Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kona Coffee

Excellent coffee from a tropical paradise

Kona coffee comes from Hawaii, but only from the exclusive Kona region on the west coast of Hawaii island. Hawaii does produce other varieties of coffee, but Kona stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. Some of the other coffee regions around Hawaii are: Molokai, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.

As with most excellent coffee-growing regions, it's the tropical environment that makes Kona such a gem. The days are bright and sunny, with rain most afternoons. The nights are mild, with no fears of frost. The Kona soil is deep, dark and richly volcanic.

Part of the special charm of Kona coffee is its production. The Kona region spans across nearly 2300 acres, and is home to more than 600 independent coffee farms. These small, family-owned farms typically harvest their coffee crops by hand. Some sell their harvest to larger Kona processors, but more and more farms are taking their product one step further and selling the green or even roasted beans directly to consumers under their own label.

It has a medium body, but a rich flavour that has hints of wine and spice.

As with all coffee varieties, peaberry is the most desirable type of Kona. There are usually two beans in each coffee cherry, but when only a single bean is formed, it is much more flavourful than regular coffee.

Coffee is not native to Hawaii, but was brought from Brazil by Reverend Samuel Ruggles in the early 1800s during his missionary work there. When the price of coffee crashed in 1899, the huge plantations were broken up and leased to the families that worked on them. These small family farms are what we still see in Hawaii today.

Coffee and Caffeine

Coffee and Caffeine

Coffee contains caffeine... a mild stimulant to the central nervous system.

The caffeine in coffee occurs naturally; it’s not added to coffee (as it is, for example, added to many soft drinks.) Coffee – with its stimulating constituent, caffeine – is the most popular mood-altering substance on the planet, and has been for more than 300 years.

Caffeine promotes wakefulness by interfering with adenosine, a chemical in the body that acts as something of an natural sleep-promoting drug. In addition to its wakeful properties, caffeine – in moderate amounts – has been shown to enhance mood and increase alertness.

In moderate amounts, caffeine has been shown to decrease pain, alleviate asthma symptoms and migraine headaches, even to combat jet lag. The key, of course, is the phrase we seem to be repeating quite a lot… moderation.

What’s moderate? The medical community today generally agrees that 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day should be considered moderate consumption. What’s moderate for you, however, is largely a matter of how you respond to caffeine. If you have questions or concerns about your own consumption of caffeine, please talk to your doctor.

Relative Caffeine Content


Serving Size


Brewed Coffee

6 oz.



1.5 oz.


Brewed Decaf Coffee

6 oz.


Iced Tea

12 oz.


Hot Tea

6 oz.



12 oz.


Chocolate Bar

2 oz.


Coffee and Nutrition

Coffee and Nutrition

Nutritionally speaking, brewed coffee is pretty much inert.

Coffee has virtually no calories or fats, no carbohydrates, no sodium, no cholesterol… if it were required to carry a nutritional product label, that label would consist mostly of a lot of zeros. (In fact, coffee is exempt from federal food label programs precisely because it has zero nutritive value.)

That said, coffee does offer a number of trace minerals (Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese) and is a good source of Potassium, Pantothenic Acid and Riboflavin. A 6 ounce cup of brewed coffee may contain 2 to 4 milligrams of Sodium… most from the water used to brew the coffee and not the coffee, itself.

Our flavored coffees are likewise free of calories and carbs. Our flavored coffees have no additional nutritional impact. We add no sugars or sweeteners of any kind. So while our flavors may taste indulgent, they're absolutely guilt-free. (Note: Our Fair Trade Rain Forest Nut® no longer features slices of Brazil nuts.)

Sugar? Milk? Cream?

While coffee itself has virtually no nutritional impact, the things you might add to our coffee will, in turn, dial up those numbers. And, if what you ’re really doing is adding a little bit of coffee to a large cup of steamed milk (with a few tablespoons of flavored syrups on top!) the results can be pretty dramatic.

Serving Additive Calories Carbs Fat Cholesterol


Milk, 2%






Milk, Whole






Half & Half























If you’re watching your diet, be sure to watch what you’re adding to your cup!

Coffee and Health

Coffee and Health

Like so many of the beverages we enjoy today, coffee was once prescribed as a tonic for what ails you…

Provided that what ails you is a lack of alertness or a sour mood, it’s good on its promise. Let’s leave patent medicines aside for the moment, though, and ask:

Is coffee good for you? The answer is, quite simply, yes!

Coffee has been a frequent subject of scrutiny by the medical community… perhaps because it’s so widely consumed, yet offers no apparent nutritive value. Or, maybe doctors are just looking for a really good cup of coffee!

Despite some 30 years of study, the field of medicine has yet to draw a direct correlation between moderate consumption of coffee and any medical disease or chronic health condition. Studies that have suggested worrisome links between coffee consumption and reproductive health, for example, have been put to rest by subsequent studies – larger, and more thorough – that have exonerated our favorite beverage.

More recent studies by the medical science community are now finding numerous positive benefits of moderate coffee consumption! These studies suggest that drinking coffee may reduce risks of colon cancer by 25% and cirrhosis of the liver by 80%, and may reduce the onset of Parkinson’s disease by up to 80%. More, brewed coffee has been found to have 3 to 4 times the amount of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants as green tea.

