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Things to Know Before You Buy Gourmet Kona Coffee

All Kona coffees are not alike. Saying that all Kona coffees are the same is like saying all wine from Napa is the same. There are bad, average, good, and extraordinary wines in Napa. The same holds true for Kona coffee.

Coffee beans, like grapes, take on the “goût de terroir,” or taste of the land. Kona Coffee taste is affected by the elevation, soil, orientation to the sun, drainage, pruning, watering and fertilizing. Farms next door to each other often produce coffees which are dramatically different in quality and flavor.

Just as importantly, great coffee requires careful picking. Many farms pay their pickers by the pound. The result is that the pickers try to maximize their pay by picking unripe and over ripe beans along with the good beans. Hula Daddy pays its pickers by the hour to pick only red ripe coffee. It costs more because only picking ripe coffee is slower but we get the best beans for our coffee. We also sort the harvested fruit before it is pulped so that any beans that are damaged or not perfect won’t wind up in our roasted coffee.

Coffee can be ruined by poor processing.  Premium coffee beans have to be pulped, fermented, washed, dried, hulled, graded, sorted and stored perfectly to create an outstanding cup of coffee. We monitor each step of the process to make sure that the beans are at their best. At each stage we sort out bad beans. We don’t throw them away – we sell them to large coffee distributors for their discount labels.

Buy Kona Coffee from the Actual Grower

Coffee typically passes through three or four different companies before getting to the consumer. Each distributor moves and stores the coffee. Each move delays the time it takes to get to you, sometimes months, sometimes years.

If you buy direct, you reduce the chance of poor shipping and storage. The only person who can honestly vouch for the purity and quality of the coffee is the person who grew it.

Buy Fresh Grown Coffee Beans

Ask when the coffee beans were grown. Most coffee is brewed from beans that were grown years before. Even if the coffee is “fresh roasted” the beans may still be old. Fresh roasted old coffee is still old coffee. Gourmet Kona Coffee is brewed from this year’s crop.  You don’t drink wine made from old grapes and you shouldn’t drink coffee made from old coffee beans.

Buy Kona Coffee Beans from Someone who is Passionate

Growing coffee is like growing wine grapes. Great wines come from vineyards where the workers are passionate about the wine. Great coffee comes from plantations where the grower is passionate about quality. Farmers who care about their coffee are excited and interested. Farmers and distributors who are out to make a buck don’t want to waste their time. Talk to the grower – expect their coffee to reflect their passion.

Two years ago we won both the Kona Cupping Competition and the Hawaii Cupping Competition. Last  year we came in second in the Hawaii Cupping Competition. This year we won the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition again. In December 2016, Coffee Review rated our Laura’s Reserve SL-28 as the third best coffee of 2016.

Try different Kona coffees. Talk to the person who grew those coffees. Great tasting Kona coffee comes from farmers who want to talk to you, about their coffee, how they produce it and why they are proud of it.




  1. doug taylor says:

    Knowing how to bring up this discussion took me three tries – click on the picture (not obvious to me).

    The discussion is very clear and informative, though I still don’t know where to insert a thermometer in my coffee maker to check the temperature of the water.

    The discussion also has to make the point that HulaDaddy meets all the criteria of good coffee soil, planting, nurturinf, picking, processing and timely shipping. The message is implied; but the question remains, “Why HulaDaddy” and not a dozen or more other Hawaiian producers’ coffee. What truly make HuaDaddy distictly and most favorably different?

    We have been on your grounds (no pun intended), had a remarkably detailed and informative tour and ordered and enjoyed your coffee for a year. We know your product is good – others need to know why. (Only the increase in price keeps us away at this point.)

    • Hi there! I am an avid coffee consumer, and noticed your question about temperature. The absolute best way is to brew the coffee manually, but I know we don’t all have that kind of time 🙂 Another good way is to measure the temperature of the water immediately after it comes out of the brewer. This will give you the best reading as far as your brewing temperature, because the water will lose a little bit of heat as it comes out of the reservoir. Some coffee makers have the ability to adjust the brewing temperature, and those are recommended, as a lot of automatic brewers don’t get the water to the recommended temperature.

