Coffee is the third most popular beverage in the United States and is the most popular beverage worldwide. But did you know that the only state in America that grows and sells coffee beans is Hawaii?
While it’s unfortunate that we don’t see a lot of Hawaiian coffee in our coffee shops, Hawaiian coffee is one of the most delicious types of coffee you will ever get to taste.
But what’s the best Hawaiian coffee, you ask? How good a cup of coffee is will depend on who’s drinking it, but generally, there are factors that separate the best from the not so good.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the most common factors that affect the quality of Hawaiian coffee.
Variety and Terroir
The variety of the coffee fruit is always the primary factor that will affect its quality.
!This is an important factor that influences coffee even before the plant where it is harvested from has begun to grow.
Most people think it’s simply about Arabica versus Robusta, but there’s more to coffee variety than these two.
Even within the Arabica species, there are several varieties available, with more being discovered as time passes.
If you love wine, then you definitely understand how big an impact variety has on how a glass of wine would taste.
A Pinot Noir certainly doesn’t have the same characteristics as a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Merlot tastes far different from a Syrah.
Similarly, the variety of coffee you have in your cup will play a huge role in how you experience it as a coffee drinker. It’s just interesting that not a lot of coffee lovers out there don’t talk or think about this very important factor as often as they should.
Now, what do we mean when we say ‘terroir’? You probably hear this word often thrown around when there are people talking about coffee or wine.
It may sound like a lofty term, but in reality, the word ‘terroir’ simply refers to the influence of where the coffee was grown.
We all know that coffee grown in Guatemala tastes different compared to coffee grown in Ethiopia.
In the same manner, coffee grown in regions pretty close to each other will have similarities. The result of such influences is referred to as terroir.
The elements of terroir that influence how coffee tastes can be complex, but the most basic ones include altitude, climate, topography, and soil type.
I’m not saying you should need to be familiar with these elements and understand them in order for you to enjoy a cup of coffee.
But if you want to understand your coffee better, or if you want to make sure you end up with high-quality coffee, then it would help to pay attention to these details.
Speaking of quality, you can go to this page right now to get your hands on high-quality Hawaiian coffee.
Aside from variety and terroir, another factor that influences the quality of coffee farming practices.
For many coffee consumers, having their daily dose of coffee is enough and what’s most important when coffee is being discussed.
What most coffee lovers are not aware of, however, is that the practices of the farm where their coffee was grown has a huge impact on the taste of the final product.
Everything used by the farmers, including chemical products and planting techniques, ultimately affects the nature of the resulting crop and the flavor of the coffee once it’s inside the cup.
Now, when it comes to farming practices, the process of picking the fruit from the coffee plant is a very important factor that influences the quality of the final product.
Just as with other types of agriculture crops, coffee is always best when it’s harvested at optimal ripeness. It’s understood that coffee cherries do not ripen at the same rate.
For this reason, the cherries must be picked by hand for best results. Not only that, but the farmers picking the cherries aren’t your normal laborers hired to do the job.
The best coffee farms only give this job to trained pickers who pay attention to how ripe the fruits are before picking them.
For commercial-grade coffee, the picking technique often used is strip-picking, wherein whole clusters of fruit are picked all at the same time. Alternatively, a machine is used to pick the cherries.
With this kind of picking technique, you will end up with a product with both ripe and unripe coffee cherries combined. The final product is less expensive, but you can rest assured that it’s not top-quality coffee that you’re getting.
How the coffee was processed will also tell you how good the quality of the coffee is. After the coffee cherry has been picked, the coffee beans will go through a drying process.
It’s only after the coffee beans have been thoroughly dried that they can be transported and roasted by a local artisan roaster. The details involved in this process can vary greatly and will have a significant influence on the final flavor of the coffee.
Coffee can go through natural or dry-processing, which is a traditional method used in Africa to process coffee.
This method involves drying the coffee, fruit and all.
One benefit of this method is that it does not need large amounts of running water. It also allows more of the coffee’s natural sugars to end up in the bean that eventually gets roasted.
Coffee that has gone through this process tends to have low acidity and is fruitier in terms of flavor. The only downside of this method is that the risk of crop spoilage is higher.
Also, the cherries must be turned manually as frequently as possible to reduce the risk.
Another process is what’s referred to as wet-processed.
This is a more modern method where coffee is briefly fermented, with the seeds removed from the pulp.
This is also referred to as “washing.” One advantage of this method is that the risk of spoilage is removed.
Washed coffee also tends to possess higher acidity and clarity, both of which are characteristics that have made washed coffee very popular nowadays.
Finally, there’s what’s referred to as honey-processing (and everything in between).
Both the wet and dry methods of processing coffee have their pros and cons, and we all know that. A third way was introduced that’s meant to balance the benefits of these two popular methods, and it’s called honey-processed.
In this process, coffee is dried with some outer layer of the cherry removed.
Finally, how the coffee beans were roasted will tell you whether you’ll end up getting quality coffee or not. And yes, roast profile has a very huge impact on flavor.
The roaster has a big responsibility, as it is his job to help realize the full potential of the coffee. This is done by carefully crafting a roast profile that best suits the set of beans on hand.
There are many variables involved here, and it certainly goes beyond light or dark. And honestly, roast color doesn’t always tell you the whole story and can often be misleading.
The roaster has to deal with roast time, fine-tuning temperature, as well as drum speed, airflow, cooling speed, and rate of rise.
This is not an easy process because it involves roasting several batches.
Also, the process can be costly and takes a lot of time. However, once the process is completed, the result is a well-roasted product that’s not just pleasant to drink but is also distinctive.
This helps consumers experience all the influences contributed by the previous steps prior to roasting.
What’s the best Hawaiian coffee?
Obviously, it’s the one that’s made out of a high-quality variety of coffee, as well as one that’s been handpicked to ensure only the best cherries are used for the final product.
It’s also the one that has gone through the best practices in terms of processing and roasting, ensuring that what you get at your door is 100% premium, Hawaiian coffee.
Of course, there are other factors that will influence the quality of coffee, such as blending, brewing, and even the packaging and the way the final product is stored.
However, the things I’ve mentioned here are the primary factors that tell whether coffee is good or bad. And no, not all brands of coffee meet these criteria. This is true even with coffee as great as Hawaiian coffee.
For me personally, when it comes to Hawaiian coffee,
I only recommend coffee made by Koa Coffee, an award-winning coffee brand that produces nothing but premium Hawaiian coffee—coffee that’s made from hand-picked cherries and expertly-roasted coffee beans.
Koa Coffee belongs to the top 10 coffees of the world as recognized by Forbes.
For nearly 25 years, Koa Coffee has been producing Hawaiian coffee of utmost quality.
Today, you can experience the true taste of all that great Hawaiian coffee has to offer by clicking this link right here.