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The Best Kona Coffee Beans 2024 (and where to buy them)

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If you love premium coffee, you’ve probably heard of Kona. Considered one of the top gourmet coffees in the world, the best Kona coffee beans brew a smooth, rich, complex and deeply aromatic coffee.

There are quite a few great Hawaiian Kona coffee roasters to choose from, but it isn’t always easy to judge whether you are buying the real deal.

So if you want to enjoy one of the best kona coffees, read on. In this guide I highlight some of the best Kona coffee brands to try plus explain how to be sure you are purchasing genuine 100% Kona coffee.

Close up of coffee beans on tree from hawaiian coffee farm.

Top Pick For The Best Hawaiian Kona Coffee Beans

Koa Coffee Estate Medium Roast

Koa Coffee produce some of the best Kona coffee in Hawaii and beans are shipped direct from the farm.

They produce a range of premium and super premium coffees, and the Estate Medium Roast is one of the best examples of this style of coffee. 

>> Click here to buy it now or read on for the full review.

Best Kona Coffee Beans 2024 Comparison

Below is a handy table where you can see all the best 100% pure Kona coffee bean brands reviewed in this guide.

Read on as I discuss the features in more detail in my reviews below. 

What Is Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is renowned for being a highly aromatic, smooth, rich, sweet and medium bodied coffee.

It also has a reputation as one of the best and most expensive types of coffee in the world.

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 and it is naturally low in acid.

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

Kona Hawaii Map.

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

The beans are perfect for your french press, chemex or drip coffee makers and some of the darker roasts are good for espresso too.

Why Are Kona Brands So Special?

Coffee production is only successful in a limited number of regions around the world.

The reason for this is that coffee plants need the right combination of sun, rain and quality soil to produce great tasting coffee.

So what makes Kona Hawaii coffee highly prized is that this coffee belt has all the critical factors to produce the best tasting gourmet coffee including:

  • Nutrient rich volcanic soil on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes.
  • Little need for irrigation due to high rainfall.
  • 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 beans so special.

Plus, when you combine these climatic factors with strict quality controls, hand cultivation and generations of family run business experience, the result is not only the best coffee in Hawaii, it is world famous quality coffee.

Hessian coffee bag filled with coffee beans.
A full bag of coffee beans. Credit: Christopher Michel – Growing Kona CoffeeCC BY 2.0Link

Best Kona Coffee In Hawaii Reviews

In order to help you choose the best Hawaiian Kona coffee beans, I have reviewed some of the top 100% pure Kona coffee brands below. 

It is worth noting that all my best Kona coffee reviews are for 100% Kona whole bean coffee.  

Some companies do sell ground coffee, but honestly, if you’re paying top dollar for pure Kona, you need to grind those beans at home to appreciate the unique taste of Kona.

Hawaii Coffee Company Royal Kona

  • Medium Roast
  • Multi estate origin
  • Shipped direct from farm
  • Decaf & Peaberry available

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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 one of the top rated Kona coffee options.

Royal Kona is a medium roast but has a light, clean, lively taste unlike some other Kona roasts. Hand-picked from the best Kona harvests across multiple estates, it has a distinct aroma and smooth finish.

It is great for any style of coffee, but I like it best for black coffee brewed in a French Press or Chemex.

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

>> Click here to check the price and order direct

Koa Coffee Estate Medium Roast

  • Medium Roast
  • Single estate origin
  • Shipped direct from farm
  • Wide range of roasts available

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Koa Coffee company was founded in 1997 and has rapidly established itself as a leading Kona brand growing some of the best coffee in Kona.

Koa Kona coffee have a range of awards under their belt including Forbes best Kona coffee in America and are renowned as one of the best Hawaiian coffee brands.

The Estate Medium Roast coffee comes from a single high elevation farm and has a rich and smooth flavor with a subtle sweetness and very little bitterness.

Read any Koa Coffee review and you’ll see they have many happy customers. It is a great choice for your pour over, french press or cold brew coffee maker.

>> Click here to check the price and order direct from the farm

Hawaiian Lion 24k Gold Roast

  • Medium-light Roast
  • Multi estate origin
  • Best for pour over

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This medium light roast by Lion Coffee is much loved by many coffee lovers. They have been roasting in Hawaii since 1969 and are part of the Hawaii Coffee Company.

The best coffee beans from the harvests are selected to use in their Kona coffee which is one of the more affordable Kona beans on this list.

The taste is light, smooth and highly aromatic and it makes a superb cup of coffee.

Many Kona roasts are on the lighter side, so you will appreciate the flavors most with manual or drip style brews.

>> Click here to check the price and read more reviews

Volcanica Coffee Hawaiian Kona

  • Medium Roast
  • Extra fancy grade
  • Single estate origin
  • Shipped direct from Volcanica
  • Peaberry available

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Volcanica Kona coffee is a premium extra fancy grade 100% Kona coffee, shade grown on the Greenwell Estate in Hawaii.

It is a super smooth full bodied brew with a rich buttery flavor and an interesting mix of floral notes and caramel undertones.

Roasted in Atlanta, Georgia, this whole bean coffee is one of the best Kona coffee from Hawaii.

And like most other brands, the best place to buy is direct from the company to guarantee maximum freshness.

>> Click here to check the price direct from Volcanica

Koa Coffee Peaberry Medium Roast

Bag of Koa Coffee Peaberry Coffee Beans.
  • Medium Roast
  • Multi estate origin
  • Shipped direct from farm

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For those searching for premium Hawaiian coffee, the Koa Peaberry beans are considered by many to be the best Kona Peaberry coffee beans in Hawaii.

This 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. 

