Early into my coffee-drinking nascence I found myself having trouble drinking your run-of-the-mill java. Most coffee just had a tinge of bitterness to me. So I started asking some of my buddies what sort of quality stuff they tend to purchase so they can avoid drinking a cup of bile in order to wake the hell up every morning. Sure, their responses were varied (“Get over it, wussy,” “Drink Dr. Pepper instead,” “Have you tried soaking one of your tampons in it first?” etc., because most of my friends suck.) But the ones who took the subject seriously inevitably gathered the same conclusion: if you’re looking for the best damn cup of joe on earth, you’ll need look no further than 100% Kona.

First things first, kids: you’ll probably never find 100% Kona at your local grocer, unless it’s one of those extra-snooty places for really white people who like their fruits in a hybrid fashion and a variety of hummus infinitely more diverse than their clientele. And expect it to not be cheap. The current going rate for a pound of Kona is about $30 to $50. But if you’re gonna pay top dollar for it, look for a higher grade. Kona is graded as Extra Fancy, Fancy, #1, Peaberry and Prime, Prime being the lowest on the totem pole. The grading is based on size and density, i.e. the bigger and denser, the better. I personally wouldn’t want to shell out 30 bucks for #1 or Prime. But really, even the lowliest rung of Kona coffee is better than most anything else you can find out there.

Secondly, and this is something I feel should be universally recognized in the world of coffee, DO NOT BUY KONA BLEND. You’re purchasing Kona for one reason: it has the lowest acidity of ANY coffee out there. To bastardize it with filler beans is just criminal. And frankly, that’s just a bit of good advice for any good roast. If it has ‘Blend’ in the name, you’re just setting yourself up for a hodgepodge of unfocused flavor.

And finally, check the roast date. Perhaps one day I’ll meet my dream of winning the lottery and moving out to Hilo, basking in the seabreeze whilst naked women on golden surfboards bring me slices of pineapple and spam sushi. But until then, I realize I am about as far removed from the Big Island as is geographically possible. So no matter how superior the taste, old coffee tends to disappoint. Do your research. Sure, some people might casually mention the farm where they got the product (and there are about 700 of them.) But a true boutique will roast and ship within 24 hours.

All in all, if you’re looking for something that just wakes you up, regardless of taste, then by all means feel free to violate your tongue with any variety of crap beans grown in a creek in Garland, Texas and stored in a Home Depot bucket. But if you’re looking for a quality bean, free from any recognizable acidity and flourishing in some damn SMOOTHNESS, then order you a bag of 100% Extra Fancy Kona with a roast date of less than 3 weeks (4 weeks or more and it loses at least 50% of its original flavor.) Grind and brew immediately, and enjoy your first sip within 2 minutes.

That, my friends, is the taste of perfection.

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