If you are an avid coffee lover, you would know about Kona and Colombian coffee. Both of these coffee varieties are incredibly popular for their distinctive flavors and aromas. In this article, we address the question, what’s the difference between Kona and Colombian coffee in terms of taste, growing region, and caffeine levels.
What’s the Difference Between Kona and Colombian Coffee?
The primary difference between Kona and Colombian coffee is the region where they are grown. Coffee grown on the slopes in the North and South Kona district of Hawaii is known as Kona coffee. On the other hand, Colombian coffee refers to coffee beans that are grown in Colombia.
Both these coffee varieties come under the umbrella term Arabica coffee, which is a very flavorful, mild coffee with less acidity and bitterness. However, the taste of Arabica coffee can vary depending on the environmental conditions of the area where it is cultivated. Therefore, both Kona coffee and Colombian coffee have a distinguished taste.
What Does Kona Coffee Taste Like?
Traditionally, Kona coffee is discreetly sweet and fruity, with a light flavorful profile. It also has hints of nuts and spice. However, the final taste of Kona coffee primarily depends on the roasting process and how long it is allowed to progress. As the coffee beans are roasted, the flavor undertones evolve and change.
Thus, when the roasting process starts Kona beans release a sweet, fruity flavor, which eventually declines as the roasting continues. The coffee made from these beans will have vibrant but mild acidity and the highest caffeine level. When the beans are medium-roasted, they have a well-rounded taste with no particular flavor that stands out.
As the beans approach the dark roast, the coffee becomes full-bodied with hints of spicy and, occasionally, nutty undertones. The coffee has nuances of complex flavor profile, appreciated by coffee fanatics. If the beans are roasted further, they develop a heavy burnt flavor with oil on the outside.
What Is the Best Type of Kona Coffee?
Kona coffee has a silky smooth taste with an incredibly pleasant aroma. All the beans are sourced from the designated area in Hawaii. However, you may also find Kona blends in the market, which have almost 90% regular coffee with only 10% Kona beans.
Therefore, for an unadulterated Kona coffee experience, try an authentic brand like Lava Lai Kona coffee. The signature coffee comes in light, medium, and dark roast so you can choose your preferred taste and immerse in the gourmet taste of good coffee.
What Does Colombian Coffee Taste Like?
The classic Colombian coffee personifies the typical taste of South American coffees. Thus, it has a mellow citrusy acidity combined with a strong caramelly sweetness. It is considered a medium-bodied coffee with hints of nutty undertones, fruity flavors, and notes of chocolate.
While the beans can be roasted at different levels to impart a variety of tastes, Colombian coffee is roasted to light or medium roasts. These roasts reveal the most balanced and complex flavor profile and make the most of the coffee beans' potential. Apart from the roast, the coffee-growing regions also impact the final taste.
Depending on where in Colombia the beans were grown, the flavor profile can change. Thus, coffee from the Southern region is more acidic and citrusy, while the one from the Northern areas has hints of chocolate and nuts and less acidity. Finally, the Central region coffee is herbal and fruity.
What Are the Growing Conditions of Kona Coffee?
Kona coffee is grown on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the Kona district of Hawaii. The region has mild temperatures, usually ranging from 12°C to 21°C, and not too harsh sunshine. The coffee-growing slopes are situated at a height of 3000 feet and have mineral-rich volcanic soil, with ample drainage.
The region experiences frequent rainfall, which is not too heavy. Hence, the coffee plant remains adequately irrigated without flooding. The crops are grown in shade to protect them from the elements. Since Arabica beans are temperamental and require perfect conditions to yield a good crop, the Kona district is perfect for growing these coffee beans.
What Are the Growing Conditions of Colombian Coffee?
Colombian coffee is cultivated on the mountain ranges of Colombia, along the Pacific coast of the country. The typical equatorial climate means that the summers are rainy while winters dry, providing optimal coffee growing conditions. The temperature ranges from 8°C to 24°C, which is very close to the ideal range required to produce coffee beans.
Similar to Kona district, the soil used to grow Colombian coffee is also volcanic and rich in minerals. The altitude of the coffee farms is high, typically between 900 to 2000 meters. All these climatic conditions are optimal for growing coffee. Hence, Colombia is the third-highest coffee producing country in the world, after Brazil and Vietnam.
Is There More Caffeine in Kona Coffee Compared to Colombian Coffee?
An average cup of Kona coffee, which is roasted to medium-dark, has 54 mg of caffeine. In comparison, an average cup of Colombian coffee has a caffeine content that varies from 30 mg to 50 mg. The high amount of caffeine gives the Kona coffee an intriguing taste, loved by coffee fans.
There are other Arabica coffee varieties that can have up to 100 mg of caffeine per cup, which is incredibly high. Apart from the coffee variety, the amount of caffeine in the coffee beans also depends on how long they are roasted. Lightly roasted coffee beans have more caffeine than dark roasted beans.
What Makes Kona Coffee So Special?
The authentic, unadulterated Kona coffee is grown in a unique island microclimate and volcanic soil, which provides it with a distinguished taste. Moreover, each stage of the coffee production from cultivation and handpicking to milling and roasting is performed with utmost attention, Consequently, the coffee has a delicate yet rich flavor and aroma.
Is Colombian Coffee Strong?
In general, Colombian coffee is a bit weaker than other coffees. This is because the coffee grown in Colombia is of the Arabica variety, which is a bit lighter than Robusta coffee. However, the taste of Arabica is far superior and of higher quality than the coffee made from Robusta beans.
Both Kona and Colombian coffees are made from Arabica beans and are some of the best coffees in the world. The main difference between them is their growing region, which gives each type of coffee its unique taste, flavor profile, and aroma. Moreover, a cup of Kona coffee is more caffeinated than a cup of Colombian Coffee.