Last month I took a look at a growing lawsuit concerning Kona coffee, the unique Hawaiian coffee variety, and how it’s been a hotbed for marketing exaggeration and low quality.
Big Island Coffee Roasters, a small-batch roaster specializing in Kona coffee, has a lot to offer to the conversation. Their recent blog post on Hawaiian coffee tackles a common myth about the ‘inherent magic’ of the origin. Too many people believe you can grow your coffee in Hawaii and voila! It’ll automatically be delicious and tick off a high score on the grading scale. Clearly, that’s not how it works.
The roaster proceeds to discuss their recent experience with a Hawaii-based food manufacturer, who had brought up a concern about the bad flavor of the Kona coffee they had sourced. Turns out the beans were overloaded with defects and, despite multiple roasting sessions, always tasted sour and metallic. I’m pretty open-minded, but aluminum flavor notes don’t sound very appealing.
While some coffee drinkers may think it’s a lot of fuss to worry about details like single-origin, altitude, and storage, they all mean the difference between a fantastic coffee bag and a bag you can’t finish. As of recently, a new bill is being proposed to improve quality control in Kona Coffee. There is also keen interest in providing financial consequences to businesses who try to circumvent honesty in their marketing campaigns.
I recently tried one of Big Island Coffee Roasters‘ coffees, which I’ll be reviewing soon in my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. While it’s sourced from Peru, I enjoyed it quite a lot and commend it as one of the best darker-roasted coffees I’ve had.
Maybe someday I’ll get to try an authentic decaf Kona coffee, but until then…