…Just in Time for November’s Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
Residents of Hawaiʻi Island take their coffee very seriously and for good reason. Hawaiʻi is the only state in the nation with a commercial coffee industry and much of it is grown on the Big Island. Small in size, but big on flavor, a mere 4,000 acres make up Kona Coffee Country — it is quite small in comparison to most of the worldʻs coffee growing regions. Kona coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, and according to local coffee aficionados, the most delicious. In fact, Mark Twain proclaimed Kona coffee to have a richer flavor than any other coffee on earth.
The District of South Kona on Hawaiʻi Island has the perfect climate for growing coffee trees. With elevations ranging between 500 and 2,500 feet, the area’s rich volcanic soil, altitude, seasonal rainfall, and a perfect amount of afternoon cloud cover all conspire to create the prime environment essential to producing the perfect coffee bean.
Locals are proud of their almost 200-year-old Kona coffee heritage and celebrate its cultural importance every November at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, a not-to-miss event for serious coffee lovers (this year from November 3-12). However, you don’t have to visit Hawaiʻi in November to get a taste for Konaʻs coffee obsession. Between the multitude of coffee farm tours and the dozens of mom-and-pop cafés, it’s easy to get your java jitters on year-round in this coffee lovers’ paradise. Here are a few favorite spots in Kona to get your buzz on.
The Coffee Shack
Located in South Kona, the Coffee Shack boasts an open lanai overlooking 26 miles of coastline. If you don’t go for the coffee, go for the view! With homemade pastries, pies, and freshly baked bread, you can enjoy your morning joe and a delicious breakfast or lunch with breathtaking views of Kealakekua Bay. If you like your java strong, this is the place for you. Their coffee is no joke. It’s 100% Kona coffee and unapologetically strong. With arguably one of the best views on the island, be sure and add this gem to your Big Island bucket list.
Island Lava Java
A favorite breakfast spot for both locals and visitors, Lava Java offers open-air, oceanfront dining with 100% Kona coffee. It’s a great place to people watch while sipping delicious fresh coffee and enjoying one of the best breakfasts on the island. A popular morning gathering place, if you prefer to avoid the crowds or a waiting list, go to Lava Java for an afternoon caffeine pick me up. There’s nothing more relaxing than watching the boats sail by in the warm Kona breeze.
Kona Coffee & Tea Company
A popular community gathering place in Kailua-Kona, Kona Coffee & Tea Company serves up delicious Kona coffee, teas, pastries, and sandwiches. It’s not uncommon to see locals gathering there for meetings or afternoon breaks. With seating both inside and out, and a dog-friendly environment, Kona Coffee and Tea Company is a hot spot for coffee lovers in downtown Kailua-Kona.
Kona Mountain Coffee
Kona coffee connoisseurs appreciate the time and dedication it takes to grow and produce Kona coffee beans to perfection, and Kona Mountain Coffee meets those expectations. Kona Mountain Coffee is located off the main highway driving north out of Kailua-Kona. Since it’s on the way to the airport, it’s a great place to stop and pick up some beans to take home for friends and family. Grab a cup and browse their extensive retail store for gifts and souvenirs.
Daylight Mind Coffee Company
Located on Waterfront Row in the heart of Kailua-Kona, Daylight Mind Coffee Company is known for exquisite Hawaiian coffees and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. The roastery is on-site and the café offers delicious, fresh baked goods. The company offers coffee education classes and features the most comprehensive selection of Hawaiian coffees anywhere. The best menu items come out at happy hour, which starts at 3 p.m. Try some avocado fries and a loaf of hot bread to pair with your afternoon coffee fix. It’s sure to please.
A note to remember — when choosing your Kona coffee, it’s worth the extra few dollars to get 100% Kona coffee, not the 10% blends. You’ll want to savor the full experience. Enjoy your ‘cup of aloha’ — it will most likely make a coffee snob out of you!