Meet TexaKona Coffee
While on assignment for the May Magazine, by happenstance, I was introduced to a true off-the-beaten-path McKinney paragon. One whose trade is not only tasty and incredibly popular, but is rooted across the Pacific Ocean on a tiny string of islands known for this particular crop.
TexaKona Coffee opened their McKinney doors two years ago in 2016 by co-owners Elaine and David Krazer. Their parent company, Pacific Tradewinds Coffee Company owns a 21 acre coffee plantation in the North Kona District on the Big Island of Hawaii. The raw beans are harvested and shipped to the mainland to TexaKona Coffee in McKinney, Texas for roasting and blending.
During my morning spent at TexaKona Coffee, located at 3103 North McDonald, I learned a plethora of caffeinated facts I imagine even the biggest of coffee fans are unaware of. For example, coffee is one of the only crops to purposefully throw away the fruit and use the seeds. The coffee fruit called the “cherry” actually has more antioxidants than blueberries and tastes similar to a cranberry. Because of this health benefit, parchment sloughed off by the beans during roasting is often sold to cosmetic companies to use in their products. Unroasted coffee beans are called green beans, and like a peanut, split in half the majority of the time. 5% of all beans never split and are called a peaberry. These are considered premium because there is more “bang for your buck” regarding flavor to weight ratio.
Roasting and Flavor Profile
Kona coffee has very strict standards and must be grown in the Kona District of Hawaii to hold the title Kona Coffee. Similar to wine-making grapes, coffee is like a sponge and absorbs the flavors of its surroundings. If a coffee plant grows near macadamia nut trees, the coffee will take on a “nutty” flavor. If they grow near a grove of oranges, it will taste more citrus-y. Blending various types of coffee beans is done to enhance the good notes and smooth the rougher ones. Because of the aforementioned Kona coffee standards, any blend containing Kona coffee beans must have at least 10% of Kona in order to be given a Kona Coffee Blend title.
At TexaKona Coffee, room temp green beans are added to the coffee roaster (affectionately known as the Heisenberg) once it holds a temperature between 270º and 480º. TexaKona Coffee owner and roaster David Krazer must watch how fast the temperature of the bean rises because there are 850 different oils and compounds that develop during roasting. Coffee beans lose 10-15% of their weight during roasting, however they increase in size, kind of like popcorn. A full roast lasts between 15-20 minutes depending on size and moisture content. Light roasted coffee often has more of a citrus flavor, while dark roasted coffee tastes more charred with bitter notes. As you can imagine, TexaKona Coffee strives to hit right in the middle. And as a new coffee connoisseur who prefers a TexaKona Americano above anything else, they hit the nail on the head! FUN FACT: the longer a bean is roasted, the less caffeine it holds.
Once coffee is roasted it must de-gas for three days before packaging. Coffee beans are stored appropriately as whole beans to ensure maximum freshness until purchased; ground coffee has a 10 day shelf life because flavor evaporates faster on a smaller a surface area. A nifty little machine exists at TexaKona Coffee to make K-cups for customers to enjoy via the Keurig. For our Plano friends, TexaKona coffee can be purchased at Central Market. For our Van Alstyne and surrounding area friends, visit the new TexaKona Coffee Lodge. For everyone else, join the Coffee Club online to receive 1-2 pounds of your choice of coffee every month!
If you are local to McKinney, or within driving distance, you must visit TexaKona Coffee. Not only do they have wonderful facility with complementary tastings and on-site roasting, but TexaKona also has a fantastic coffee museum showing coffee artifacts from ages past.