Ka‘ū, Hawai’i Boasts Three of Top 10 Coffees of the Year

In an annual competition hosted by the Roasters’ Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), three coffees from the Ka‘ū coffee growing region of Hawai‘i were among the top 10 judged, earning them the coveted title Coffee of the Year for 2012.

Winners from Hawai‘i are:

  • Will and Grace Tabios of The Rising Sun
  • Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian
  • Francis and Trinidad Marques of Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee

Top Coffees in the USA were from Ka`u farmers Bull Kailiawa in 2011 and Willie Tabios (right) in 2012. Both will head for Portland to represent Ka`u Coffee April 18 at the SCAA convention. Photo by Julia Neal

More than 250 coffee samples representing 26 countries vied in the prestigious competition to be recognized as the best specialty coffee from around the globe for the 2011/12 season.  A panel of experienced coffee cupping judges blindly evaluated the sensory attributes of each coffee to determine objective scores for fragrance and aroma, taste, flavor, acidity, aftertaste and body.  A composite of those scores was tabulated to determine the ranking.

One of the Top Ten Coffees of the Year for 2012 is from Lorie Obra, who is pictured with the 2011 U.S. Barista Champion Pete Licata, who employed Obra's coffee to win last year.

Ka‘ū coffees earned Coffee of the Year honors in 2011 and 2010, and were ranked in the top 10 five out of the last six years.

This is the third time Tabios has scored in the top 10, placing seventh in 2007 and earning a Coffee of the Year award in 2010. “I’m so glad that Ka‘ū won again,” extols Tabios. “It’s the farm and the processing that makes good quality coffee. All Ka‘ū coffee is good coffee. I’m just trying to do my best.”

“This is a special day at Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee,” says Lorie Obra. “It was my late husband Rusty’s vision that Ka‘ū would become one of the world’s top coffee-producing origins. Seeing three Ka‘ū coffees among the Coffees of the Year winners continues to keep his legacy and vision alive. This victory is for Rusty, for Ka‘ū for Hawai‘i and the USA.”

Trini Marques in the top ten at SCAA.

Trinidad Marques sees it another way: “It’s the spiritual connection to the ‘aina (land). As Hawaiians, the ‘aina and nature speak to us. I knew one day we would make it. It feels great to see the results of our perseverance.”

The coffees and the impassioned growers will be celebrated at the SCAA’s annual Expo in Portland, Oregon April 18-22 and again at the fourth annual Ka‘ū Coffee Festival in Pahala on the Big Island of Hawai‘i May 5-6 and May 12-13.

“I’m again so pleased and proud of all the Ka‘ū growers,” says festival organizer Chris Manfredi of Ka‘ū Farm and Ranch Co.. “Their dedication, combined passion and willingness to work together make Ka‘ū a very special place and Ka‘ū coffee exceptional. I’m honored to be working with them.”

Find more competition and ranking info at the SCAA website, http://www.scaa.org.

The Ka‘ū Coffee Festival is designed to raise awareness of Ka‘ū and its growers as a world-class coffee growing origin. For more information visit kaucoffeefest.com or call 808-929-9550. Vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. The Festival is supported in part by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

One Response

  1. It is great to see Ka’u gaining recognition among the world’s coffee producers. It truly is a sweet growing spot on the Big Island with many treasures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.