What Is the Difference Between Kona Coffee and Regular Coffee?

A cup of coffee is the perfect antidote to lazy mornings. Everyone describes their perfect cup of joe differently, which leads us to wonder about the different types of coffee.

One of these is Kona coffee, which is cultivated in the Kona districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the most extraordinary and expensive coffee in the world, with a divine smell and incredible taste. So, what is the difference between Kona coffee and regular coffee and is it worth the hype? Let's find out!

What Is the Difference Between Kona Coffee and Regular Coffee?

Kona coffee is similar to regular coffee, but the main thing that distinguishes it from regular coffee is the soil where it’s grown. Kona coffee is made from arabica beans; the term Kona is solely given because this coffee grows on the steep slopes of Hawaii's Kona island. It has a plain yet rich, full-bodied taste and subtle aroma, while regular coffee is smoother.

Hands full of coffee beans

Though it’s expensive, it's still worth the buy because it's a complete treat to your taste buds and a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. To add to its allure, Kona coffee started its life on the volcanic slopes of Hawaii and you can feel its exotic origin in every sip!.

Why Is Kona Coffee More Expensive?

Kona beans are considered premium coffee beans and they make one of the most expensive coffees in the world. There are various factors that play a role in the elevated market prices of the authentic Kona coffee:

  • Kona coffee is grown and harvested in America, where the minimum wages are a lot higher than in other coffee-producing countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya. Since coffee cultivation is a labor-intensive job, the increased cost of labor is reflected in its selling price.
  • Since Kona coffee has to be grown in a small region (approximately 30 miles long) to be considered authentic, the volume of production is limited. The lower production rate results in higher demand and higher price.
  • As we mentioned above, the Kona coffee belt is located on the side of a steep, active volcano, at an elevation of 500 feet to 2500 feet. Thus, shipping the product is not the easiest of tasks. Ocean barges are used for transporting the coffee, which is an expensive shipping solution.    
    Regular cup of coffee beside Kona coffee beans

Does Kona Coffee Have More Caffeine?

An average cup of Kona coffee, with a medium to dark roast has 54 milligrams of caffeine. This amount of caffeine is more than the average Colombian coffee which has around 30 milligrams to 50 milligrams. On the other hand, some of the other arabica coffees have caffeine content that exceeds 100 milligrams. 

In short, in comparison to regular coffee, you will enjoy a higher caffeine content in Kona coffee but the difference is not remarkable. However, it is not the most caffeinated coffee out there.   

Is Kona Coffee the Same as a Kona Blend? 

You might have come across coffee packets labeled as Kona Blend on one of your supermarket runs. These blends are cheaper than the premium Kona Coffee that attracts a lot of unaware customers who do not know the difference between the two types of coffee.  

The fact is that Kona Blend has around less than 10% authentic Kona coffee in its composition, while the rest is made up of cheaper beans from other countries. As a result, it has none of the unique flavor notes of the original Kona coffee. 

The lower price points ensure that the coffee gets a lot of traction from the masses who are attracted to the Kona brand name but have never tasted the authentic Kona coffee.

Cup of black coffee

Related Questions

Is Kona Coffee Worth the Price?

Kona coffee is a tad pricey if you're a regular coffee consumer. However, avid coffee lovers recognize and appreciate its superior flavor and are willing to pay the price. Since it’s highly popular, giving it a try is a fair deal. 

Is Kona Coffee Only Grown in Hawaii?

Similar to the name rules for Champagne, coffee beans labeled as 100 percent Kona coffee can only refer to coffees produced in the Kona district's growing regions. The only place where real Kona coffee is cultivated is in Hawaii. So before you make a purchase make sure that you are not falling for any gimmick. 

What Makes Kona Coffee Good?

The high elevation, rich volcanic soil, cloud cover, and ideal temperatures make Kona the ideal location for growing coffee. Thus, the coffee produced there is as flawless and flavorful as possible.


The primary difference between Kona coffee and regular coffee is its location. Kona coffee is grown in the Kona district of Hawaii, where the rich soil, climatic conditions, and temperature levels provide the ideal environment to cultivate high-quality coffee beans. It is also pricier than regular coffee due to higher labor costs.