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Home » How to Make Kona Coffee: Brewing Tips to Get the Most Flavor

How to Brew Kona Coffee to Get Most of Its Flavor

Congratulations, you took the plunge and bought expensive Kona beans! Now it would be a real shame to let that money go to waste by brewing them the wrong way.

Lucky for you, we’ve already done the dirty work, made mistakes, and learned the hard way. So read on for our best tips to guarantee the remarkable flavor of your Kona coffee more than justifies its cost.

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Kona Coffee

Whether you like 100% Kona coffee beans or 10% blends, you probably want to know what brew method is best to extract the most flavors from these beans. We have several suggested brewing methods for your Kona beans – and here’s where you can pick the best ones depending on the coffee style you prefer.

No matter the brewer, the most important thing is to experience the unique Kona coffee flavor, free from bitterness or astringency. Here’s how.

How to make kona coffee with a French Press of a Pour Over coffee maker

Choose your brewing method.

The first decision to make is what brewer you want to use for your Kona beans, and that depends on how you like your coffee. All of these brewing methods also work well for coffee beans from other Hawaiian coffee regions.

Using a French Press is our favorite method. Because it doesn’t use a paper filter, all the coffee oils remain in the cup, guaranteeing you’ll experience the full range of flavors present in your Kona beans. You’ll appreciate this greatly if you pick 100% Kona coffee. French Press also yields a richly textured cup of coffee, with a heavy body and full flavor that makes it a popular brewer for many specialty coffees.

However, not everyone loves the heavy body and silty remnants of a French Press brew, and some shy away from this method over fears of high cholesterol (1). If you prefer a cleaner cup of coffee, a pour over can also showcase Kona coffee. This will yield a brighter and more subtly flavored cup, with a lighter body.

If your tastes fall somewhere in the middle, the Aeropress offers a straight shot of coffee, somewhere between a drip coffee and an espresso. It will be more substantial than the pour-over but less intense than using a French Press.

Dial in the grind.

When it comes to specialty coffees like Kona, we recommend buying whole bean coffee and grinding them yourself instead of buying ground coffee . This ensures that your coffee is fresh, and perhaps more importantly, it allows you to dial in the grind size for your chosen brewing method.

We also suggest a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder.

A burr grinder grinds coffee more evenly, which yields a more even extraction.

And it heats up less during grinding so that you won’t impart an unpleasant burnt taste to your coffee.

The perfect grind might take a bit of experimentation. For a French Press, go make coarse ground coffee. However, for pour over, medium to medium-coarse ground coffee beans are the best. And for an Aeropress, you want a medium-fine grind.

To dial in the grind, brew coffee and give it a taste. If your ground coffee is too coarse, it will taste weak, watery, and astringent. If your grind is also fine, it will taste overly strong and bitter.

Get the right brew ratio.

The best brew ratio depends somewhat on personal taste, but for Kona beans, we recommend a water-to-coffee ratio of 18 to 1. For 10 g of coffee, you’ll want to use 180 g of water.

If you don’t already own a kitchen scale, this is a perfect time to buy one, as you can brew coffee more accurately and consistently with it. But if you previously spent all your cash on Kona beans, try two tablespoons of coffee per 8 oz cup.

Don’t neglect the water.

In the quest for the best beans, grinder, and brewer, it’s easy to neglect coffee’s most significant component: water. When brewing specialty beans, use filtered hot water (except for cold brew) to avoid adding any unwanted flavors that might muddy the taste of your Kona coffee (2).

Every brew is up to 98% water. But in turn, this means that the type of water we use has a dramatic impact on the flavour and quality of our coffee.

It’s also important that your hot water meets the optimal brewing temperature between 195 and 205 ℉. Too hot, and you’ll burn your coffee. Too cold, and it won’t extract properly.

Final Thoughts

Buying premium whole bean coffee is the first step to enjoying delicious coffee, but brewing them properly is just as important. So use these handy tips to ensure you get every ounce of flavor from your Kona coffee.


Kona coffee is so special because of where specifically Kona coffee is grown. The region offers the perfect combination of climate, geography, and soil.

Kona coffee often tastes like brown sugar, milk chocolate, honey, and juicy fruit.

Kona coffee grades count on several features: the beans’ size, shape, color, moisture content, and defects. This grading system was introduced after 1991, when the authorities allowed the sales and marketing of Kona blends.

  1. Schaefer, A., McDermott, A. (2017, June 6). Coffee and Cholesterol: Is There a Link? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/coffee-link
  2. Pocasangre, F. (2018, July 4). Testing Water in Pursuit of Excellent Coffee. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/07/testing-water-in-pursuit-of-excellent-coffee/
Julia Bobak
I love trail running, rock climbing, coffee, food, and my tiny dog — and writing about all of them. I start every morning with a fresh Americano from my home espresso machine, or I don’t start it at all.

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