First, a big thank you to Jeremy Lam of Konabox Coffee.
He was kind enough to send us a couple of bags of his coffee, all the way from Hawaii.
All Konabox coffees are 100% Kona coffee. This is an important point, because there are a lot of Kona “blends” out there pretending to be “Kona”. The trouble is, many of those blends contain only 10% or less of true Kona coffee beans.
Why try to mislead people? Because Kona coffee has a reputation for quality and commands a premium price as a result.
Kona coffee is unique in a couple of ways.
First, it’s the only coffee grown in the U.S.A., in a small region of the big island of Hawaii.
Second, Kona coffee is grown at a lower elevation than most other coffees in the world. The coffee trees flourish at this lower elevation in part because of the rich volcanic soil in which they grow, and also because of the unique climate around the islands.
The result is a coffee that has a unique teste and feel. That isn’t to say that Kona coffee is automatically wonderful. It still has to be grown, processed and roasted with care.
Of the two coffees Jeremy sent us, it’s the Huahua Farm coffee we have tried first.
While you can buy their Gold Label coffee any time you like, this Huahua Farm coffee is part of their subscription service – The Growers of Kona Club.
Join the club and each month you receive a new coffee from a different farm on the island.
I really like this approach. First, it allows you to taste the subtle differences between the coffees from each farm. Secondly, I think this is a great way to give some support and exposure to individual coffee farmers.
Most coffee farmers don’t get much recognition. Their beans are trucked off to processing plants and are mixed in with coffee beans from other growers in the region.
Kudos to Jeremy and his team for giving individual farms a moment in the spotlight.
When we opened the box he sent us, the Huahua Farm coffee was accompanied by a postcard with a photo of the owners – Phil and Clare Wilson – and their team. Plus some information on the farm and its coffee.
This coffee is a “Full City Roast”. That is to say, it’s at the top end of the scale for a Medium roast. By sight, when I looked at the beans, I think I would probably have identified them as Dark roast. So...right on the edge.
As always when tasting a new coffee, we ground the beans immediately before brewing, and brewed the coffee in our trusty Bonavita drip brewer.
We then left the coffee to cool for a few minutes. It’s hard to taste a coffee when it’s too hot.
The aroma is light. So we were a little surprised by the boldness of the coffee itself.
When I say bold, I don’t mean overly “strong” and definitely not harsh. But it certainly takes hold of your mouth and doesn’t have any tones that I would describe as light.
I can best describe the overall taste and feel as having a bittersweet velvety touch.
Every coffee has a degree of acidity. It’s central to the coffee taste. But in this coffee the acidity seems to be inseparable from the sweetness. It’s a bit like a bittersweet chocolate.
Beyond that, there is a touch of fruit in there somewhere. Not citrus. In the notes I took while tasting I scribbled “Peach?” That’s a first for me when trying to identify the fruit taste in a coffee!
Anyway, the coffee was great. It has the acidity I look for, but with a sweetness folded in and that mystery touch of fruit. Very smooth. Very nice.
The only other note I took that had a question mark was, “I wonder how this would taste with a slightly lighter roast?”
That’s not a criticism. Just me being curious.
NOTE: This product was sent to us free in return for a review. (That said, we always reserve the right NOT to review a free product if we don't like it, or feel you wouldn't like it.)
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