A Hawaii Kona Blend coffee (Hawaii Kona coffee blend) is a coffee that has some amount of coffee beans from the Kona region of Hawaii mixed with coffee beans from another location.
What Is the Goal of a Good Coffee Blend?
Typically the goal of creating a Kona coffee blend is to impart the best qualities of Kona coffee - clean, well-balanced, perhaps spicy and buttery with subtle winey tones and with a complex aroma and flavor and a fine aftertaste - to a large batch of coffee beans that will not cost as much overall as pure Kona coffee (100% Kona coffee) would cost. While the blend will never be directly to true 100% Kona beans, the same flavours and delicate balance is still achievable by a good coffee roaster, at a substantially reduced cost.
What is a Hawaii Kona Coffee Blend?
A Kona blend is any coffee which has some Kona coffee beans, and thus many coffee blends have been marketed as Kona blend coffees even though they contain only a very tiny amount of Kona coffee beans (technically, there could be just one Kona coffee bean), with the rest of the batch consisting of inferior, low-grade coffee beans.
Hawaii State Restrictions on Kona Coffee Blending
The practice of blending just a tiny amount of premium gourmet coffee beans grown in Kona with a large amount of inferior coffee, and then advertising and marketing the blend as a premium Kona coffee has led to restrictions on the practice in Hawaii due to the fear that this practice will diminish the quality of the Kona brand.
Coffees marketed with the name of the high quality Kona coffee beans yet consisting of mostly inferior coffee have caused confusion among consumers as to what Kona coffee actually tastes like, as these blends do not represent the quality of pure Kona coffee.
The Hawaii State Truth in Labeling Law of 2003
This issue led to the passage of a Hawaii State Law called the Hawaii State Truth in Labeling Law of 2003 which states that there must be at least 10% Kona coffee beans in any coffee that is labeled as a Hawaiian Kona Blend if the coffee is sold in Hawaii as a Kona Blend.
This law does not apply outside of Hawaii, however, and many companies in other places advertise their coffees as Kona Blend even though there may be just a tiny amount of Kona coffee beans.
Premium Gourmet Kona Coffee Blends
Despite these issues regarding inferior Hawaiian Kona blend coffees, there are also many legitimate blends that do convey the finer qualities of Kona coffee.
A well-chosen Kona blend will bring out the finer qualities of the each blended coffee and perhaps even provide a unique taste due to complementary characteristics of each coffee in the blend.
Hawaii Kona Blend Coffee and Espresso Brewing Tips
For tips on brewing the perfect cup of Hawaii Kona Blend coffee see our section on coffee brewing. We also provide detailed coffee flavor profiles of Specialty Coffees and instructions on preparing Espresso Drink Recipes.