Asian and Pacific Coffee

Hawaiian Kona

Flavor Characteristics (see Coffee Taste Terms):

  • Complexity: Simple and balanced
  • Acidity: High
  • Body: Medium-high mouthfeel, like whole milk
  • Aroma: Floralk

Facts about Hawaiian coffee

  • Facts: Typically the second most expensive coffee in the world.
  • Region: Pacific Ocean
  • Main growing areas: Kona
  • Hawaiian Kona coffee is celebrated by experts, but is also potentially overpriced. Consider that most other coffee growing parts of the world are not rich nations and as a result, export most of their best coffee for whatever global price coffee is fetching. Hawaii, on the other hand, is in the United States and not as reliant on the world's consumption of their coffee. Short supply of the coffee also contributes to its high price, and you will usually find a 10% Kona Blend is better priced for retail than a 100% Kona Blend which would be at least triple in price to other coffees.
  • Kona is a district of the state of Hawaii on the southwest coast of the "Big Island". Kona coffees will usually be a blend of beans from different estates of this region.
  • The unique conditions of Kona make for unique coffee growing usually reserved for highlands, and this is certainly the most world-famous coffee out of Hawaii. Every afternoon, you could almost set your watch to the regular cloud cover and drizzle of Kona that emulates the high-growing conditions of other coffee-growing regions.
  • There have been stories in the past of other coffees packaged as Hawaii Kona, but with today's controls and a reputable source, you shouldn't worry about getting an impostor.

If you like Hawaiian coffee, you might like...

  • Costa Rican coffee: Both coffees feature a simple and balanced flavor. Both have high acidities. Costa Rican coffee, on the other hand, has a heavier body whereas Hawaiian coffee has a medium-high body. Hawaiian coffee also has a floral aroma that Costa Rican coffee does not.
  • Columbian coffee: When we call these two coffees comparable, take it with a grain of salt. Both have simple and balanced flavors, both have high acidities, and both have floral aromatic qualities. Colombian coffee has a heavier body than Hawaiian coffee. The reason to take this comparison lightly is because today's coffee drinker has become accustomed to Colombian coffee from its mass marketing to the world. To compare these two does not account for the fact that your taste buds are likely used to Colombian coffee and you notice significant enough difference in the flavor between these two.

Sumatran

Flavor Characteristics (see Coffee Taste Terms):

  • Complexity: Complex
  • Acidity: High
  • Body: Medium mouthfeel, like 2% milk
  • Aroma: Earthy

Facts about Sumatran coffee

  • Region: Indonesian island
  • Main growing areas: Lintongnihuta, Diari
  • Sumatran coffee is very well-regarded among connaisseurs for a bold complex flavor, a bright acidity, and a body that is not light but also not very heavy. The acquired taste is the earthy aroma that will taste 'dirty' to some, but is a welcome nuance to some coffee drinkers.

If you like Sumatran coffee, you might like...

  • Kenyan coffee: These two coffees are very similar, in complex flavor, in body, and in acidity. The biggest difference will be that Kenyan coffee does not have the earthy aromatic 'quality' that a Sumatran does.
  • Guatemalan coffee: This is another bold cup of coffee, and the difference is that Guatemalan coffee is generally thicker than Kenyan or Sumatran coffee. Guatemalan coffee also is rich in aromatic qualities so it will have a bold flavor like Sumatran coffee, but a different flavor. You might find you really enjoy both of them and for different reasons.

Check out Marc's posts on Coffees of the World