RARE & SPECIALTY COFFEE FROM HAWAII AND AROUND THE WORLD
Coffee History Series
Best Tasting Hawaiian Coffee Beans in 2019 – Editors pick
We tasted over 20 brands of Hawaiian coffee and these are the tastiest.
Best Bold & Strong Flavor Hawaiian Coffee: Mountain Thunder
Mountain Thunder is a popular coffee company on the Big Island that grows coffee on their farm in Kona. This 100% Kona coffee is available as whole bean or ground coffee in either French or Vienna roast. Makes a bold tasting, strong cup of coffee perfect for waking up quick.
Best Smooth & Rich Tasting Hawaiian Coffee: Blue Horse
Blue Horse 100% Kona coffee tastes smooth enough to warrant being drunk black. Smooth and rich flavor. From an authentic family farm in Kona with over 120 year old coffee trees. Comes in Medium and Dark roast coffee beans.
What Should You Know Before Buying Coffee Beans?
Light roasts offer smoother taste, with varying levels of acidity depending on how it was roasted. Light roasts are sweeter and floral without the bitter bite of dark roast.
Dark roasts give off a bolder taste, and some bitterness too. Dark roasts are on the decadent chocolate side of the flavor spectrum compared to the fruitiness of light roast.
Light City,Half City,Cinnamon Roast, New England Roast
- Less oil and caramelized sugars.
- Roasted at 350°F–400°F before first crack.
- Sweet and complex flavors.
Regular Roast, American Roast, City Roast, Breakfast Roast
- Small amount of oil and caramelized sugars
- Roasted at 400°F-425°F before second crack.
- Balanced and reduced acidity.
Full-City Roast, After Dinner Roast, Vienna Roast
- Fair amount of oil and carmalized sugars.
- Roasted at 425°F–435°F before, at second crack.
- Oily beans with a stronger flavor.
French Roast, Espresso Roast, Continental, Spanish, Italian
- Max amount of oil, sugars may be burnt.
- Roasted at 435°F–485°F at, beyond second crack.
- Bold and decadent flavors.
What About Roasting Coffee?
Most coffee is roasted in industrial coffee roasting machines, however don’t let that stop you from exploring green (unroasted) coffee beans.
You can roast coffee yourself at home with a simply frying pan. Be aware that it will make the room smoky.
While roasting coffee you notice the moisture come out of the bean as a loud “crack”. It sounds like popping popcorn as the cells of the beans are rupturing. These cracks are considered guidelines for coffee roasting.
- Light roasts will not crack.
- The first crack comes after some time at 401°F. This is ranging into light-medium roast.
- The second crack happens at 428-446°F (Full City or Vienna). Usually, most roasts don’t go past the second crack (around 437-446°F ), this is a French dark roast.
The longer the bean is roasted, the more undesirable bitter tannic acid compounds get removed from the coffee. A good balanced roast for most coffee drinkers tastes not too sweet yet not too bitter. With a longer roast also comes more sugar.
One would assume that caramelized sugars would increase the sweetness of coffee, but interestingly enough the opposite of this is true. Uncaramelized sugars are actually sweeter which is why some coffee drinkers prefer a sweet light roast, while others prefer the sensations of a bold dark roast.
What is 100% Arabica Coffee?
There’s roughly 25 major species of coffee within the Coffea Genus. Of these 25 species, Coffee arabica (Arabica) is grown most, prized for it’s great flavor spectrum and low bitterness.
Arabica and canaphora (Robusta) make up the majority of the world’s coffee production:
Coffea canaphora (Robusta)
Makes up 27% of the world’s coffee consumption
Coffee canephora, endemic to Western and Central Africa is commonly referred to as Robusta. This high caffine content coffee is cheaper to produce and has a less desirable taste profile.
Coffea arabica (Arabica)
Makes up 70% of the world’s coffee consumption
Coffee arabica is the “coffee shrub of Arabia” endemic to the regions of Yemen and Ethiopia and is thought to be the first species of coffee cultivated. This highly valued coffee is renowned for it’s low bitterness and smooth taste.
About the Author
Hi there, my name is Jared Cox. I have a small coffee farm on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii. In the off-season I travel throughout Asia and drink plenty of coffee to keep me going. You can contact me via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jared Cox, Coffee Enthusiast