Hawaii Coffee Association Crowned as Grand Champions of Hawaiian Coffee at Annual Conference and Cupping Competition

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) crowned the Grand Champions of Hawaiian Coffee at the 17th Annual Conference and 4th annual Cupping Competition at the Maui Tropical Plantation in beautiful Waikapu, Maui on Saturday, July 21st.

Wood Valley Coffee Co. from Hawai‘I Island’s Ka’u district received Grand Champion honors in the Commercial Category for those entries that had at least 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase as of the time of entry.

Heavenly Hawaiian Farms from the Big Isle’s Kona district received Grand Champion honors in the Creative Category for those entries that had less than 300 pounds of the winning coffee available for purchase. The Creative Category encourages farmers to try new cultivation or processing methods without having to produce a commercial-level quantity of coffee.

The coffees were ‘cupped’ and scored from a pool of 117 premium Hawaiian coffees from eight statewide districts, a 100 percent increase in entrants over 2011. Entries were critiqued by a judging panel of coffee industry professionals using standardized blind procedures, as defined by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Judges assigned a single numerical score to each coffee.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America defines “Specialty Coffee” as a coffee that has a cupping score of 80.0 or greater. Awards were given for up to the top three eligible entries from each district, and the top 10 eligible coffees in each of the Commercial and Creative categories received awards.

In addition to the above awards, a listing of all entries that received a score of 80.0 or greater is being provided on the HCA website at www.hawaiicoffeeassociation.com.  A total of 62 percent of the 51 Commercial Category entries and 68 percent of the 66 Creative Category entries achieved a cupping score of 80.0 or greater. Entrants were given the option to remain anonymous (they had to make this irrevocable choice at the time of entry), and those entries are simply blank in the listings.

Lead judges for this year’s cupping panel were Shawn Hamilton of Java City Roasters, Warren Muller of Inter American Coffee, and Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International.

“This event seems to be creating more interest in learning and improving,” observed Thornton, who also serves as president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.  “There are more, better coffees, than ever. Bravo to the HCA for persevering and continuing this event. Keep it up.”

Incoming HCA President Greg Stille added, “New farms and the improvement and expansion of existing farms are combining to raise the bar on innovation and quality for the benefit of the entire Hawai’i coffee industry and the drinking enjoyment of the specialty coffee consumer.”

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including flavor, aroma, ”mouth-feel,” acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

The conference also featured an industry trade show, guest speakers, growers’ reports, diverse educational seminars, a hands-on cupping workshop and a Hawaiian Coffee store.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawai‘i coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference has continued to grow each year and has gained increased international attention.

For more information visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassociation.com.

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