Categorized | Agriculture

HCA crowns grand champion at annual conference


The Hawaii Coffee Association crowned its third Grand Champion of Hawaiian Coffee at its 16th Annual Conference and Trade Show at the Hilton Waikoloa Village located on Kona’s Gold Coast. The HCA joined with Coffee Fest, a national coffee industry trade show, to co-host the three-day event.

Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee received top honors for the second consecutive year in the competition between coffees entered from each growing origin in Hawaii.

Lori Obra with the newest Rusty's Hawaiian 100% Ka‘u Coffee award. (Photo courtesy of Ralph Gastons)

The coffees were ‘cupped’ and scored from a pool of 58 premium Hawaiian coffees from eight districts by a panel of six notable coffee industry professionals using standardized blind procedures.

Awards were given to the top three entries from each origin as well as the Grand Champion award.

Lorie Obra of Rusty’s Hawaiian accepted the coveted HCA award presented by witty commentator and keynote speaker Howard Dicus. Obra passionately expressed simultaneous joy and sorrow adding that she was emotionally torn between sadness and elation because her late husband and farm namesake, Rusty, could not share the award while expressing joy over realizing his dream.

“This is for my late husband, our farm, the Ka‘u district, the HCA and all Hawaii coffees from across the state,” Obra said.

The expanded cupping panel included Shawn Hamilton of Java City Roasters, Warren Muller of Inter American Coffee, Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International, Lindsey Bolger of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Jay Isais and Jesse Martinez of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Four of the six are licensed coffee graders. None are based in Hawaii to help ensure impartiality.

“The cup quality and diversity has improved every year,” said chief judge Hamilton. “We’re experiencing flavors that would never have been associated with Hawaiian coffee in years past. Everyone is upping their game.”

HCA members re-elected Tom Greenwell as president at their annual member meeting. The conference also featured an industry trade show, guest speakers, growers’ reports, diverse educational seminars, a hands-on cupping workshop and a latte art competition.

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.

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 at…

Cupping Results

Rusty’s Hawaiian

1. Hawaii White Mountain LLC

1. Hilo Coffee Mill
2. Makana Gardens
3. Manny’s Brew Coffee Co

1. Moloaa Bay Coffee
2. Kauai Coffee Company

1. Rusty’s Hawaiian
2. JN Coffee Farm
3. Alii Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee

1. Greenwell Farms
2. Hawaiian Queen Coffee
3. Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee

1. Shim Coffee & Protea Farm
2. Keokea Farms
3. Punawai Farms

1. Coffees of Hawaii

1. Waialua Estate Coffee
2. Pavaraga – HARC

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