Grades. Coffee grades are based on size of beans and number of defects. Kona coffee is graded Extra Fancy, Fancy, No. 1 and Prime (Type I) and Peaberry (Type II). The more expensive Peaberry has a reputation for being more intense, full-bodied and flavorful. Extra Fancy and Fancy are also a very intense coffee with excellent full-bodied flavor which should be mellow to the taste and leave a good after-taste. No. 1 and Prime are primarily commercial grades used by roasters and blenders in bulk, with the distinct excellent Kona body and flavor.
Roasts. The typical roasts are light, medium and dark. Most drinkers prefer the medium or Viennese roast. For those who prefer espresso-type coffees, the dark French roast is recommended. Roasters take the green bean through the first “crackle” to about 450° and then cool rapidly. Dark French roasts take the bean to a second “crackle” to give the bean a slightly burnt and more robust flavor. Home roasters can often replicate professional roasters and roast to their particular requirements. The roasted coffee is then immediately packaged in special coffee bags with one way vents. The roast continues to emit aroma and will often expand the bag until the coffee cools. These aromas are produced by release of the oils contained in the coffee beans during the roasting process.
Freshness. Roasted coffee loses its optimum aroma and flavor over time. Air, moisture, heat and light can break down the coffee. We recommend storing coffee in sealed airtight containers (either the original coffee bag or porcelain containers with rubber seals). Do not store in a refrigerator or freezer, as moisture may accumulate around the beans. Grind only the amount of coffee you will use in a week. Ground coffee tends to lose flavor faster than whole beans.
Grinding. Grind to the correct level. Too fine will over extract flavor and possibly cause a bitter cup of coffee. Too coarse of a grind will taste watery with flat or little flavor and no body. Experiment with your grinder to get exactly the right brew for you. Generally, grind coarse for French Press, medium for drip brew (most common) and fine for Espresso.
Proportions. We recommend one level tablespoon of coffee for every 6 oz. cup of coffee for an average strength preferred by most coffee drinkers. Another measure is .4 oz of coffee per cup for an average strength cup and .5 oz. for a stronger cup. Using these measures, a 1 lb. bag of coffee should serve a single drinker with 30-40 cups of coffee.
Water. We recommend filtered cold tap water or bottled water to eliminate undesirable tastes in your cup. Do not use distilled water. Coffee is typically brewed to about 200° F to maximize release of the flavorful oils and aromas from the grind which create the rich, full-bodied, mellow cup of 100% Kona coffee we all enjoy. Do not let your coffee sit too long. It tends to become more bitter as the water begins evaporating and the oils begin breaking down. Freshly brewed is always best.
Maintaining Your Equipment. Be sure to keep all coffee surfaces clean by washing and drying. Water minerals will concentrate and deposit on the side of your pot and can impart an unwanted mineral taste to your next brew. Old coffee oils will also deposit and leave bitter and rancid tastes over time.
Drip or Filtered Method. Use either a paper or metal filter with a medium grind.
French Press. Boil the water, cool slightly and then pour over coarse ground coffee. Let it steep for about 4 minutes before plunging slowly to give the grounds a chance to interact with the water to properly release the aromatic oils. French press coffee is typically stronger than drip coffee.
Espresso Machines. Espresso coffee is darker and stronger than the coffees prepared by drip or press. You will want to use a dark roast (French or Italian) to produce the more robust, slightly burnt taste.