Coffee industry professionals from across the state assembled July 13-15 for the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 21st Annual Conference and 8th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel located in the heart of the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt. A robust program of presenters included numerous state and federal researchers, regulators, agencies as well as an ample trade show.
Activities included tours of area farms and processing facilities, and an optical sorter demonstration. Workshops covered coffee brewing, cupping, processing for quality and social media training. Presenters from Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture, USDA, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources were on hand to offer updates and answer questions. TV and radio personality Howard Dicus took the stage to share his witty commentary and predictions surrounding economic and other current trends.
In the cupping competition, 83 entries from growing districts located across the state competed for top honors in two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means at least 1,000 lbs. of the coffee entered is available for sale.
Competing in the Creative division, the top-scoring coffee was produced by Greenwell Farms with their Pacamara varietal with a score of 84.8. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was a Margogype variety produced by Aloha Hills Kona Coffee LLC with a score of 83.4.
The highest scoring entries from other participating Hawaiian coffee origins also earned honors including Hawaii District’s Second Alarm Farm (84.2), Maui’s Olinda Farms (84.3), Ka’u District’s The Rising Sun (84.2), and Kauai’s Moloa’a Bay Coffee (83.1). Visit hawaiicoffeeassoc.org for a full list of qualifying entries and scores.
HCA’s cupping committee chair, David Gridley of Maui, said, “75 coffees scored 80 and above. It’s amazing how the coffees keep getting better and better. I congratulate all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts.”
Veteran cupper Shawn Hamilton noted an ongoing increase in scores. “It’s a great trend. There were so many great coffees [competing] it makes our job harder.” Fellow cupper Warren Muller added, “We’re really proud of all the great work the farmers are doing. It’s very exciting for us.”
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.
HCA membership gathered to elect their new board and officers. The new president is Chris Manfredi (Ka’u Farm & Ranch Co., LLC), vice president is Ralph Gaston (Isla Custom Coffees), treasurer is Adrian Guillen (Hawaiian Queen Coffee) and secretary is Gloria Biven (Royal Kona Visitor Center Mill & Museum).
The new board of directors features broad representation spanning a variety of business disciplines within the coffee industry including Big Island Coffee Roasters, Greenwell Farms, Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee, Hawaii Coffee Growers Association, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, Ka’u Coffee Mill, Kauai Coffee Company LLC, Kona Coffee Council, Kona Mountain Coffee, Monarch Coffee and UCC-Hawaii.
Incoming President Manfredi shared, “I’m humbled and honored by the vote of confidence made by the members. I hope to fulfill their expectations by working hard to strengthen our industry and, by extension, the businesses, employees and families that depend on high quality Hawaiian coffees.”
The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The 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