Coffee profile: Hawaiian Kona, Extra Fancy

Hawaiian Kona is the only coffee grown in the United States. Kona coffee grows on the breathtaking slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa between 3,500 – 4,400 feet above sea level, in the Kona districts of Big Island. The highest grade Kona, ‘extra fancy’, is grown on Captain Cook Estate, one of Hawaii’s oldest, most esteemed coffee facilities. Captain Cook Estate began growing and processing Kona coffee in the 1880s and currently purchases coffee cherries from over 450 private estate farmers. In addition to purchasing from local farmers, Captain Cook has its own estate farm located in the South Kona District. There are other coffees grown in Hawaii but they cannot be classified as Kona. Kona coffees must be grown in the Kona districts.

Coffee was first brought to the Kona district in 1828 by Samuel Reverend Ruggles with cuttings from Brazil. Kona’s environment is near perfect for growing coffee — sunny mornings, a gentle, consistent rain, afternoon cloud cover, and nutrient-rich volcanic soil. The growing altitude is good and certainly the best in Hawaii at about 4,000 feet above sea level. Kona’s coffee trees flower in February and March, creating what is known in the region as “Kona snow”. Green berries appear in April and by August, red cherries are plentiful and ready to be picked. At Mills, we roast these gorgeous beans to a medium shade to preserve the beans’ delicate flavors — rich honey syrup with hints of orange. This cup is bright and well-balanced with a good body. The aroma is enticing and has been known to attract all inhabitants to the kitchen when brewing. Kona, unlike some other American coffees, is neither heavy nor bold. Instead, it is crystal clear with a lively flavor, good acidity, and an excellent finish.

Unfortunately, we are currently out of Hawaiian Kona but if you would like to know when it is back in stock, please email us at

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