What Is Volcanic Coffee? Everything You Need To Know

Coffee Levels is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Have you ever heard of volcanic coffee? It’s a special kind of coffee that is grown in areas with volcanic soil. The soil in these regions is full of nutrients that help the coffee plants grow strong and healthy. Because of this, volcanic coffee flavors are often unique and concentrated and might be quite different from other types of coffee.

In this article, we’re going to explore what is volcanic coffee, why it’s so special, and answer the question: Is volcanic coffee the best? We’ll also take a look at the top coffee companies roasting volcanic coffee beans to see if their coffee is worth trying. Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of volcanic coffee!

What Is Volcanic Coffee?

Volcanic coffee is a type of coffee that grows in regions with volcanic soil. This soil is special because it has lots of nutrients and minerals that help coffee plants grow healthy and strong.

Because of the volcanic soil, these coffee beans develop unique and tasty flavors that set them apart from other coffee beans.

Is Volcanic Coffee the Best?

Volcanic coffee is loved by many people around the world. It tastes and smells so good that it’s often considered one of the best coffees in the world.

Volcanic coffee is often praised for its unique and complex flavor profiles. These can include fruity, floral, and earthy notes, as well as bright acidity and a smooth, velvety mouthfeel.

The specific flavor profile will depend on factors such as the altitude at which the coffee is grown, the processing method, and the roast level.

However, whether volcanic coffee is the “best” is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Some coffee enthusiasts may prefer the flavors and characteristics of volcanic coffee, while others might have a preference for beans grown in other regions or under different conditions. You might want to try different types of coffee to discover what suits your taste buds best.

My Story With Volcanic Coffee in Hawaii

It was during my vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 that I stumbled upon the most unforgettable coffee experience of my life. I had always heard about the world-famous Kona coffee and how the volcanic soil made it uniquely flavorful. Little did I know I was about to have a first-hand experience that would leave a lasting impression on me.

I had planned a day to explore the Kona Coffee Belt, which is home to several small coffee farms. As luck would have it, that same day, the island’s most active volcano, Kilauea, began erupting. The sky was filled with plumes of smoke and ash, creating an eerily beautiful backdrop for my coffee adventure.

As I toured one of the small family-owned coffee farms, the owner explained how the rich volcanic soil infused their beans with distinct flavors and a unique complexity. They showed me the entire process, from hand-picking the ripe cherries to sun-drying and roasting the beans. The love and dedication they poured into their craft was inspiring.

After the tour, I was treated to a fresh cup of coffee brewed right there on the farm. The owner guided me to their outdoor seating area, which had a clear view of the volcano erupting in the distance. The sun was setting, casting a warm golden light on the surrounding landscape. It felt like I was in a dream.

As I took my first sip, I was struck by the rich, bold taste of the coffee. The flavors were incredibly nuanced, with hints of chocolate, caramel, and a fruity undertone. The aroma was intoxicating, and the coffee’s natural sweetness and balanced acidity made it an absolute delight to drink.

Sitting there, sipping the best cup of coffee I had ever tasted while watching the awe-inspiring power of nature unfold before my eyes, was a moment of pure magic. The combination of the rich volcanic coffee, the warm Hawaiian breeze, and the mesmerizing sight of the erupting volcano created an experience I will cherish forever.

To this day, whenever I enjoy a cup of Kona coffee, I am transported back to that unforgettable evening in Hawaii. Not only did it deepen my appreciation for the art of coffee cultivation, but it also reminded me of the powerful connection between the Earth and the unique flavors it can produce.

The Impact of Volcanic Soil on Coffee Growth

1. Nutrient-rich Soil

Volcanic soil has many nutrients and minerals that are good for coffee plants. These nutrients help the plants grow strong and produce high-quality coffee beans. According to Dr. Flávio Borem, a coffee scientist and professor at the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil:

“Volcanic soil is rich in minerals and nutrients that nourish the coffee plant, creating a unique taste profile that sets it apart from other coffee varieties.”

2. Altitude and Climate

Volcanic coffee is often grown at high altitudes, which is another factor that makes it special. Coffee plants that grow at high elevations tend to produce beans with more complex and interesting flavors.

The climate in volcanic regions also helps create the perfect conditions for growing delicious coffee beans.

3. Unique Taste Profiles

Because of the volcanic soil and the growing conditions, volcanic coffee has a wide range of flavors. Some types of volcanic coffee might be smooth and mild, while others might be bright and fruity.

The unique taste of each volcanic coffee depends on the specific region where it grows and the nutrients in the soil.

Top Specialty Coffee Roasters of Volcanic Coffee Beans

Here’s a list of some of the best specialty coffee roasters that source beans from volcanic regions.

