Is Kona Coffee a Dark Roast?

As you discover the wonders of local Hawaiian coffee, you may be wondering, is Kona coffee a dark roast? We're going to explain what kind of roast Kona coffee is, along with how the roast level will impact your drinking experience.

Is Kona Coffee a Dark Roast? 

Kona coffee can be a dark roast, depending on where you source it. Kona would be dark when roasted around 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit for around 12-18 minutes. While the roasting process makes the beans lose some of the original flavors, it does have lower caffeine with a more roasted flavor.

While we also offer light roast Kona coffee beans and medium roast Kona beans, choosing the classic dark roast lets you experience a full-bodied coffee with bolder flavors. Like Lava Lei's gourmet Kona dark roast, our collection offers a dark roast 100% Kona coffee with a sweet, woody, and chocolatey taste with floral notes.

Coffee beans on top of coffee powder

What Makes Kona Coffee Dark Roast?

Kona beans that undergo a roasting process of 430 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit would result in a dark roast coffee. The boldness of dark roast coffee makes it appealing to coffee lovers looking for a strong kick in each brew.

Roasting Process

Coffee beans start with a green color and have a grassy aroma. They don't smell like Kona coffee at all. This is why the roasting process is a crucial step in ensuring you're using only the best dark roast Kona beans.

  • Kona coffee becomes dark roast when roasted around 12 to 18 minutes. The whole process requires skills and expertise, which is why it's essential that you only source the beans from Hawaii. 
  • Heated rotating drums would roast the beans. It will continue until the beans hit the second crack.
  • This process requires an accurate temperature to prevent the beans from getting burnt. After getting roasted between 430 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, farmers set aside the beans for cooling. 

Appearance and Aroma

A dark roast level influences the aroma compounds and flavor in Kona coffee. Even if there's bitterness to dark roast coffee, the delectable aspects like taste and color overshadow the flavor.

Man overseeing the roasting process
  • Color: You would know if Kona coffee is dark roast if the beans have a dark brown hue, sometimes nearly black. When brewing a fresh cup of coffee, the oil creates a shiny finish that goes with the dark roast's deeper, darker flavors.
  • Bean texture: Another way to determine if Kona is dark roast is if the beans have a smooth texture. The beans are also relatively easy to crack since they have a low density.
  • Aroma: Dark roast Kona coffee produces a pungent smell because of the abundance of oil.

Flavor Profile

Dark roast requires a long roast time, making the beans lose moisture. In effect, the beans produce a distinct bitter and smoky flavor profile. Consequently, the roasting tends to conceal Kona's original flavors a bit, letting the burnt taste become more prominent.

About 41% of American coffee drinkers prefer dark roast coffee because it has a rich, nutty flavor that tastes a bit like dark chocolate. However, Lava Lei 100% Kona coffee has a sweeter taste, so this is a good way to introduce your taste buds to dark roast.

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content puts the difference between light, medium, and dark roasts. Dark roast Kona has the least amount of caffeine since the long roasting process makes the beans lose mass. Cup of brewed dark roast coffee

Additionally, it has the lowest acidity out of all the roast levels. Hence, dark roast Kona is ideal if you want to minimize caffeine intake.

Related Questions

What Are the Health Benefits of Kona Coffee?

Drinking Kona coffee lets you get a healthy amount of caffeine, which can help boost energy, speed up reaction times, and improve metabolism. It can also provide polyphenol and antioxidants that can aid in fighting free radicals. Even the smell of Kona coffee can bring comfort and relax the nerves.

How Should I Store Kona Coffee Beans?

It's best to store Kona coffee in an airtight container to prevent light and moisture from spoiling the beans. You can use a tin can or pouch with a zipper seal to avoid flavor loss. Also, it's ideal only to grind the beans when you're about to brew coffee.

What Is the Shelf Life of Coffee Beans?

Whole beans in a sealed container or pouch can last for 6 to 9 months in the pantry. Once opened, it may take 4 to 5 weeks before the beans lose freshness. Due to the solid form of the beans, they can hold onto molecular compounds to preserve flavor. 


Kona coffee can be dark roast, given the right roasting temperature and time. A dark roast lets you enjoy the delicate nature of Kona beans while getting a more straightforward flavor profile. Lava Lei's dark roast coffee will give you a one-of-a-kind coffee experience that leaves a silky, smooth mouthfeel.