coffee roasts. 

This Koa Coffee Estate medium roast  has a smooth, well balanced, crisp flavor and a sweetness often seen in Peaberry coffee. It is perfect for your french press or cold brew coffee maker and is a great choice for black coffee drinkers.

The ultimate in luxury, this gourmet coffee is one of the best Kona peaberry coffee options and makes a great gift for the coffee lover. 

  • Medium Roast
  • Exclusive peaberry coffee
  • Shipped direct from the farm
  • Wide range of roasts available

Where to buy Koa Coffee

Koa Peaberry coffee demand often outstrips supply. The best place to buy Koa Coffee is direct from the farm.  It isn’t cheap, but is worth trying at least once, so you should grab a bag when it is available.

>> Click here to check the prices and order kona coffee direct today!

Kona Gold Rum Co Kona Coffee Beans Review

This medium dark 100% Kona coffee by Kona Gold Rum Company was awarded first place in the Kona Crown Competition Division at the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition in 2016.

Hand picked, sun dried and air roasted, these pure Kona coffee beans are the highest Extra Fancy grade and are a top rated Kona coffee. 

The taste is smooth, highly aromatic with crisp fruity flavor and tones of molasses and  brown sugar. It is low in acid and makes a superb cup of coffee.

Many Kona coffee roasts are on the lighter side, so this medium dark roast is one of the best Kona coffee for espresso machines or an auto drip coffee maker.

  • Medium-Dark Roast
  • Extra Fancy Grade
  • Single Estate Origin
  • Great for espresso
  • Roasted on site

Hualalai Estate Kona Peaberry Coffee Review 

Hualalai Estate Coffee source the best Peaberry coffee beans from farms across the Kona region to produce a consistent quality coffee every time.

Promoted as pesticide free (although not certified organic) this medium dark roast has a full bodied taste and a more robust flavor than other Kona coffee brands on this list. 

If you love strong coffee then the Hualalai peaberry kona coffee is a great choice.

  • Medium Dark Roast
  • Peaberry coffee
  • Multi-estate origin
  • Pesticide free

Blue Horse Kona Coffee Review

Blue Horse Kona coffee is a mellow medium roast 100 percent Kona coffee. It is naturally low in acidity with spicy afternotes.

This good kona coffee has a lighter flavor so is best for french press, cold brew or chemex coffee drinkers. For espresso drinkers we recommend the Blue Horse dark roast.

To buy Blue Horse kona coffee beans, Amazon manage delivery with priority UPS shipping. Delivery is direct from Hawaii and takes only 2-3 days!

  • Medium Roast
  • Single Estate Origin
  • Estate Grade
  • Dark roast also available
  • Pesticide and herbicide free
  • Shipped direct from the farm

Where To Buy Kona Coffee Beans

Kona coffee beans are more difficult to find that your everyday coffee beans but the good news is you can buy the best kona coffee online (although it is a great excuse for a Hawaiian vacation!).

For some Kona coffee brands including our favorites, Koa Coffee and Hawaii Coffee Company you need to order direct from the farm. This is the best place to buy kona coffee for guaranteed freshnesss.

On Amazon kona coffee brands include Blue Horse and Kona Gold Rum Co. We recommend you purchase from the producer through Amazon where possible to ensure maximum freshness. And of course be wary of the blends when you are browsing through options.

If you are looking for a special Hawaiian coffee gift for a coffee lover, then BeanBox have a Hawaiian Coffee Sampler Box with 4 different coffees to try.

Click here to check the price for the BeanBox Sampler Box. 

How to Order The Best Kona Coffee on Amazon

The easiest way to ensure you never run out of genuine Kona coffee beans is to order online through Amazon Prime.

If you aren’t yet signed up to Amazon Prime you can sign up for a 30 day trial here. With free two day delivery, you can have the best espresso beans delivered straight to your door anytime.

The other great option is to order through AmazonFresh, the online grocery store.

Just order your weekly groceries online, include a bag of your favorite Kona coffee beans and choose the best same or next day delivery window. What could be easier?

Click here to try the AmazonFresh Free Trial today. 

However you decide to purchase your Kona coffee beans we hope you enjoy this special gourmet coffee. But be warned, it may be hard to go back once you have tried one of the best coffees in the world!

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