Is Kona Coffee Good for Espresso?

To make an espresso, you need to consider things such as the type of coffee, roast level, grind, and more. When choosing the kind of coffee, is Kona coffee good for espresso? Find out if you can use Kona beans for espresso and how you can achieve the delectable crema.

Is Kona Coffee Good for Espresso?

Kona coffee is good for espresso, especially medium and dark roasts because they are highly soluble. Since they are rich in oils, they can produce richer crema and greater consistency. Besides, espresso is a brewing method, so 100% Kona coffee is ideal for espresso as long as you do the technique properly.

Cup of espresso coffee

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee. This is why it's typically served in small, strong shots. If you're planning to use Kona coffee for espresso-based drinks, you have to understand how you can achieve the espresso's trademark crema. 

What Makes Kona Coffee Good for Espresso?

Espresso provides a bittersweet and rich caramel-like taste to coffee. With the unique properties of Kona coffee, you can use the beans to make a flavorsome espresso shot.

  • Roast level: Dark roast is commonly used when making espresso because the oils produce a fuller body while being less acidic. A light roast may change the beans as they age, so using it for espresso may result in a flatter texture with less crema. 
  • Special taste: Espresso typically has a bitter and toasty flavor, which some people may feel overpowering. Due to the rich minerals from the Kona Coffee Belt, espresso made from Kona beans gets packed with more flavor while providing sweeter notes.

How to Pick the Best Coffee for Espresso

About 40% of American consumers drink espresso-based beverages. A fifth of them uses gourmet coffee from premium Arabica beans like Kona coffee. Most types of coffee are good for espresso, and that includes Kona beans.Coffee pouring out of an espresso machine into 2 brown cups

However, achieving the perfect espresso shot relies on certain factors, including the grind type and roast level. The key is to choose 100% dark roast Kona or even French roast coffee

Still, you should consider your taste preference as the various roasts differ in bitterness, sweetness, and even acidity. Additionally, consider how you will use espresso, whether you would drink Americano, latte, or cappuccino.

How to Make Espresso Using Kona Coffee Beans

Kona coffee is good for espresso as long as you do the technique correctly. Even if you have a fresh batch of dark roast Kona beans, you won't produce the delicious crema if you don't use the right materials and temperature.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association, espresso requires about 1 tablespoon or seven to nine grams of coffee. For 20 to 30 seconds, the coffee is forced at nine to 10 atmospheres of pressure at 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

In simpler terms, a shot of espresso should only yield about an ounce of liquid. This is because the higher pressure in a short amount of time results in less extraction. Despite that, an ounce of espresso packs a punch of robust aroma and taste.Close up of a cup of brewed coffee

  1. Grind the beans: Use a fine grind if you're using an espresso machine, so it would take longer for the water to pass through the grounds. Opt for medium grind if using pour-over or drip coffee methods.
  2. Measure the water: A good rule of thumb to follow is to put two tablespoons of Kona coffee beans per six to eight ounces of water. You also need to monitor the water temperature, which should be around 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Choose the brewing pressure: A brewing pressure of nine bars is a great starting point for espresso. An espresso machine introduces highly pressurized hot water into the tightly packed fine Kona grounds. This process produces a nice espresso shot with thick crema.
  4. Wait for the espresso to come out: The espresso should pour steadily, showing a golden color with a slight blonding at the end. Meanwhile, the crema should be about one-tenth of the espresso with dark caramel color. While the flavor profile may vary, espresso should have a thicker, creamier texture than regular coffee.

Related Questions

What Does a Double Shot Mean?

Espresso is measured by a shot, which is about one liquid ounce. Thus, a double shot means two ounces of espresso. A double shot is also sometimes called doppio espresso.

Can You Use Decaf Coffee to Make an Espresso?

Yes, since you can use most coffee beans to make an espresso, you can also use decaffeinated coffee to make an espresso. While there would still be small trace amounts of caffeine, it won't be as strong as a regular, caffeinated coffee.


Kona coffee is good for espresso, particularly when using dark roasted coffee beans that are authentically sourced from Hawaii. The mineral-rich beans and natural oils produce a flavorsome aroma to make the perfect espresso shot. Try our Lava Lei 100% Kona coffee for a gourmet espresso experience.