100% Kona Coffee Beans: Who has the Best?

Pure 100% Kona Coffee Brands

pure 100% kona coffee

Pure 100% Kona Coffee beans

There’s never been a better time to be a coffee drinker here in the United States. After decades of sporadic gains, the years surrounding the turn of the century saw this country enter into something like a Golden Age of caffeine brands consumption. Today, the effects of this seismic transformation are being felt not only in each of the 50 states, but around the globe, as well. And we’re not done yet. With the elder statesmen of the bean-fueled revolution now all but household brands, and with the idea of a true American café culture no longer limited to a select handful of fortunate cities, the marketplace appears hungry for further exploration and experimentation. We are, once again, ready for the next level.

On a now wonderfully crowded playing field, who are the top scorers? We set out to take a close look at the scene in each of the 50 states, sampling a lifetime’s worth of brands and coming up with some incredible finds—best believe we’re always on the hunt for more. In the meantime, go forth and get buzzed.

Alabama: Prevail Union, Montgomery

A double shot of modernity for the capital city’s handsome but still sleepy downtown, this up-to-speed café from Auburn’s Prevail Coffee plants a flag for the future, just down Dexter Avenue from the seat of state government. Housed in temporary digs just now, the café will ultimately land inside an impressive (and almost completed) mixed-use complex just over Court Square, carved from Montgomery’s iconic Kress building.

Also try Two UA grads who learned the craft in Nashville returned to Tuscaloosa to open Monarch Espresso, while in Birmingham, the extremely pro-bike Woodlawn Cycle Café coffee shop, but functions more like an all-day café (a very good-looking one, at that).

Alaska: Steamdot, Anchorage

In a state of fiercely committed gourmet coffee drinkers (just you try surviving winter without the stuff), loyalties to now-classic local brands are fierce and unwavering; this relatively recent entry blends that passion with a more modern setup. Pour overs aren’t always worth the wait—here, they absolutely are.

Also try Fans of classic Northwest coffee houses will flip for the vintage vibe (and the quality of the shots pulled) at Side Street Espresso, something of a gourmet coffee treasure in downtown Anchorage.

Arizona: Presta Coffee Roasters, Tucson

One of those towns that got lucky, relatively early on, Arizona’s second city still knows Kona coffee best, at least around these parts. Right now, the city is all about this super-mod operation, featuring two high-design hangouts—one at Presta’s roasting plant, the other inside the quite chic Mercado San Agustin, these days one of Tucson’s favorite gathering places, and for good reason.

Also try The clue’s in the name—Futuro is a breathtakingly minimal hangout (and a damn fine pure gourmet coffee bar), hiding out in the so-hot-right-now Roosevelt Row area of Phoenix.

Arkansas: Onyx Coffee Lab, Fayetteville

By now, the reputation of this roaster—with its collection of four standout pure 100% kona coffee cafes—reaches far beyond Northwest Arkansas (yes, home of Walmart), and while the expertly-sourced beans tend to do most of the talking here, the precision with which you’ll typically find an Onyx barista working is most impressive, almost as if they had masses of competition waiting to steal away their customers, out the front door.

Also try First you’ll fall in love with Little Rock’s nearly idyllic Hillcrest neighborhood, then you’ll walk into Mylo Coffee Co., a popular local hangout. Sure, you can move here. Bet they’d be happy to have you.

Belfast native Michael McCrory met Lauren Crabbe behind an espresso machine in San Diego, her hometown. A move up north for school brought the pair to the relatively quiet Outer Sunset section of the city, to the opening of this café, to considerable success (and acclaim) on the roasting front, and then another café, just up the road. All of this good fortune aside, the cafes maintain the feeling of a treasured neighborhood hangout—that is, on days when lines aren’t out the door.

Also try The recent transformation of Los Angeles café culture has been an absolute pleasure to observe—from the just-right Civil Coffee in Highland Park to the cutting-edge Coffee Hall in Chinatown (look for local roaster Compelling Coffee in the rotation) to local legend Tyler Wells’ downtown kiosk, Nice Coffee, to the initially controversial (but really, very good) Weird Wave Coffee in Boyle Heights, for the most exciting developments, look east.

Colorado: Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters, Lakewood

Wrapping your head around just how many roasters are doing good work in booming Denver right now could take a while—there’s Middle State, Corvus, Huckleberry, Commonwealth; Boulder’s got Ozo, and Boxcar, too. Andy Sprenger’s operation, however, an unlikely gem in the relatively unglamorous suburb of Lakewood, feels like the truest find, right now—Sprenger traveled the world, did time with Ceremony Coffee in Annapolis, and snagged his share of industry awards before returning home to start the business. Besides being a sought-after roaster, Sweet Bloom’s café serves as a much-welcomed third place for the neighborhood.

Also try Colorado Springs takes its share of heat for lagging behind trends, but there’s nothing not terrific about Loyal Coffee, a skilled operation that also happens to be a cooperative between the six founding baristas.

Connecticut: Story & Soil Coffee, Hartford

A trio of talented locals, passionate in equal measures for Kona Coffee and their city, joined up last year to create one of New England’s most modern multi-roaster cafes, on an appealing block at the heart of Connecticut’s struggling state capital. Success was far from assured, and the sailing hasn’t always been entirely smooth, but at least in this corner of town, things are looking up.

Also try Up the road from Hartford in the idyllic Farmington Valley, Canton’s relaxed Giv Coffee rather undersells the fact that you’ve stepped onto the premises of a well-awarded roasting operation.

Delaware: Brandywine Coffee Roasters, Wilmington

You could always get a nice cup of Kona coffee at Brew HaHa!, Delaware’s best-known mini-chain, but with the launch of Brandywine Coffee Roasters a few years back, founder Alisa Morkides, ever passionate about sourcing, took things in-house, and also to a brilliant new place. Quickly garnering heaps of national attention, Brandywine supplies the nine Brew HaHa! stores from its roasting operation in Wilmington’s Trolley Square neighborhood, fronted by a visually arresting flagship café, one that feels more like the lobby of a hip hotel, than just another Kona coffee shop.

Also try Over in Newark, Little Goat Coffee Roasting is a relatively new operation, drawing a great deal of local attention—more competition is surely a good thing.

Florida: Panther Coffee, Miami

The Sunshine State has its share of interesting new cafes, but this extremely good roaster transcends not only its peers, but also bests the top offerings in many other states in the Southeast, and perhaps beyond. And here we are, still just talking about the Kona coffee—the energy of Panther’s cafes, which function as life hubs in a growing number of neighborhoods, from Coconut Grove to Little Haiti, is typically something approaching electric, and never to be missed. Don’t start a South Florida day without a visit to Panther.

Also try Orlando’s sleepy but cool East End is home to the terrific Lineage Coffee Roasters, while over in Tampa, acclaimed roaster King State is preparing to open its first café, in historic Ybor City. Up in Jacksonville, the utterly charming Vagabond Coffee Co. is helping to perk up the sleepy Murray Hill neighborhood with Hawaiian Coffee.

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