Learn about the best Hawaiian coffee brands in this Hawaii Coffee Company review for 2023! Hawaiian coffees come in a variety of different flavors, like vanilla macadamia and toasted coconut. We’ll also cover the best Kona coffee, the differences between 100% Kona coffee vs regular, kona coffee k cups, and more. Coffee from Hawaii is a must in Hawaiian gift baskets, or you can keep it for yourself!
I love Hawaiian coffee and coffee in general. (So much so in fact, I could make an argument my business runs on coffee. Or at the very least, a coffee-fueled founder.)
Unfortunately, it can be tough to find good Hawaiian coffee near me. It’s a bit pricey to travel to Hawaii to buy Hawaiian coffee beans, so I’m so happy I found the Hawaii Coffee Company. They have macadamia nut coffee from Hawaii, Royal Kona coffee, and much, much more.
By the way, if you've ever wondered is coffee native to Hawaii, the answer is no. According to the Honolulu Coffee Company, coffee came to Hawaii from Brazil in about the 1820s (source). Coffee grew especially well in the Kona region of the Big Island, and delicious Hawaiian Kona coffee was born.
These days, you can find delicious Kauai coffee, and coffee from other Hawaiian Islands as well. The varied terroir of the islands results in a rich world of diverse coffee options that are sure to delight your senses.
Here is (IMVHO) the best coffee in Hawaii:
- Hawaii Coffee Roasters
- Koa Coffee
- Volcanica Coffee (Kona Peaberry Coffee)
This list is far from exhaustive! This Hawaiian coffee company is a great option if you’d like to include a few brands of Hawaiian coffee in Kona coffee gift baskets.
Best Hawaiian Coffee Brands
Here are some more details on the best Hawaii coffee brands, so you can pick the one that works for you.
If you love a good flavored coffee, Lion Coffee may be perfect for you. I reached out to Hawaii Coffee Company, and they sent me a variety pack of Lion Hawaiian Coffee flavors to try. The pack I tried contained light roast 100% Arabica coffee with natural and artificial flavors.
This is a premium coffee brand that is attuned to the details. I love the little clips they send to keep the coffee bags closed- so much better than using tapes! Lion coffee is smooth, nutty, and will give you a taste of Hawaii even if you can’t afford a vacation right now.
My top reason to love this coffee are the amazing flavors! Check out the current list of Hawaiian Lion Coffee the Hawaii Coffee Company has available:
- Vanilla Macadamia
- Toasted Coconut
- Chocolate Macadamia
- Frosty Vanilla
- Pumpkin Haupia
- Kaka’ako Caramel
Lion offers decaf coffee and caffeinated varieties in coffee bags and single serve coffee pods. You can also get Diamond Head roasts, which are 10% Hawaiian coffee blends. Another Lion offering is the antioxidant enriched coffee, which contains coffee cherry extract.
Lion Coffee starts at $11.95 per bag, or $8.95 for single-serve pouch packs (buy here). This pricing is comparable to premium coffee at grocery stores. They also offer 10% Kona blends, as well as 100% Kona coffee (the 24K Gold Roast) at higher price points.
IMVHO, Lion Coffee does the best job offering something for every coffee fan. You can purchase ground or whole bean coffee, depending on whether you want to grind your own coffee beans.
Royal Kona Coffee
Royal Kona Coffee is another top seller at the Hawaii Coffee Company, and for good reason. If you’re strictly interested in 100% Kona coffees and 10% Kona coffee blends, this is the brand for you.
Like Lion coffee, Royal Kona offers some delish flavors. Here are some of the Royal Kona coffee flavors available:
- Toasted Coconut
- Vanilla Macadamia
- Honey Macadamia
- Vanilla Crème Brulee
- White Chocolate Strawberry
- Chocolate Macadamia
- Island Streusel
- Gingerbread Latte
They have a few new flavors, so keep checking back for their most current flavors. Royal Kona offers regular coffee bags, single pot bags, and single-serve coffee pods. You can get whole beans or ground coffee, decaf or regular.
Fans of Royal Kona coffee rate it highly for its depth of flavor. If Hawaiian coffee equals Kona coffee to you, Royal Kona is a great choice. The pricing is similar to Lion coffee, again with the medium roast 100% Kona coffee costing more than the blends.