  2. Dawn Erdman says:

    We visited the plantation while in Hawaii, we loved it. Coffee is fabulous. Tour was very informative and fun. Will return. Just loved it.

  3. Hello, I just toured the plantation and picked up a couple bags of coffee last Tuesday. I’m home now and wondering what the best way to make it and have it be perfect is.

    I have a french press and a Keurig, not sure if the Keurig gets hot enough (192F)?

    I also live in Colorado, so I’m not sure if higher altitude changes anything, the boiling point here is around 200F, not 212

  4. We toured your facility while in Hawaii. My husband really enjoys your coffee!

  5. My wife and I stopped by during our trip to Kona for a tour, your coffee is truly amazing. My favorite is the Fancy (which i didnt notice on the shelves that day).

    When I first got to Hawaii I was anxious about trying the renowned Kona coffee, and I got tricked into trying a few other coffee joints on my trip that sell so called “100% Pure Kona Coffee” that was honestly just awful. I would have left Kona disappointed had I not come to your try your product.

    The visit was very educational and the girl giving us the tour was entertaining, I didnt catch her name (it was on Sep 25th morning). Your price point is high, but I think the quality and passion behind it is worth the money.

    • Aloha Vic

      We really appreciate your understanding the work we put into our coffee. Thank you for your comment
      Hula Daddy Kona Coffee

  6. Derek Haddad says:

    This is by far the best tasting coffee I have EVER had. This extra fancy dark roast is bold however very easy to drink. It’s smells sweet prior to brewing and tastes super smooth. If you want EXCELLENT coffee you have arrived. You can’t complain about price if you want the best. I am a coffee connoisseur and I assure you when you taste this coffee you will not regret the expense.

  7. Mike Hladik says:

    Hello Ms. Karen,

    I have a question just out of curiosity……….

    I noticed that many Kona Coffee Producers hype the ” 100% Peaberry”as a premium Kona coffee (which they, in turn, charge more money for).

    Hula Daddy does not.promote “peaberry”. In fact…..I didn’t come across any mention of Peaberry on your website. Why is this?? What is your philosophy regarding the “Peaberry”???

    I know the berry grows alone and has a special shape…………but does it ,in fact, actually enhance flavor and or quality of the coffee???
    What are the “pros ” and “cons”????

    Just wondering……


    • Aloha Mike The peaberry occurs when one of the beans in the fruit doesn’t mature and the other bean does. The bean that matures curls over in the pod and looks like a pea. Treess that are well maintained and well fertilized do not get much peaberry. Peaberries have a heavier mouthfeel in the coffee cup and many people like the taste. We have peaberries but so few that we do not put them on our website. They are availiable by phone and at our farm. Mahalo Karen

  8. Hi, Waaa-aaah! Help Me! Was that sincere enough for you? The thing is I adore coffee.BUT I am extremely sensitive to caffeine. At one time, my husband found 100% caffeine free coffee shipped from somewhere on the big island. It was no longer available and now he has lost the address. Bad Man! Well, good because I really enjoyed coffee for the first time in a long time.

    Sooo, I’m asking if you have 100% caffeine free coffee. It would make my day, year, decade if you do. I wish I could drink decaf, but I just can’t tolerate it.

    Thanks for a reply,

    • Aloha Nan. There is no such thing as 100% caffeine free coffee. Even decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine still in the cup. Some of the new varities of coffee that are in the reseach labs have lower caffeine but none have no caffeine. If you have to drink something hot that is caffeine free, you are stuck with Postum, herbal tea or hot apple cider. Mahalo, Karen

  9. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of

  10. I don’t see where you answered this question from above? I have the same questions? “. I’m home now and wondering what the best way to make it and have it be perfect is.” And, “I have a french press and a Keurig, not sure if the Keurig gets hot enough (192F)?”

