Coffee Review: Kona Coffee

Previously, we wrote an article about the Aloha Espresso Bar and we mentioned that we would be reviewing 100% pure Kona coffee. Well, here we are!

As of what I know, the Aloha Espresso Bar seems to be one of the only places in Montreal where you can find pure 100% Kona coffee. Now, I might be mistaken, but it isn’t one of the easiest single origins to find, seeing that it’s a pretty high price tag, and with the exchange rate being so crappy, not many Canadian shops will want to import it at the moment. Just my guess!

Anyways, Kona coffee is a type of arabica coffee, which is cultivated on the volcano slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Similar to a D.O.C. label common to Italian products (controlled designation of origin), Kona coffee can only be labelled as Kona coffee if it comes from the Kona Districts. Although the coffee name is protected, you’ll sometime find some fake packaging and labeling on products, mostly because a pound of it can start around 45$. There are no real governing entities that can enforce this rule, so shopper beware!

We picked up a tiny tiny tiny bag at Aloha to try it at home and see what the hype was about, and if it’s really worth it spending all that money!

Type: 100% pure Kona coffee

Ground options: whole bean or ground to your liking when purchasing from Aloha Espresso Bar

Price: 23$ for 100g, 40$ for 454g, 154$ for 5lbs

This particular roast of Kona is a medium-dark roast, that has a fruity bouquet and notes of nuts and chocolate.

Our rating of Aloha Espresso Bar’s 100% Kona coffee

While my coffee beans were being weighted and packaged, I chatted with the barista about this particular blend.

Although it is the coffee shop’s own blend of beans, they get their beans roasted by Barista, a local micro-roaster here in Montreal. When he said this, I cringed a little, since I was really disappointed by a batch of their espresso blend a couple of months ago. But, for the sake of the blog, I decided to attribute it to the fact that coffee preferences are subjective and that I was going to keep an open mind when tasting this coffee.

The barista told me that he preferred this type of roast, seeing as it is less robust, more floral and light, and in a latte, there is just a hint of flavor, making it very light and smooth. Again, I decided to keep an open mind when drinking this coffee, since I really don’t like delicate coffees.

Preparation: 18g of finely ground coffee, extracted for 20 seconds in a double shot basket

End result : We decided on doing double espresso shots for our first try, in order to be able to taste all the flavors and notes. On the first sip, you can definitely taste a bit of a floral note, as well as a very light chocolate note. However, there is no bitterness involved, even in the aftertaste. It is quite enjoyable to drink, on the sweeter velvety side, and I would quite honestly serve this as an accompaniment to a dessert.

I do want to make a note: our espresso machine isn’t the best of the best, it doesn’t have a pressure gauge or even single or double shot settings, so although I find this coffee good, I don’t know what my reaction would be if it were made with a higher-end/quality machine.

That being said, yes it is a good coffee, but is it worth it? The only difference between this shot of espresso and my “regular” non-Kona coffees with the same taste profile is that my wallet took a hit. I did the math this morning… 18g for a double shot, at 23$ for 100g, that means my morning espresso was worth 4.14$. Had I bought the more expensive bag, 454g for 40$, it would have cut my cost; 2.15$… but who has they money to drop on a 40$ bag of coffee beans? Not me! Oh, if you’re wondering, a regular double shot will cost between 0.67$ (454g pouch for 17$) and 0.99$ (454g pouch for 20$).

Overall, I think you’re best off going to try it out in store first, then making an educated decision on purchasing overpriced coffee.

Oh! If anyone reading this can get their hands on some Kopi Luwak, please please please give me some. I’m super disgusted but interested in trying it!

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