Still, we don’t recommend drinking coffee as a tonic – we think it tastes good and we enjoy how a great cup of coffee makes us feel. If you have specific concerns about coffee, please, talk to your family physician.

Learning what you like

Learning what you like.

At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, we believe that the perfect cup of coffee is as individual as you are.

There is no single perfect cup... it's a matter of personal preference. Yours.

Maybe it's that morning cup that starts your day on the right foot. Or maybe you prefer lingering over a rare, exotic origin on a rainy day. Whatever your mood, we offer coffees to make your experience complete. To help narrow your search, you might try matching your coffee personality.

The Armchair Traveler. Maybe you were profoundly moved by your trip to Europe. Maybe you've never been, but simply long for the experience. Try our Single Origin Coffees... coffees of unmatched flavor, balance and character. Rare in production and limited in supply, they represent the pinnacle of the craft that creates the world's best beans.

Quintessentially American. You've little taste for the exotic, thanks very much. You prefer your coffee to taste, well... like coffee! Straightforward, brisk and direct. We suggest the coffee blends in our Signature Collection. Tried and true customer favorites that are mild, smooth and aromatic.

Coffee for a Cause. Maybe you're not an every-day activist, but you can be an activist at breakfast. Our Fair Trade Organic Coffees arent' just exceptional origins and blends, they help improve the quality of life in coffee communities around the world.

A Little Indulgence. You're not looking for coffee with dessert... you want coffee for dessert! Our Flavored Coffees are rich, delectably fragrant and guilt-free indulgences.

Tasting coffee

Tasting coffee.

After reading how we cup coffee, you might be wondering... is this really any way to enjoy coffee? Well, no.

Our formal process of cupping coffee is all about evaluating coffees... it really has little to do with enjoying them. When we want to enjoy a cup we brew some in a press pot, or vacuum pot, or take a stroll over to the coffee lab and enjoy the coffee team's fabulous espresso drinks.

Cupping coffee is a ritual... and outside of Arabia and Ethiopia, there really are no similar rituals for folk who aren't in the coffee industry.

Or are there?

Consider the breakfast cup. For millions of people their day simply hasn't begun 'til they've had their morning cup — whether alone, or in the company of croissant, beignet, bagels or bacon and eggs. There is perhaps no more contemplated cup in the world.

Consider the ritual of the dessert cup. Whether your after-dinner treat is tiramisu, death by chocolate, or a few chocolate chips, there are few better companions than an equally rich cup of fresh-brewed coffee.

There are more... coffee and biscotti. Coffee and Mozart. Even coffee and Zen. No rituals, indeed.

Savoring a great cup of coffee deserves a ritual. It merits taking some time. Paying attention. Freeing yourself to be fully in the moment. We suggest the following:

  1. Grind your coffee. Note the fragrance of the fresh-ground beans... spicy, earthy, perhaps nutty.
  2. Brew your coffee. Enjoy the aroma as it brews... heady and full of promise.
  3. Pour your coffee. Find a comfy place to sit. Feel the cup warm your hand.
  4. Sample the aroma of the cup. Is it sweet? Fruity? Notes of caramel?
  5. Breathe.
  6. Sip your coffee. Go ahead... slurp it if you like. Focus on its flavor... is it complex? Is it direct, straightforward?
  7. Breathe out through your nose. Savor the aromas that waft through your sinuses... are there herbal notes? Fruit?
  8. Sip your coffee again. Wiggle your tongue. Does the coffee feel heavy? Viscous? Or is it light and delicate?
  9. Breathe out through your mouth... feel your breath on your tongue. What new flavors and aromas do you sense?
  10. Repeat, as often as you like.

Iced Coffee Recipes

Iced Coffee Recipes

Our flavored coffees (and flavored decafs) make great iced coffee cocktails without the fuss of sticky, calorie-laden syrups. If you're a single-cup coffee fan, you can make delicious iced coffee with your Keurig coffee brewer! Simply brew a single cup of your favorite coffee (we recommend a small cup) and follow our basic technique for a flavorful iced coffee cocktail.

Nutty Rainforest Freeze

The flavors of caramel and brazil nuts in our Fair Trade Rain Forest Nut® coffee blend delightfully with dairy to make this one of our favorite coolers.

  • 1 cup (6 oz.) Fair Trade Rain Forest Nut coffee (brewed strong)
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream (or half & half, or…)
  • 2 tsp. Sugar (or 2 packets Splenda)

Use basic technique: brew fresh coffee, add sweetener to hot coffee. Fill shaker with ice, add dairy over ice. Add coffee, shake, strain and serve in chilled glass. Garnish with a sweet strawberry, split and hung on the rim of the glass.

Blueberry Rhapsody

A stunning way to enjoy the fruity flavors of our Wild Mountain Blueberry coffee!

  • 1 cup (6 oz.) Wild Mountain Blueberry coffee (brewed strong)
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream (or half & half, or…)
  • 2 tsp. Sugar (or 2 packets Splenda)

Uses basic technique. Garnish with fresh blueberries, of course!