Olinda Organic Farm Honored at Statewide Cupping Competition
Coffee industry professionals from across the state assembled for the Hawaiʻi Coffee Association’s 22nd Annual Conference and 9th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition Thursday through Saturday at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū. This year, the HCA combined its annual conference with the Maui Coffee Association’s popular Seed to Cup Festival.
The cupping competition featured 107 entries in two divisions— Creative and Commercial —hailing from origins located throughout the island chain including Hawaiʻi Island’s Kona, Kaʻu, Hamakua, Hilo and Puna districts; plus Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi and Oʻahu.
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.
Maui coffees consistently rank as some of Hawaiʻi’s best coffee in the HCA’s annual Statewide Coffee Cupping Competition.
Competing in the Creative cupping division, the top-scoring coffee was produced by Olinda Organic Farm with its wet-ferment Red Catuai varietal earning a score of 87.4. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was a wet ferment typica variety produced by Miranda’s Farm of Ka‘u; it tallied a score of 84.1.
District honors were awarded to Hamakua’s Papa‘aloa Joe, Hawai‘i’s Second Alarm Farm, Kaua‘i Coffee Company, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee LLC, and O‘ahu’s Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center.
HCA’s Cupping Committee Chair David Gridley of Maui commented, “Ninety-four coffees (88%) scored 80 and above. It’s amazing how the coffees keep getting better and better. I congratulate all the coffee farmers of Hawaii for their remarkable efforts.”
Visit hawaiicoffeeassoc.org for a full list of qualifying entries and scores.
“When you got to the last cup, we just said, ‘Wow,’ this is exiting!” exclaimed cupper Warren Muller of Walker Coffee Trading of Houston, Texas. “The level of experimentation is such that we’re now seeing coffees that you wouldn’t expect from the Hawaiian Islands,” shared fellow cupper Shawn Hamilton of Java City of Sacramento. Now in its ninth year of the competition, the cuppers agreed, “The quality just keeps getting better and better. It’s very good for Hawaii.”
Workshops covered topics including coffee brewing, cupping, roasting and roaster maintenance, composting, processing for ‘’quality, differentiation and competition;” branding and packaging, specialized fermentation, plus farm management and sensor technology utilizing drones. A fantastic historic timeline of the Hawaiian coffee industry over the past 30-plus years was presented by retiring University of Hawaiʻi’s CTAHR coffee research icon, Skip Bittenbender. Activities included a tour of Oʻo Farms in Kula.
A schedule of presenters included a diverse assemblage of state and federal researchers and innovators from private industry. Presenters from USDA, Hawaiʻi Agricultural Research Center, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, as well as Synergistic Hawaiʻi Agricultural Council, offered updates and answered questions.
The association membership also gathered to elect a new board and officers. Officers include President Chris Manfredi of Kaʻu; Vice-President Tom Greenwell of Greenwell Farms, Treasurer Adrian Guillen of Hawaiian Queen Coffee and Secretary Donna Wooley of the Kona Coffee Council.
The new board of directors features broad representation spanning a variety of business disciplines including Big Island Coffee Roasters, Heavenly Hawaiian Farms, Hawaiʻi Coffee Company, Royal Kona Visitors Center, Hawaiʻi Coffee Growers Association, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, Hawaiʻi Agricultural Research Center, Kauaʻi Coffee Company LLC, Daylight Mind Coffee Co., Maui Coffee Association and UCC-Hawaiʻi.
The Hawaiʻi Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaiʻi 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.