HCA Taps Statewide Cupping Winners at 19th Annual Confab

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) celebrated its 19th Annual Conference and 6th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition July 18-20 at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay located in the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt.


The HCA divided more than 82 entries assembled from across the state into two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means that at least 1,000 lbs of the entered coffee is available for sale as of April 15.

In the Creative Division, four of the top 10 coffees hailed from Ka’u, including the top two: Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee earned a score of 88.7 out of a possible 100; followed by FL Farm of Wood Valley with a score of 88.5

In the Commercial Division, five of the top 10 coffees were proudly grown in Kona with Aloha Hills Kona Coffee and Maui Grown Coffee tying for the top spot with a score of 87.3. The second spot went Kona’s Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earning a score of 87.0.

The HCA also presented awards to the highest scoring coffees entered from each of the eight growing districts from across the state. These include Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, O‘ahu and Moloka‘i.

One Heart Farm of Hamakua was the finest coffee sampled from that verdant district, while Hilo Coffee Mill received top honors in the Hawai‘i district tallying a score of 87.2. Kauai Coffee Company captured the top spot for that origin and Kona Mountain Coffee was judged as the premier entry from Kona with a score of 87.4. The award for the highest scoring coffee from Maui was Keokea Farms with their organic entry of Typica, Kent and Caturra varietals with a score of 88.4.

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.

Complete results can be found at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

“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”

Veteran cupper Warren Muller said “The competition was very close” noting an overall increase in scores among a broad spectrum of coffees. “But some just jumped off the table” 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.

The HCA also hosted a Reverse Trade Mission designed to expand markets in Canada. Inbound missionaries included buyers, brokers, industry media and professionals.

HCA members elected a new Board of Directors to include two new representatives in Big Island Coffee Roasters of Mountain View and Isla Custom Coffees of Pahala.

Outgoing two-term President Greg Stille of Maui was replaced by incoming President Jim Wayman of Hawaii Coffee Company in Honolulu.

The HCA Annual Conference was followed on Saturday by the inaugural Roast & Roots event hosting nearly 1,000 attendees. This new event featured notable local chefs participating in culinary demonstrations and competitions and included a People’s Choice coffee tasting won by Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee of Pahala. Roast & Roots represents a partnership between the Hawaii Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i’s Department of Agriculture through its ‘Buy Local it Matters’ campaign.

Sunday’s activities included a bus tour of area farms and processing facilities.

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. 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.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

Statewide Agriculture Commodities Join Forces to Market, Export Hawaii Brand

In an effort to better market Hawaii commodities to foreign and domestic markets, three statewide agriculture associations have founded the non-profit Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council (SHAC).

The three founding associations— the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA), the Hawaii Coffee Association, (HCA), and the Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association (HFNA)— represent 543 businesses stretching from Hilo to Hanalei.  Combined, the three commodities earned $120 million in 2010*.

Parchment drying is part of the labor-intensive processing of coffee

“Through SHAC, multiple Hawaii commodity groups are unifying to utilize federal and state funding to market and export our made-in-Hawaii brand,” says Eric Tanouye, SHAC vice-president and president of the Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association.

Under SHAC, Hawaii commodities can apply for funds through the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). In 2012, $200 million was authorized by Congress under the Farm Bill to be channeled through FAS grants to more than 70 participants.

SHAC will mainly target grants through two funding opportunities: the Market Access Program (MAP) and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC). A cost share program, MAP helps U.S. producers and trade associations finance overseas marketing and promotional activities to support ag exports. TASC tackles technical trade barriers like crop regulations, sanitation and pest-control.

Serving as an umbrella association, SHAQ will enable Hawaii commodities to combine financial resources to provide MAP’s required amount of matching contributions and “desired broadness of representation.” The idea is to consolidate association contributions with diminishing Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) grants to better leverage the federal MAP funding.

“Many tradeshows on the US Mainland are considered international in nature and are eligible expenses under FAS funding,” explains Gloria Biven, HCA treasurer. By maximizing limited state funds and association contributions, we can share the cost of the same activities that span multiple groups.”

Those activities could include production of Hawaii-orientated product shows, the branding of members’ commodities and support of HDOA quality standards.

With a founding purpose to have commodities work cooperatively for the development and sustainability of Hawaii’s agriculture, SHAC will address other issues of importance to its members, such as legislative and regulatory representation. SHAC hopes to increase membership by at least one commodity association every two years to improve synergism and operational finances.

Ken Kamiya, president of SHAC and former HPIA president, surveys a papaya grove

“Our vision of is to create a solid management structure to support members in planning, government financing, compliance and activity implementation,” details Ken Kamiya, president of SHAC and former HPIA president.

“Many Hawaii commodities face the same challenges: geographic isolation, a high cost of doing business and no winter climatic control of plant diseases and pests,” Kamiya continues. “It makes sense to seek solutions by pooling our financial and human resources.”

Immediate goals for SHAC include seeking $500,000 in MAP funds and additional TASC support to fight the coffee berry borer and possible transgenic research.  SHAC will vie for funds with large organizations like the American Soybean Association, U.S. Apple Export Council and the California Table Grape Commission.

HFNA display seen last summer at Atlanta's Produce Marketing Association International Convention and Expo

Steve Beasley, FAS international marketing specialist, recently visited Hawai‘i to educate ag organizations, HDOA and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) on FAS.

“Steve got everyone off to a good start in visualizing the benefits of a multiple commodity group for Hawaii,” says SHAC Executive Manager Rod Yonemura. “Export is a significant part of our members’ sales so it is important to promote the high quality of our ag products to foreign markets.”

*Value of Production-Hawaii State Farm Facts Jan. 2012

Flowers & Nursery Products-$75,600,000