Kona Peaberry ($70 bag) Brewing tips?

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.

#1: Post by dsc106 »

Received as a gift from Rooster Farms, but my first brew was disappointing - bitter and roasty.

I went for a safe baseline - clever coffee, 20g to 320g or water (1:16), 209F kettle temp. Grind size 50 on niche zero. 3 minute immersion, 1 minute draw down. I've used that on medium-light Ethiopians and the results have been fantastic.

They say these are medium roast but they look and taste a bit darker. Wondering about going coarser and cooler, or a short immersion time, etc. but at $5 per 20g I was hoping someone could share any tips specific to rare peaberry beans.

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#2: Post by bean2friends »

There was a time when I really liked Kona coffee. That was before I learned what really wonderful coffees there are in this world. Now, I love some Brazils far better than Konas. and, of course some Panamas and Guatemalas and Ethiopians and Sumatras and......well, you get the idea. Lots of coffees that are far better than 70 dollars a bag. Still, that doesn't help you with your Kona. I surely would lower the temperature of your water. In fact, I'd try it at about 190 F. I think that might yield a good cup of coffee.

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dsc106 (original poster)

#3: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

I hear you! I've been skeptical of it but it's such a generous gift I want to get the most out of it. Im not sure it will live up to my usuals.

I was thinking temps as low as 185F-190F might be in order, along with grinding even coarser...


#4: Post by Pressino »

Speaking of costly beans, I got a 100g bag of Luwak Coffee in the fridge (the stuff is pooped out by Civets in, I think, Indonesia). I got it as a gift by friends who brought back a couple of bags after they visited the place. We tried some brewed from beans freshly ground from a bag they opened and it seemed just OK, neither as tasty as some ordinary Sumatra's I've had or as bad as I expected coffee beans that had passed through an animal's gut would taste. I've got my unopened bag in the fridge and might try it again at some point. I understand that this crap coffee is even more expensive than Kona or even Blue Mountain... :shock:

My black Taiwan Mountain Dog bears a resemblance to the Civet that appears on the bag of Luwak, though my guy is IMHO much cuter. I've been thinking about feeding him coffee cherries, collecting the naturally "processed" beans, roasting them and putting them into 1/2 lb coffee bags that are customized with his picture. Not sure what roast level would be appropriate, but I think "Mountain Dog Coffee Co." would be a good brand name. I don't think he'd mind the coffee cherries, since he is not at all a picky eater. My only concern and question is would eating them (as a small part of his AM and PM meals) be harmful? :?

dsc106 (original poster)

#5: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

So, I am pretty disappointed so far. And it sounds like from what others are saying, $70 peaberry or not, it doesn't mean it's better than a high elevation washed ethiopia. Kona coffee is Kona coffee.

But for the sake of trying to do this right, here is what I have done so far:

- Everytime clever coffee so far, just because it is the most forgiving and helps eliminate user error on pourover. (maybe I am incorrect and should try the Kalita wave?). In any case, I dropped the temp down from 209 F to 185F and took things 5 notches coarser on the niche and reduced immersion time to 2 minutes + 45 second percolation. The result was a lot better - much less bitterness. But it still tasted earthy and meh.

- Tried clever again, another 5 notches coarser, and also tightened up ratio to 1:14 to taste it better as recommended by Hoffman when dealing with darker roasts. Just tasted like dirt.

- I wanted to try it without the heat. So, 20g to 120g Coldbrew for 18 hours. Strained, tried. Result was "meh"

I think I will go back to a 1:16 ratio, drop the heat even more to 180F? Grind a little coarser still? I am just surprised that the coffee doesn't seem to taste sweet at all and I feel I must be doing something wrong...


#6: Post by LATrapp »

Does it have a roast date on it? I've had some amazing Kona, but the sad part of the majority of tourist purchases of Kona is it's from the hotel gift shop, convenience store, airport etc. where it can sit for a while.

Also, what drives Kona coffee prices is mostly the high labor costs, land costs etc. Things that have nothing to do with the coffee unfortunately.

dsc106 (original poster)

#7: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

It was purchased direct from the roaster (Rooster Farms) on the Big Island. When they were buying the bag for me, I talked to her on the phone and asked the roast date. She told me it was "just roasted yesterday." However, there is no roast date on the bag - so I do not know if I believe her. Though the coffee still smells aromatic. I roasted the bag 11 days after talking with her, so that would be 12 days old for my first brew and on day 15 now. I vac sealed and froze half the bag right away.

She also told me on the phone that the bag would be good for 3 months if not opened, and to use it quickly after that. Which, according to Gagne in "Physics of Filter Coffee" is likely true... IF it's in a proper vacuum sealed bag with 1-way relief valve. This came in a paper bag with a sealed top.

Sooo, yeah, can't say for sure roast date or age/freshness. I can say for sure that so far it's been a not very enjoyable coffee.

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#8: Post by keno »

If it tastes roasty maybe try an Aeropress, the combination of lower ratio of water to coffee, lower temp and quicker brew time really helps to eliminate roastiness and to accentuate and highlight the flavors.

dsc106 (original poster)

#9: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Thanks, I'll give that a shot. How would aeropress be different than lower temp, ratio, and shorter brew time on a clever though? Aren't they essentially identical, except the higher pressure percolation process on the aeropress would increase extraction over the clever's draw down?


#10: Post by ojt »

I'm going to assume it's like any other dark roast in which case I'd just brew it in a moka, or make a ristretto or Schomer style espresso and make a latte. Might even taste good :)