Big Island coffees take honors at cupping competition


The Hawaii Coffee Association celebrated its 19th annual Conference and sixth annual Statewide Cupping Competition Friday at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.

More than 82 entries from across the state were divided into two categories: creative and commercial. Qualifying for the commercial division required that at least 1,000 pounds of the entered coffee be 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: Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee, with a score of 88.7 out of 100 and FL Farm of Wood Valley with a score of 88.5.

In the commercial division, five of the top 10 coffees were grown in Kona with Aloha Hills Kona Coffee and Maui Grown Coffee tying for the top spot with a score of 87.3 out of 100. The second spot went Kona’s Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, which earned a score of 87.

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

One Heart Farm of Hamakua was the best coffee sampled from that district, while Hilo Coffee Mill received top honors in the Hawaii 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 out of 100. 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.

“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”

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

The association’s members also elected a new Board of Directors that includes two new representatives: 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.

For full results of the cupping competition, click here.