Hawaii Coffee Roasters
Hawaii Coffee Roasters is another popular Hawaiian coffee brand. Right now, it appears most of their products are sold out on the Hawaiian Isles Coffee Company website. However, you can still purchase them on Amazon.
The Hawaii Coffee Roasters Company roasts and packages their coffees in Hawaii, but the coffee beans may come from off the islands. This brand doesn’t appear to offer Kona coffees, instead they offer coffee with Hawaiian flavors. Here are the flavors you may find:
- Macadamia Brittle
- Vanilla Macadamia
- Mountain Dark Roast
- Vanilla Cappuccino
- Upcountry Morning Blend
- Island French Roast
- Mountain Roast
- Chocolate Macadamia
- Tropical Hazelnut
- Chocolate Coconut
This company specializes in medium roast and dark roast coffee. You can purchase whole coffee beans and coffee grinds.
A friend told me no list of best coffee in Hawaii is complete without mentioning Koa Coffee. This company offers premium coffee from Hawaii only, with no blends. Since you’re buying 100% pure Kona coffee and other purely Hawaiian coffees, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Koa coffee places the focus on producing high quality coffee without added flavors. They offer ground coffee and whole bean coffee, and medium roast, Vienna roast, and dark roast. You can also find caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee options.
Volcanica Coffee (Kona Peaberry Coffee)
If you’re a big spender looking for Kona coffee gifts, Volcanica Coffee’s Kona Peaberry coffee is a great choice. Volcanica offers premium specialty coffees from all over the world, not just Hawaii. Here, I’m just focusing on their Hawaiian coffee.
Kona peaberry coffee is known as the champagne of Kona coffee. It is made with rare Kona peaberries, said to be the best Kona coffee beans. Normally, coffee fruit contains two beans, but about 5% of the time, the fruit produces only one bean, AKA a peaberry (source).
Peaberries are removed by hand from the coffee plants and used to make what is considered the highest quality Kona coffee. Coffee connoisseurs consider Kona peaberry coffee to have a smoother, richer flavor and aroma than regular Kona coffee.
The major downside of all of this luxury is the price. At the time of writing, a 1 lb bag of Kona peaberry coffee costs a hefty $149.99 at Volcanica. The price of this coffee places it out of reach for the average daily coffee drinker.
What is Hawaiian style coffee?
Hawaiian coffee is made from coffee beans grown in Hawaii, packaged and roasted in Hawaii, or both. Some people equate Kona coffee with “Hawaiian style,” but there are Hawaiian coffees that are not grown in the Kona region.
What makes Hawaiian coffee different?
There are a number of attributes that make Hawaiian coffee different. Many of the Hawaiian coffees I’ve tried are extremely smooth, with a rich flavor. Some Hawaiian coffees have Hawaiian-inspired flavorings added, such as macadamia.
For Hawaiian coffee grown in Hawaii, the unique climate contributes to the flavor of the coffee beans. Local roasting practices can also impact the flavor of your finished cup of joe.
Is Hawaiian coffee strong?
The answer to this question depends on the specific brand and type of coffee you choose. While Kona coffee may contain more caffeine than regular coffee, you can also purchase decaf Kona coffee. Hawaiian coffee is also available in light, medium, and dark roast.
What is the famous coffee in Hawaii?
The most famous Hawaiian coffee is Kona coffee. These are Arabica Typica Kona coffee beans that are on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai in the Kona districts on the Big Island (source).
How do you know if you’re getting real Kona coffee?
Look for “100% Kona coffee” on the packaging if you want to be sure you’re getting real Kona coffee. “Kona style,” “Kona roast,” and “Kona blend” generally mean the coffee isn’t purely from Kona.
Types of Hawaiian Coffee
The Hawaiian Islands offer a variety of delicious and aromatic types of coffee. How many of these have you tried?
Hawaiian Kona Coffee
One of the most popular Hawaiian coffees is Kona coffee. Kona refers to the region the coffee was grown in, not a specific coffee type, though Typica coffee beans are commonly used. Kona blend coffee is widely available, often blending 10% Kona coffee with coffees grown elsewhere.
