Why is Kona coffee so expensive?
Sticker shock? If so, this might be your first introduction to the specialty coffee realm. Much like higher end wines and foods, Kona is a specialty coffee grown only in the Kona Coffee Belt of Hawaii’s Big Island. Let’s break it down further:
The “Belt” is roughly 40 square miles (1-mile wide). Compare that to the state of Rhode Island at 1,034 square miles! Putting that into perspective, all of the Kona coffee grown and sold on a 1-mile wide, 30-mile long patch of volcanic soil must come from this patch the size of the U.S.’ smallest state – to serve all of North America and beyond.
Volcanos and Coffee?!? Yes, you read that right! Kona Coffee grows in the rich volcanic soils of the largest active volcano on earth, Mauna Loa. A combination of elevation and the richness of the soil combine to grow one of the most exotic coffees in the world. Did we mention an island already? Keep in mind once the coffee is grown, somehow it has to be shipped in to the mainland and usually by barge.
Work Force No machines or large scale production processes are in place, which means manual labor and at a cost. Unlike other origin countries where there are no minimum wage requirements, which help to keep costs low, Kona requires handpicking of those beans, or “cherries” at that stage of the process. Kona trees yield anywhere between 15-20 pounds of those cherries, per tree.
Kona truly is 100% U.S. grown, harvested, roasted, and packaged. Let’s try and see if those larger marketing coffee companies can say the same!
What about those “Kona blends” on the store shelf? Are they real Kona?
Not exactly. Much like the gasoline that fuels your vehicle, Kona blends aren’t pure Kona. Much of these blends are of another origin (Ethiopian, Columbian, Sumatran, etc.), and contain only 10% or less of this beautifully tasting bean. As you can imagine, the true taste and aroma of Kona is lost. Why pay more for something you aren’t actually seeing the benefit of? With every purchase of Caldera Kona, you can be assured you’re only drinking full octane (Kona).
Did you know? Many Kona coffee farms teamed together to file a lawsuit against larger retailers for selling Kona “blends” with no attention to the amount of Kona actually contained within the packaging? Without a certification, or notation on the package how are you to know if you really are getting 10% of Kona in that bag? Coffee for thought…
How should I brew my coffee?
The answer depends largely on your brew method. If you prefer to throw as many grounds as possible in your K-cup filter, or take a more refined approach, we won’t judge either way! For Chemex/pour over style brewing, we would recommend 2oz Caldera Kona to every 5oz water using a medium-fine grind.
What makes Kona coffee so special?
Caldera Kona is strictly grown, harvested, packaged, and shipped within the United States. Unlike some coffee companies marketing that they support America and American made products (we’re glad they do!) Caldera Kona is truly 100% American, supporting the American jobs market, American small businesses, Veterans, those on the front line and first responders.