1. Volcanica Coffee

Volcanica Coffee specializes in sourcing coffee beans from volcanic regions around the world, including Costa Rica, Hawaii, Jamaica, and Ethiopia. If you are interested to learn more about this Atlanta-based coffee roaster, you can read our Volcanica coffee review here.

2. Hawaii Coffee Company

The Hawaii Coffee Company is the world’s biggest roaster of Kona Coffee and owns two amazing coffee brands: Lion Coffee and Royal Kona. They are Hawaii’s number one supplier of coffee to the Island’s hotels, restaurants, and retail stores.

We love Hawaii Coffee due to its well-balanced aroma, flavor, and acidity. Our favorite Hawaii Coffee Company beans are Royal Kona Estate Medium Roast and the Peaberry Medium Roast 100% Kona Coffee.

3. Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia coffee sources beans from several volcanic regions like Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica. They are known for their direct trade relationships with coffee producers.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other specialty coffee roasters sourcing beans from volcanic regions. It’s a good idea to explore and try different roasters to find the coffee that best suits your taste.

Famous Volcanic Coffees

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

One of the most famous volcanic coffee regions is the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is known for its smooth and mild flavor with a hint of chocolate.

The coffee plants in this region grow at high altitudes, between 3,000 and 5,500 feet above sea level.

Hawaiian Kona

Another well-known volcanic coffee region is the Kona district in Hawaii. Kona coffee is grown on the slopes of Mauna Loa, a massive volcano.

Kona coffee has a rich and bold flavor with a touch of sweetness. The coffee plants in Hawaii thrive at elevations between 1,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level.

Costa Rican Tarrazu

Costa Rica is home to some amazing volcanic coffee as well. The Tarrazu region, located near the Poas Volcano, produces coffee with bright acidity and fruity flavors.

The high-altitude region, with elevations between 3,900 and 5,900 feet above sea level, contributes to the unique taste of Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, also has volcanic regions where delicious coffee beans are grown. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee comes from the southern part of the country, near the Great Rift Valley.

This coffee is known for its bright and fruity flavors, often with hints of citrus and floral notes. The coffee plants in this region grow at altitudes between 5,800 and 7,000 feet above sea level.

Other Notable Volcanic Coffees

There are many other volcanic coffees around the world, including Panama, Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, and more.

The 8 Benefits of Volcanic Coffee

Here are some of the main benefits of drinking volcanic coffee:

  1. Enhanced Flavor Profile: Volcanic coffee beans, grown in nutrient-rich volcanic soil, boast a unique and rich flavor profile with increased depth, complexity, and natural sweetness compared to coffee grown in regular soil.
  2. Improved Nutrient Content: The volcanic soil, rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, infuses the coffee beans with essential nutrients, providing additional health benefits and improving the overall quality of the coffee.
  3. Environmentally Friendly: Volcanic coffee is often grown in smaller, more sustainable farms that employ environmentally responsible practices such as shade-grown cultivation and organic farming techniques, reducing the negative impact on the environment.
  4. Higher Antioxidant Levels: Due to the enhanced nutrient content of the soil, volcanic coffee beans are found to have higher levels of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, which can help fight inflammation and promote overall health.
  5. Supporting Local Communities: By choosing volcanic coffee, consumers can help support small-scale farmers and local communities that often rely on coffee cultivation as a primary source of income and employment.
  6. Rare and Exclusive: Volcanic coffee is not as widely available as other types of coffee, making it a unique and exclusive choice for coffee connoisseurs who appreciate the distinct flavors and characteristics of these beans.
  7. Natural Pest Resistance: The mineral-rich volcanic soil provides coffee plants with increased natural pest resistance, reducing the need for harmful pesticides and chemicals and leading to cleaner, healthier coffee beans.
  8. Soil Preservation: The use of volcanic ash in coffee cultivation helps to preserve soil structure and fertility, preventing soil erosion and degradation and promoting sustainable agriculture practices for long-term environmental benefits.

Comparing Volcanic Coffee To Other Coffee Varieties

While volcanic coffee is often praised for its unique taste, it’s important to note that taste is subjective and varies from person to person. Some people love Starbucks vs Volcanica coffee because Starbucks is more convenient for them.

As a coffee writer, I have had the opportunity to taste many different types of coffee from around the world, including volcanic coffee. In my opinion, volcanic coffee has some of the most interesting and complex flavors of any coffee variety.


So what is volcanic coffee beans? It’s a unique and delicious type of coffee that is grown in regions with volcanic soil. The nutrients and minerals in the soil, combined with high altitude and favorable climate, contribute to the diverse and complex flavor profiles of volcanic coffee.

Volcanica Coffee Company is a great option for those who want to try high-quality volcanic coffee. Trying volcanic coffee is a great way to experience new and exciting flavors. So go ahead and give it a try – you might just discover your new favorite coffee!


Featured image credit: travel-tramp.com

Click here to view the Visual Story Version of this Article.