Kona coffee is well-known and expensive, so budget-conscious coffee aficionados know to explore some of the lesser-known Hawaiian coffees. One of these is Ka’u coffee, sometimes known as the “cousin of Kona.”
Ka’u coffee is typically grown at 1500-2100 feet above sea level (source). This coffee is described as having a smooth flavor and syrupy mouthfeel with hints of brown sugar and spice. Lion brand sells 100% Ka’u coffee, which you can purchase here.
Hamakua coffee is harder to find due to its small growing region. These coffee farms are in a cool, rainy region of Hawaii at 350-2500 feet above sea level (source). Hamakua coffee is best for those who prefer a nutty coffee versus one with jasmine or citrus notes (like Ka’u).
According to the Hawaii Coffee Association, Puna coffee is grown across the island from Kona coffee. It grows in an area with a high average rainfall that contains a large amount of lava rock. These unique growing conditions create a coffee with an intense aroma and flavor.
Puna has a distinct flavor profile compared to the other Hawaiian coffees. Some describe it as having notes of red wine, almond, and rose (source). Typica, Catuai, and Caturra variety coffee beans are most commonly used for Puna coffee.
Kauai coffee is grown on the island of Kauai. The Kauai Coffee Company is a well-known producer of Kauai coffee. Kauai coffee is one of the few types of Hawaiian coffee I occasionally see in local grocery stores, and you can buy it on Amazon.
If you’re interested in seeing how coffee is grown in Kauai, you can do a tour at the Kauai Coffee Estate. This is the largest coffee farm in the United States. (Definitely a must-do on my travel bucket list!)
Moloka’i coffee is grown on the island of Moloka’i and grown to meet the standards of Moloka’i Prime green coffee (source). This is a premium coffee, often selling at $40-50 per pound of coffee beans. Dark roast Moloka’i coffee is a popular choice and has a chocolatey, nutty flavor.
Some prefer immersion brewing methods to bring out the best flavor in Molokai coffee. Brewing the coffee at extremely high water temps can lead to a bitterness or burnt flavor in the coffee, so be careful!
Maui coffee is grown on the island of Maui. This grouping of Hawaiian coffee includes many different types of coffee, because of Maui’s varied microclimates. According to the Hawaii Coffee Association, Typica, Catuai, Caturra, Bourbon, and Mokka are some common coffee varieties grown in Maui.
What is the difference between Kona coffee and regular coffee?
Real Kona coffee is only grown in the Kona region on Hawaii’s Big Island. “Regular coffee” can be from any coffee farm in the world.
Is Kona coffee only in Hawaii?
Yes, true Kona beans only grow in the Kona region of Hawaii. You may find “Kona style” coffee grown elsewhere, but these are not true Kona coffees. You can ship true Kona coffee across the US and internationally by ordering here.
Is Kona coffee high in caffeine?
Kona coffee may be higher in caffeine than some South American coffees (source). However, decaf Kona is also available.
Does Kona coffee have less acid?
Is Hawaiian coffee less acidic? Kona coffee is often described as having low acidity but a high caffeine level. Remember that “Hawaiian coffee” includes all types of coffee produced in Hawaii, not just Kona. Other Hawaiian coffees may or may not have mild acidity, depending on the type.
Why does Kona coffee taste different?
Kona coffee tastes different because of the unique Hawaiian climate it’s grown in. Planting, harvesting, processing, and roasting practices also impact the unique flavor of Kona coffee.
Is Kona coffee expensive?
Yes, Kona coffee is more expensive than regular coffee from your local supermarket (such as Folger’s or Maxwell House). Part of the reason for this is because Kona relies on Hawaiian coffee production, where there's a minimum wage for workers. A lot of coffee is grown in countries where the workers are paid far less than American minimum wage, leading to cheaper beans (source).
Why is Kona coffee so rare?
Kona coffee is produced in small batches because Hawaii is the only state where it can be grown. The entire Kona Coffee Belt is only about 1 mile wide and 30 miles long (source). This limits the amount of Kona coffee that can be produced.
How to Order Hawaiian Coffee
Ordering Hawaiian coffee could not be easier! Here are the steps:
- Go to the Hawaii Coffee Company website here. Grab any coupon codes that pop up on the screen.
