Over the weekend of July 19th through 21st the Hawaii Coffee Association hosted its 17th annual conference and trade show at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu, Maui.
Every year coffee growers and roasters gather to discuss important coffee issues and share techniques and ideas as well. There are workshops, crop grower reports, research updates and, of course, the tasting and scoring of coffees from around the islands. Also the University of Hawaii along with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the USDA joined forces to host a critically important workshop on preventing and controlling the coffee berry borer beetle.
In addition to the conference, the event also played host to the 4th annual statewide cupping competition which included more than 117 entries from across the island chain. Each was competing for the coveted title of Grand Champion of Hawaiian Coffee in two categories: commercial and creative. Top coffees from each growing region were also recognized.
This year Wood Valley Coffee Co. from the Big Island's Ka'u district won top honors in the commercial category, while Heavenly Hawaiian Farms from Kona received Grand Champion honors in the creative category.
Lead judge Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International and also president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America said of the competition: "This event seems to be creating more interest in learning and improving. There are more, better coffees than ever."
Coffee cupping is part science and part art, similar to wine tasting, where coffees are tasted and scored based on subtle characteristics such as flavor, aroma, acidity, sweetness and finish.
The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, processors, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of all Hawaiian coffees. A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Visit www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.