Black Gold Extra Fancy 100% Pure Kona Coffee.
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There was a time when coffee brands were grown all over Hawaii Islands. Today, Extra Fancy Brands growing is centered in the island’s Kona region. 100% Pure Kona Coffee is home to hundreds of Extra Fancy brands and estates. Its high elevation, volcanic soil and ever-present cloud cover make it ideally suited environment for growing high quality pure Kona coffee brands.
Situated on rich Mauna Loa volcanic soil and watered by warm tropical mists, the coffee brands found in our Kona Fancy coffee ripen slowly, helping to capture the light airy essence of the land. Farmers pride themselves on a traditional hands-on approach to every aspect of growing and processing, ensuring that every one of their Extra Fancy brands is treated with love and care. The result is a remarkably well-balanced coffee brands.
Majority of Extra Fancy brands are family owned and operated, and strive to preserve the legacy of a 100% pure Kona coffee farms.
The grading standards for Hawaiian Coffee are almost as confusing to coffee growers as they are to Extra Fancy coffee buyers. For washed extra fancy brands, there’s Fancy coffee, Extra Fancy, No. 1, Select and Prime — but not for natural or honey-processed coffees. Some Hawaiian coffee growing regions have designations, while others do not have an extra fancy brands. On the flip side, Maui does have a grade designation for Extra Fancy coffee but, because the beans don’t grow as large in Maui, you’re unlikely to see it on the shelves. Same with Kauai and Molokai. So, if you find yourself a little confused when buying Extra Fancy Brands of Hawaiian coffee, you’re not alone. Here, we’ll clarify the terms used on labels, and explain the relationship between classifications, cost, and quality.
The intent of this article is to simplify and answer common questions regarding the grading classifications, cost & quality for Extra Fancy pure Kona coffee as of 2018. So whether you’re purchasing wholesale for your Kona coffee company, or you’re a Extra Fancy coffee lover interested to learn, this coffee article is for you.
What this means for your Extra Fancy coffee: These are the only Hawaii origins where you’ll find certified grading standards. “Hawaii” is a catch-all phrase for regions which were left out, Puna and Hamakua. That’s why there is no such thing as Extra Fancy brands on other islands. Instead, it’s generically called Hawaii Island or Hawaii Extra Fancy.
The point is that extra fancy brands of coffee bean size decreases and allowable defects increase the further down the list you go. **One thing to be clear about is that allowable defects does not equal actual defects present in the coffee.
100% Pure Kona Coffee Bean sizes.
100% Extra Fancy Kona Coffee:
Size: 19/64 inch, or “Size 19” for Hawaiian coffees which are flat-sided, or not a peaberry. Extra Fancy coffee commands the highest dollar value of the flat-sided (non-peaberry) beans.
100% Fancy Kona Coffee:
Size: Slightly smaller than Extra Fancy brands: 18/64 inch, or Size 18. Defects: Permits 12 full defects, 60 partial defects, or 120 partial with <2 pinholes.
100% Pure Kona Coffee No. 1:
Size: 16/64 inch, or Size 16. Defects: 18 full defects, 90 partial, 180 with <2 pinholes.
100% Pure Hawaii Select Coffee:
Size: doesn’t matter although the maximum Defects allowable:< 5%
What this means for you: 100% Pure Extra Fancy Kona coffee has the highest market value of the above Extra Fancy brands, and Hawaii #3 has the least. When considering defects, this makes sense. The highest value Kona coffees should be those with the fewest defects, right? Right. Assessing market value based on size, however, is a bit more complicated.What does size have to do with Extra Fancy brands?: Aesthetics are partly at play here; people will pay more for big, whole Macadamia nuts, even though the split nuts taste the same. Same goes for apples, carrots, and Pure Kona Coffee.
But does brand size really matter? And if so, how?: If you like looking at your Extra Fancy brands just as much as drinking it, then yes, bean size matters. But pre-ground? Probably not. Big coffee beans may taste different but, other factors being equal (like defect count), there’s no evidence they taste better. Ourselves included, many cuppers have slurped sizes side-by-side countless times, over various farms and harvest seasons, and to our knowledge there’s been no consistent qualitative distinctions found between the sizes.
Another confusing detail you should be aware of is that the current size grading classification doesn’t take into account that some origins simply don’t produce large Extra Fancy brands. You’re not going to find a Maui Extra Fancy or Kauai Fancy because environmental conditions won’t allow it. Size grading does fulfill one important purpose, however: creates more consistent roasting, because coffees roast more evenly when the beans are approximately the same size.
Note: Unwashed includes natural or honey processed coffees. Notice there’s only one grade for these coffees.
What this means for you: Regardless of defect count or size, naturals & pulp-naturals will be classified as the same: Prime, a low-value grade with a high volume of defect. Given the high defect volume of this grade, some producers don’t have sufficient incentive for caring for or removing defects in their natural coffees, like the producers seen below. While other producers will attend meticulously to their naturals, like those seen in the Kona photo above. Regardless, they are all classified as Prime.
Chances are the Prime defect flavors are somewhat masked by a dark roast, a lot of sugar, and some heavy branding. As for perceptive coffee drinkers, know that you may need to taste around before finding a good honey process or natural coffee in Hawaii. Unless you know a good Pure Kona Coffee Farmer (and we’re happy to accept referrals – wink, wink), it might be tough.
If you’ve been paying attention you’ve probably come to the same conclusion that many in the Hawaii coffee industry have: size, processing method and origin that are not good indicators of great coffee.
So what’s the 100% Pure Kona Coffee Alternative?
Some coffee growers advocate moving to a similar model as the Specialty Coffee Association of America: grading based on defect rate.
Sounds simple, right? It is. Under this model farmers could simply communicate the size of a coffee to buyers who want the biggest, Extra Fancy Kona coffee. Maui’s coffee would be held to the same defect standard as 100% pure Kona Coffee. Farmers who don’t want to separate their Kona coffees into sizes don’t have to. Naturals and washed Extra Fancy Kona coffees are evaluated equally. Oh, the simplicity!
Defects in Coffee = grade. These are examples of defects common in Extra Fancy Kona coffee. Learn more about these defects here.
So, if bean size, processing method, and origin don’t determine Kona coffee quality, why use them at all? Historically, there are good reasons for the size-based classifications. But those reasons have passed… At this point the rationale goes something like this: some people will pay more for bigger 100% pure Kona coffee beans – particularly in Extra Fancy brands from Kona.
How do you know what Kona coffees to buy? For at-home drinkers, we recommend ignoring the label classifications, because they’re not consistently useful. Ask for recommendations from friends with a similar palate for Extra Fancy brands or look through the Extra Fancy Pure Kona Coffee Social Media accounts farms/ mills you’re interested in.
Order Hawaiian Black Gold Extra Fancy brand – 100% Pure Kona Coffee online today!