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As the world's biggest importer of coffee, Americans are accustomed to drinking excellent gourmet coffee that has the highest quality in taste.  The temperate climate of most regions of the country means that America will always be dependent on other nations to grow the coffee that would scratch the itch of American coffee lovers.  However, there is one part of the country that is renowned for the coffee that it produces.  A high quality coffee that is renowned internationally, one sip of high quality Kona coffee produced in Hawaii will make any coffee lover sit up and shout 'Aloha'!

America has always had an interesting relationship with coffee.  Originally introduced in the country around 1668, drinking coffee was viewed as an American's patriotic duty after the events of the Boston Tea Party.  For these early Americans, there was no easier way to stick it to the British king than drinking coffee.  However, the tropical and subtropical climates needed to grow coffee plants that would yield high quality coffee limited the parts of the country that was able to produce coffee that would be acceptable for American's taste.  Fortunately, 1825 would be a momentous year for American coffee lovers.  That would be the year that a Hawaiian chief brought coffee plants from Brazil to the big island that is Hawaii.  This would lead to the production of a special type of coffee that Mark Twain would famously describe as having "a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it by what name you please."

While coffee was introduced to a number of areas on the big island of Hawaii, the rise of sugar cane as a major crop would lead to early Hawaiian coffee crops to be located in the areas of Kona and Hamakua.  Kona coffee plants are located on the cool slopes of the Hualalai and Mauna Loa Mountains in Hawaii.  The coffee plants grown in these areas are coffea arabica or Arabica coffee, a type of coffee plant that originates from Ethiopia and is commonly grown throughout the world.  However, as coffee aficionados know, the specific features of the area where coffee is grown will greatly influence the characteristics of the coffee.  A coffee's body, flavor, and aroma will be greatly influenced by the soil, altitude, and climate in which the coffee plant is grown.  The rich volcanic soil and afternoon cloud cover makes Hawaii one of the most unique coffee growing areas in the world and these conditions are responsible for the unique characteristics that make Kona coffee so loved throughout the world.

Pure Kona coffee is one of the most prized coffees in the world.  Its full bodied flavor and intoxicating aroma makes 100% Kona coffee one of Hawaii's most important exports.  Kona Hawaii coffee plants also has a distinct advantage of being grown on the big island when compared to other coffee growing areas in the world.  The climate of Hawaii creates a predictable coffee growing season for Hawaiian coffee growers.  Following the dry winters of Kona, coffee trees generally bloom and are harvested in the fall.  While many coffee products in supermarkets may be advertised as Kona coffee, the only true coffee that can be described as Kona Coffee are ones that have been cultivated in the North and South districts of Kona.

While Kona coffee is considered to be one an elite gourmet coffee, it is important to understand that Kona coffee goes through a vigorous grading process.  Kona coffee beans are sorted into different grades by size and shape with the peaberry coffee bean being the most elite of the Kona coffee beans.  Making up between 5% and 10% of the total Kona coffee harvest, peaberry beans have a more concentrated flavor than other Kona coffee beans.  They are formed when one side of a flower on a coffee plant fuses with another flower, which will then leave only one Kona coffee bean in the coffee cherry. A peaberry bean will be graded as extra fancy, the highest grade awarded for a Kona coffee bean.

Considering that Kona coffee is an elite type of coffee that can be compared to Java coffee and Mocha coffee, it is understandable that it is demand.  However, it is important for coffee lovers to be careful when they are purchasing Kona coffee products.  The best Kona coffee are ones that are 100 Kona coffee or 100% Kona coffee.  Coffee products that describe themselves as Kona Blend generally contain only 10% Kona coffee beans that are mixed with other coffee beans from around the world.  Don't sell yourself short and buy some premium Kona coffee beans.  It will make your mouth water and give you a taste that is uniquely Hawaii!