Coffee Q&A: Kona Coffee

What is Kona Coffee and why the heck is it so expensive? 

I’m not going to lie to you, readers. Until right now, I had no idea exactly what Kona Coffee was. Here’s what I did know:

It’s Hawaiian.

(That’s it)

So let’s do some digging.

What exactly is Kona Coffee? 

Kona Coffee is grown in Kona, Hawaii. Kona is located in the volcanic slopes on the West Coast of the Big Island. So, defining Kona Coffee is thankfully really easy.

But why is it so expensive?

Well, this is where it gets complicated. Several things affect the price of Kona Coffee.

First, it’s apparently delicious. I can’t speak on it, because I haven’t ever tried it. But everything I’ve read about it says that Kona Coffee is creamy, smooth, and sweet. And people are more than willing to spend money on a delicious cup of coffee. What makes Kona Coffee taste so good? It’s grown in rich, volcanic soil which helps bring out the minerals and sweetness in the coffee. Delicious coffee = price increase.

Also, Kona coffee is extremely rare. Less than 1% of Arabica Coffee in the world is Kona Coffee. And the entire growing area for Kona Coffee is less than 50 square miles. And it’s on the side of an active volcano- which, I imagine makes life difficult for the growers. Rare coffee = price increase.

And since Kona is located on The Big Island of Hawaii, any distributing must be done by shipping via Ocean Barge. High shipping costs = price increase.

A final factor that makes Kona Coffee so expensive is the labor costs. The minimum wage in the United States is much higher than the minimum wage in many other coffee-growing countries. And Kona coffee is completely picked and processed by hand! Skilled, fairly priced labor = price increase.

So we have four factors that make Kona Coffee the commodity that it is. The delicious taste, the rarity, the location, and the labor costs all factor into one pretty expensive cup of coffee. So you’ll have to try it for yourself to see if it’s worth the price!

Have you ever tried Kona Coffee? Is it worth the high price tag? Leave a comment and let me know!

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