- Next, use the menu to go to the category of product you’re interested in. (“Top Sellers” is a great place to start if you’re undecided.)
- On the product pages, select the size/type of item you want and click “add to cart.”
- When you’re ready to order, click the cart in the upper right corner of the screen. Click “check out now.”
- Fill in your email, shipping/billing address, promo code, and payment info. Submit your order and wait for the delicious taste of aloha to show up at your doorstep. So easy!
Who owns the Hawaii Coffee Company?
Hawaii Coffee Company is owned by Anderson Holdings.
Hawaii Coffee Company Discount Code
You can save even more at Hawaii Coffee Company by taking advantage of their current deals. Click here for Hawaii Coffee Company coupon codes and deals.
At the time of writing, they are also offering a discount for signing up for their email list. The sign up is at the bottom of this page.
Hawaii Coffee Company Shipping and Returns
Hawaii Coffee Company currently offers $5 flat rate shipping to any US address on orders over $29. Orders are processed and shipped within 1-2 business days, and sent via UPS Ground, UPS Air and USPS.
You can return most new and unopened items within 30 days for a full refund. They’ll also cover your shipping costs if the return is due to an error on their part. Use their contact page if you’d like to return an item or are interested in international shipping.
Hawaii Coffee Company Contact Info
Hawaii Coffee Company customer service can be reached using the contact page here. Email them for assistance at [email protected] dot com. Alternatively, send them a message using the blue help button in the bottom right corner of the screen on their website.
Does Kona coffee come in k cups? Yes! For the best Kona k cups, check out these 100% kona coffee k cups that get great reviews. Hawaii Coffee Company offers 10% Kona coffee blends in single serve coffee pods as an alternative. You can also get Hawaii Kona Nespresso pods.
Coffee is like wine in that its flavor depends on the terroir (I.e., microclimate of the region it’s grown in). Rich volcanic soils, perfect temperatures, and the high elevation are all factors in creating this extraordinarily good coffee.
Personally, I find Hawaiian Lion Coffee to be the best Hawaiian coffee, because I love the delicious and unique flavors. Many think 100% Kona coffee is the best tasting coffee from Hawaii.
All Kona coffee is Hawaiian coffee, but not all coffee from Hawaii is Kona. Kona coffee is a type of coffee grown in a specific region of Hawaii on the Big Island by local farmers.
No, at the time of writing, Starbucks doesn’t offer Kona coffee. In the past, Starbucks has offered Hawai'i Ka'u coffee under their Starbucks Reserved line.
McDonald’s menus vary by country and region. McDonald’s in Hawaii does offer Royal Kona Coffee, but you can’t get it in the other states (source). (Lucky Hawaiians!)
Yes, you can find Trader Joe’s Kona coffee, however, availability varies by location.
Yes, Kona coffee is stronger than Colombian coffee in the sense that it may contain more caffeine (source).
Hawaiian Coffee Recipe
Wondering how to make Hawaiian coffee? Here are the steps to brew Hawaiian coffee in a regular coffee machine:
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Hawaiian Coffee Recipe
- Put the filter and the coffee grounds in your coffee machine.
In general, you should add 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per serving of coffee.
- Pour water into coffee machine.
Use ¾-1 cup of water per coffee serving.
- Brew the coffee and enjoy!
Don’t forget to add sugar and cream, if you take these with your coffee.
Want to make iced Hawaiian coffee drinks? No problem! Simply use half the amount of water to brew the coffee. After brewing, add in an equal amount of ice.
A low-tech way to brew coffee is to use a pour-over coffee carafe. To use it, heat water on the stovetop, and place a filter and coffee in the carafe. Then pour the hot water into the top, and watch gravity brew your coffee. It’s kind of fun!
Lion Coffee recommends storing unbrewed coffee at room temperature in an opaque, airtight container. According to them, the coffee should be used within two weeks of opening the package. (Honestly, I find the quality remains fine for much longer than this, but you can store coffee in the freezer if you’re worried.
Finally, here are a few recipes using coffee, if you can’t get enough of that tasty coffee flavor:
Our Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte article has some info you might be interested in if you want to learn more about coffee.
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