I stood there between the most active volcano on earth and an unforgiving ocean that extends for thousands of miles from any mainland. I should have felt uneasy, but a soft sea breeze and a mango tree that lent me some shade seemed very comfortable with the situation. I guessed I would be too.
There are few better places for a first encounter than a historic Kona coffee plantation on the island of Hawaii. Which is exactly where I first discovered KonaRed, prominently placed in the small refrigerator of an outdoor coffee bean stand not too from that mango tree. A shopkeeper informed me that it contained coffee fruit from that very estate, which I found very provocative. However, the heavily-typed logos and barcodes felt too commercial for a farm. I decided it wouldn’t try it. Yet. I had quietly hoped I might find it some time back home.
I did. It turned up in my local grocery in cold brew form, specifically KonaRed Espresso Cold Brew Coffee. And when I later grabbed a cold bottle from my refrigerator, the mango tree, the breezes, the blues of the ocean came back to me. Unaware that I was living the cliche of every beverage commercial since forever, I walked over to the window and raised the glass bottle to the light. The liquid shown brown with warm yellow edges that were more like a dark tea than a coffee. The metal top popped and I tuned my consciousness to a new experience.
What I found was smooth, light, and drinkable.
The first sip began with a cool wash of mild bitterness across my tongue. Roasty and subtly sweet flavors followed and faded into my being. Joy. I pressed my nose into the narrow mouth to find a playfully sweet smell void of any coffee aromas. Were they trapped in the cold? Possibly.
Before I knew it, I was halfway through the bottle. This is an easy drinker, and I didn’t want it to end. So, I slowed and reminded myself to savor each sip. I am happy I did. As the drink warmed, the brew’s taste transitioned to more familiar flavors of raspberry and dark chocolate. Wow. How many drinks do that? Craft beer? Red wine? This is coffee and this is fun.
I don’t think I could have placed that subtle sweetness had I not known there was a coffee fruit infusion. And thank goodness. It takes this Kona and Colombian blend to another level and somehow does so with zero calories. En totale! There are zeros all down the nutrition label. If you are looking for a healthy alternative to sugary, caffeinated beverages, I highly recommend trying this.
Those in need of a thicker, more complex brew should probably look elsewhere. In terms of viscosity and depth of flavor it probably sits halfway between coffee and tea. Yeah, you might say it is on the thinner side but it suits this drink well.
For an off-the-selfer with no added sugars, this one is a good time. If I am biased due to the personal experience with a Hawaiian coffee estate, so be it!