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QUALITY is the key factor in determining which coffees in Kona can actually qualify to be called "Kona Coffee". Although grown within the 22-mile coffee belt, not all coffee grown in Kona can truly be called Kona Coffee. Specific "grading guidelines" must be met: based on not only size, but also perfection. Only a small percentage of 'imperfect" or damaged beans are allowed in order to truly be called "Kona Coffee". Kona Coffee is graded as:
Batches that contain more imperfections than what is deemed 'acceptable' (no more than 15% defect) in any one batch or 'lot' cannot be called "Kona Coffee" and is downgraded to 'Hawaiian #3'.
Below this is "off-grade coffee" (which can qualify only being called "coffee"); or discarded as "Rubbish". The value of the Kona bean vs. the imperfect down-graded "3X bean" that didn't pass as 100% Kona (Hawaiian #3) is valued approximately 3:1. A huge incentive for the farmer to grow and maintain his crop well and produce that "100% Kona" coffee bean so highly prized.