Hawaii Coffee Association Names Cupping Winners, Recaps Annual Conference

Coffee industry leaders from across the state assembled for the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 20th Annual Conference and 7th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition this past weekend at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel located in the heart of the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt.

CuppingIn the cupping competition, 95 entries from growing districts located across the state competed for top honors in two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means that at least 1,000 pounds of the coffee entered is available for sale.

The top-scoring coffee hailed from Hula Daddy Kona Coffee Farm with a score of 86.5, which competed in the Creative division. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was also produced in Kona by Moki’s Farm with a score of 84.8. The highest scoring coffees from other participating Hawaiian coffee origins were also honored including Ka’u District’s A.C. Farm (85.5), the Hawaii District’s Accidental Coffee Farm (85.1), Maui’s Tambra Gardens/Kula Beans (84.8) and Hamakua’s Hawaiian Rainbow Farms with a score of 84.1. Visit hawaiicoffeeassoc.org for a full list of qualifying entries and scores.

“I am very impressed with the quality of the coffees coming out of all of the districts. It just keeps getting better,” said David Gridley of Maui, HCA’s Cupping Committee chair. “I applaud all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts”

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.

Veteran cupper Warren Muller noted an overall increase in scores among a broad spectrum of coffees this year. “But some just jumped off the table,” he emphasized, referring to the outstanding quality of this year’s crop. He remarked that the upward trend signifies continuous improvement and that experimentation was evident in new varietals and processing methods.

At the annual meeting, association members gathered to elect a new board and officers. HCA’s new president is Steve Hicks of Greenwell Farms with Ralph Gaston of Isla Custom Coffees as vice president, Adrian Guillen of Hawaiian Queen Coffee as treasurer and Gloria Biven of Royal Kona Visitor Center Mill & Museum as secretary.

The new board of directors features representation from across the state and a variety of business disciplines within the coffee industry including Big Island Coffee Roasters, Hawaii Coffee Company, Hawaii Coffee Growers Association, Ka’u Farm and Ranch Co. LLC, Kaiwi Farms, Kauai Coffee Company LLC, Kona Coffee Council, Kona Mountain Coffee, Maui Coffee Association, Monarch Coffee and UCC-Hawaii.

Incoming President Steve Hicks commented, “The conference has given us an opportunity to redouble our efforts and refocus the industry on the finest quality coffee we can produce.”

Other activities included a bus tour of area farms and processing facilities, a cupping workshop, a coffee quality workshop, vendor displays and presentations from Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture, USDA, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hawaii Farm Bureau and growers from across the state. TV and radio personality Howard Dicus took the stage to share his witty commentary and predictions surrounding economic events.

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. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention.

Learn more about the HCA at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

Learn more about the Hawaii coffee industry at hawaiicoffeeindustry.com

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