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Mar 18, 2009 03:07 PM

Can you describe what Kona coffee tastes like?

Particularly as compared with other coffees, what descriptors would you use to describe the taste of Kona coffee? Reason I ask is because I tried a cup at a restaurant, and the word I would use to describe the cup I got is SOUR. I have a feeling this is not what Kona is supposed to taste like, and that I just got a bad cup at a bad restaurant. Kona isn't supposed to taste sour, is it? Disappointing, to say the least, as I ordered it specifically learn what Kona was supposed to taste like.

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  1. Well, definitely not sour.

    Creamy. Smooth. Clean. Sweet. Medium-bodied and balanced (bright but not sharp). A hint of chocolate -- without being actually chocolaty.

    Sorry for your bad experience. Kona is lovely. Expensive, but lovely.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chicgail

      Your description is right on.
      As much as I love Hawaii, I find Kona coffee to be overrated as far as price.
      Someone brought me a pound of 100% Kona a month ago and I'm almost ready to open it.

    2. A lot of factors go into making a good - or bad - cup of coffee. My guess is the beans might have been far past their prime, or the water was too hot, or the beans were brewed too long, or... Also, if you don't like light roast, then you may not like Kona - at least that's been my experience. If you really enjoy different coffees (single estates, particular varietals, etc.) then it may be worth pursuing on your own.

      1. I suspect that the coffee you got had just been sitting around too long. Also, Kona is so outrageously overpriced, I can't imagine what a restaurant would charge for 100% good Kona rather than a blend which may have been what you got. Not that Kona is bad, it is quite good, but no way worth the price. The price, not the taste, is its outstanding characteristic.

        1. There are a lot of "Kona" coffees that are maybe 10% Kona. When I was in Hawaii the Kona served at most restaurants in our hotel was mediocre at best. I actually had taken fresh beans with me that I roasted and my moring brew was better than anything I got in a restaurant. When shopping for Kona at the market in Hawaii I noted that most bags listed as Kona were blends. It was hard to find 100% Kona. Kona is a good bean no question. Over priced IMO but still good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            Thanks for all the insightful comments on the Kona I had, any of those things may explain it. I had it at a NYC SoHo Japanese comfort food joint called Hiroko's Place, not especially known for good eats, and the small cup was $10! Don't go there for coffee! Maybe I'll try finding a store that sells 100% Kona and brew it myself and decide if it's worth the big price tag. Really, I just want to taste the real stuff to educate myself what it is. Thanks to all.

            1. re: stratford

              10% Kona blends are a rip off........10% of anything is practically nothing.
              Expect to pay around $20/lb. for 100% Kona and it better be fresh, that's the other variable you have to contend with.

              1. re: monku

                You'll pay a lot more than $20/lb., especially if only buying a pound of roasted whole bean. Even when purchasing a 50# bag of green beans, the cost is over $27/lb., but you do get free shipping.


          2. A timely post. a friend just came back from Hawaii with a 1/2 lb pkg of kona. I had never tasted it before so I was intrigued. I made the coffee for the 6 of us at work and truthfully "nirvana" escaped me. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but between the price and all the talk about it......well, I realized that I needn't spend that kind of money for coffee.