Where to buy Koa Coffee? Koa Peaberry coffee demand often outstrips supply. The best place to buy Koa coffee beans is direct from the farm. 

It isn’t cheap, but it is worth trying at least once, so you should grab a bag when it is available.

>> Click here to check the price and order direct from the farm

Kona Gold Coffee

Kona Gold Run Co Beans
  • Medium-dark Roast
  • Extra fancy grade
  • Single estate origin
  • Air roasted
  • Award winning coffee

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Kona Gold Rum Co produce award winning Full City roast Extra Fancy grade beans grown at high elevation in Kealakekua in Hawaii.

The beans are wet-method processed and air roasted to preserve the bright crisp flavors.

With notes of citrus and peach and tones of molasses and brown sugar, this is a smooth and mellow blend of coffee that is perfect for drip, french press and pour over coffee brewing.

Kona Gold Rum Co are a popular choice on Amazon and often sell out – so grab them when they are available!

>> Click here to check the price

Keala’s Hawaiian Coffee

  • Medium Roast
  • Extra fancy grade
  • Multi estate origin
  • Seattle based roaster
  • Best for french press

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Keala’s Hawaiian comes from the slopes of Holualoa on the Big Island of Hawaii and is sourced direct from the top 20% of all beans grown in Kona.

Beans are fresh picked and hand processed then freshly roasted in small batches in Seattle. Grown chemical free, these extra fancy grade beans are the best of the best.

The taste is well balanced with a smooth, pleasant body and hints of toasted coconut and passionfruit.

Great to brew in your French Press or Pour Over, Keala’s Kona coffee is a popular choice, so don’t delay as it sells out fast!

>> Click here to check the price and read the reviews

Blue Horse Kona Whole Beans

Blue Horse Kona
  • Medium Roast
  • Estate grade
  • Single estate origin
  • Pesticide and herbicide free
  • Shipped direct from farm

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

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

One of the best Kona coffee on Amazon options, it is often out of stock due to high demand, so if it is available, don’t delay your purchase!

When you buy online, Amazon manage delivery with priority UPS shipping. Delivery is direct from Hawaii and takes only 2-3 days.

>> Click here to check the price for Blue Horse

Imagine Kona Coffee Beans

Imagine Kona Organic Coffee Beans
  • Medium-dark Roast
  • Extra fancy grade
  • Single estate origin
  • Air roasted
  • Peaberry available

CHECK PRICE

Imagine Kona coffee beans are a medium-dark Full City roast grown at high elevation and sun dried, derived from Extra Fancy grade beans.

Kona by Imagine is air roasted instead of drum roasted. This reduces the risk of charring and contributes to the sweet, robust flavor noted in this authentic coffee. As a result it lacks the bitterness associated with many dark roast coffees.

Imagine is a good choice if you are looking for quick delivery of Kona extra fancy coffee beans direct from Amazon.

>> Click here to check the price for Imagine Kona

Why Is Kona So Expensive?

At this point you may be asking yourself why these beans are so expensive!

In addition to the highly valued taste of this gourmet coffee, the high price tag 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 combined result of a superior quality coffee in low quantities and high demand is a high price.

Hawaiian Coffee Grades Explained

Now you’ve taken a look at the different brands (and prices) it is worth taking a quick look at the way Kona coffee beans are graded, as should have a direct impact on price.

The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture overseas strict standards to grade Kona beans.

I summarise the grades here to help you choose between the different the brands. There are two types of coffee bean – type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 Beans

The first type, 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 for Type 1:

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

Whilst all of the top 5 grades will produce a quality coffee, the best rated coffee is the Extra Fancy grade.

Kona extra fancy beans are the ultimate in quality and will cost more than the other grades.

Type 2 Beans

The second type, type 2 beans, are also known as Peaberry coffee beans. These have just 1 bean per cherry and make up only 5% of all beans. 

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.

Type 2 has two grades:

  1. Number 1
  2. Prime

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

Coffee Cherries on tree closeup.

Are You Buying Real Kona Coffee?

Due to the premium price and value placed on Kona beans, you need to be wary as there are many Kona copycats out there.

While pure Kona is 100% Kona coffee beans, there are many Kona blend coffee brands marketing themselves as Kona coffee.

However, a Kona blend coffee needs to include just 10% Kona beans. Indeed, many Hawaiian coffee brands are not 100% pure Kona.

However the blends are often priced higher than other great espresso beans like these ones and are often marketed as “Kona”. But a blend is not 100% Kona and it will have a different flavor to the real deal.

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

So here are some tips to ensure you are buying 100% Kona from Hawaii:

  • Labelling: Genuine Kona will be labelled as 100% pure Kona. Coffee blends will not. In fact they often avoid mentioning it at all.
  • District: Confirm it is grown in the Kona Hawaii district.
  • 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 beans. If you’re looking for the top rated Kona coffee beans, the grade will usually be clearly listed on the packaging.

Where To Buy Kona Coffee Beans

Kona beans are more difficult to find than your everyday coffee beans as they are produced in lower quantities.

However the good news is you can buy many Kona brands online (although it is also a great excuse for a Hawaiian vacation!).

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

On Amazon, the best brands include Blue Horse and Imagine.

I 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.

More Coffee Bean Reviews

Discover even more great coffee bean brands in my coffee bean reviews:

Find all my coffee bean reviews here. For tips on coffee brewing, see my brew guides here.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Kona Coffee Beans and the best Kona coffee brands
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Rachel Rodda

It's no surprise that as a former barista and founder of Creators of Coffee, I'm obsessed with all things coffee. I love to share easy and delicious coffee recipes, expert brewing tips and helpful coffee gear reviews with my fellow coffee lovers!