Kona really isn't a brand, but I have chosen to place it in the brand section because many people think it is. Kona coffee seems to be trendy right now; it is well known for its fully body and tantalizing aroma. In 1813, the coffee tree was imported into Honolulu, Hawaii as an ornamental tree. About 1828, the first coffee plant, planted in Kona was planted by a missionary, Samuel Ruggles. Coffee is currently one of Hawaii's greatest exports.
Kona is the furthest coffee growing point from its origins in Ethiopia and it is the only coffee growing are in the US. Kona coffee is grown on the slopes of the Mauna Loa and Hualalai Mountains. Its unique taste comes from the volcanic soil, the right growing conditions, like cloud cover over the hottest days and its usual rainfall during the right time of the coffee growing cycle. Usually, Kona coffee is harvested at a different time than usual coffee growing plantations. The Kona coffee beans are harvested about August. One of the most sought after coffee beans, the pea-berry, which only has a single coffee bean inside (compared to the usual two), generally makes up to 10 percent of the total Kona coffee harvest.
Currently, Kona coffee is still grown predominantly on small farms, picked by hand and have the highest yield per acre of any coffee growing region of the world.
An interesting tidbit: In 1825, the King and Queen visited England where they got measles and both died. A gentleman with the title Governor Boki was to bring the bodies back to Hawaii. While there, Boki hired a consultant to grow coffee and sugar on his land, in the Manoa Valley, Oahu. On the way back to the island, Boki detoured to Rio de Janiero and bought some coffee plants. Boki died before the first harvest was ready (his land became uncultivated) and legend has it people took cuttings to begin coffee plantings all over.
During November each year there is a Kona Cultural Festival. Last year, they had a 'Kona Coffee Days' play, a 34th Annual Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pagent, Kona Coffee Golf Tournament, Kona Coffee Picking Contest, Kona Coffee Recipe Contest, Kona Coffee Living History Farm Tour, Cupping Competitions (sponsored by Gevalia, last year) and much more. I think I am going to go this year!