    • The best coffee brewer is a french press since you get complete immersion of the coffee grounds. Second is a vacumn pot that pulls coffee into a brewing chamber. Third would be pulsing water into a filter funnel. In each case, you need to use bottled or well filtered water at 195 to 205 degrees. a four minute extraction time, beans that have just been ground and grounds are evenly sized. Keurigs are better than drip coffee makers but they do have the problems of the temperature being too low and a short extraction time – but sometimes you just want a cup of coffee and not a gourmet experience.

  11. Just wanted to say thanks for a great visit during our most recent stay in July. Very different and so laid back than many of the other local farms. Your staff took time to entertain our son in the field while my wife and I had serious coffee tastings and conversations with Lee, very informative. We walked away with a couple of pounds of sweet and other trinkets, you can count on other orders in the near future. After buying different Kona’s for years, with varying experiences, you do get what you pay for. Its gambling, you might get good, bad or ugly…. I am willing to pay for consistent quality. Thanks again to you and all your staff, you should be very proud of what you have built with Hula Daddy, besides the simply outstanding coffee.

    • Aloha Kenny

      It was great talking with you. We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit and we are looking forward to the day when you can come back. Mahalo Lee

  12. Do you wholesale your coffee? Would love to get your wholesale price list $ please let me know. Thanks Eric Hart, Cell 323-401-5333

  13. Jasmine gave a great, informative tour. Laura is fantastic and the coffee wonderful. Really enjoyed our time there.

    • Aloha Jim You have made our day. We love it when visitors come, have a good time and learn about coffee. Please come back again. We will keep the coffee pot on for you. Mahalo Karen

  14. Hello can you ship to the UK ?

  15. Kate Cassidy says:

    Hi! A friend recently brought back some of your coffee from her vacation and I am now ruined for all other coffees! So amazing! I was just reading the tips on the best way to brew your coffee and I was wondering if you prefer French press method over cold brew!? Thanks! Kate

    • Aloha We are do glad that you like our coffee. Check our menu offerings at Cold brew is a way to get a smooth low caffeine coffee drink. However, cold extraction doesn’t pull out all of the flavors of gourmet coffee. The best way to brew gourmet coffee is a french press, a siphon or a manual pour over. We look forward to hearing from you again. Mahalo Karen

  16. Aloha. We visited your farm last week and really enjoyed speaking with everyone and learning how you produce your coffee. Thank you for such a fun, and informative tour.

    My question is when grinding the beans, do you suggest a fine, medium, or coarse grind? I don’t want to mess up your delicious coffee!

    • The degree of grinding depends on two things. What style of coffee you are brewing and the filter you are using. In general, the finer the grind the better the extraction. However, some filters will clog if the grind is too fine. Also some filters like the old style French presses had large openings so you had to use a coarse grind to reduce the amount of fines that passed into the coffee cup. I suggest you use the finest grind you can that doesn’t clog the coffee filter you are using or let too many fines pass through. We normally use a fine grind for our coffee with a paper filter.

      • Thank you Karen. I can’t wait to grind up some of the coffee I bought from you. Also, I absolutely love the tote I bought while we were there 🙂

  17. Jeff Watznauer says:

    I just bought what I thought was 100% Hawaiian Kona from Gloria Jeans Coffee house in McAllen, TX. It’s definitely not the real thing. Why are they allowed to sell the fake stuff ??

    • Aloha Jeff I don’t know about Gloria Jean but Kona Coffee has the same problem that Napa Wine had a few years ago. Lots of fakes and no legal repercussions. Napa established a legal appellation. Now if the wine doesn’t have 51% Napa wine it is a violation of federal law. We that in Kona but is being blocked by large distributors. Until we get that your best source of 100% Kona Coffee is from the farmers that grow it. Mahalo Karen

  18. Richard Coleman says:

    There has been some discussion here of the “best way to make coffee.” I have started experimenting with the AeroPress which now has a large favorable literature on the Internet. So it may be a viable candidate for making good coffee presuming of course that you have good beans.

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