Categorized | Agriculture, Featured, Food

Kainaliu Kona Coffee Co. is toast of the roast

The KCCF Classic winners. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Kanaliu Kona Coffee Company was named the top coffee Thursday at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival’s cupping competition.

Grown on the western slopes of Mauna Loa in the heart of Kona coffee’s growing region and in the shade of a higher elevation, Kainaliu Kona Coffee Co. produces a smooth mellow Kona coffee rich with body and flavor.

“This is a great day for all of us. Our farm family is quite large and we’ve all known each other for about forty years. It’s this long-standing relationship with each other that makes us a winner,” Randy Bohannon said.

Partners Bohannon and Richard Wicklander and Bohannon produce five estate labels including 100% Kona Coffee, Pele Dark Roast, Kona Princess, Kilohana Kona, Leilani Kona and Alana Kei Kona.

The cupping competition is a blind tasting and to be eligible, the coffee must have been harvested in Kona. Once it is accepted, the coffee is assigned a number to protect its anonymity.

As entries advanced to the final round of competition, assignment numbers were changed, keeping the judge’s palettes alert through the final round.

Trent Bateman is the cupping event’s master miller and roaster.

The cupping competition was judged by head judge Sherri Johns, founder of WholeCup Coffee Consulting; Tonoko Nagase, UCC Ueshima Coffee Company (Japan); Andrew Hetzel, founder of CafeMakers, a global coffee industry consultancy; and John King of Harold L. King and Co., one of the oldest and most respected coffee importing companies in the country.

“It was silky smooth. That was the most impressive part of this farm’s entry. The coffee entry had a bright tartness to it,” King said. “I had a good idea of the entry throughout the finals but the entries are all numbered when we cup so we do not know names. But I know I liked it the first round and I know I liked it the second round as well.”

After Wednesday’s preliminary cupping rounds that included 50 of Kona top crops, King said he was still waiting for one coffee to rise above the others.

“We’ve had some good coffees, but I’m waiting for one to really pop,” he said. “We’ve had snap and crackle, but not the pop yet. I’m sure something will pop in the final round.”

Fellow judge Hetzel said he was pleased to finally join in the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival’s marquee event, as he usually is traveling during November.

“There were some excellent coffees and a good variety,” he said. “The top 13 were picked for their balance, flavor and consistency. We were looking for that sweetness, the profile that traditionally is identified as Kona coffee.”

Hetzel said a year of drought conditions and the impact of the coffee berry borer beetle likely resulted in the greater variety of coffee quality and profiles.

“There were a few that were above the rest,” he said.

Brazen Hazen Kona Coffee, Castaway Bay Kona Coffee, Happy Trees Farm, Heavenly Hawaiian Farms, Kaiwi Farms, Kona Café LLC, Kona de Pele, Kona Mountain Coffee LLC, Kona Rising Coffee Company, Kowali Farm, Lehuula Farms LLC, Moki’s Farm, Nishina Farms and Yamagishi Farm were named finalists.

In the crown competition, Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee was the winner. Arianna Farms is a lush 40-acre farm on the original “Kona Coffee Belt” along the historic Mamalahoa Highway.

Second place was awarded to Hawaiian Queen Coffee Farm.

The annual cupping contest, considered the most prestigious for Kona coffee, was sponsored by WholeCup Coffee and UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee.

Gold sponsors included Hawaiian Isles Kona Coffee Co. and Mountain Thunder Premium 100% Kona Coffee.

The cupping competition was presented by Kamehameha Schools and Keauhou Resort and is a signature event of the 41st Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

The KCCF Crown winners. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Crown Competition Winners

2011 Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee

2009 Kona Coffee & Tea Company

2008 Kowali Farms

2007 Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee

Kona Coffee Cupping Hall of Fame

2011 Kainaliu Kona Coffee Company

2010 Buddha’s Cup

2009 Wolf Farms

2008 Hoshide Farms

2007 Kona Old Style/Kuahiwi Farm

2006 Pearl Estate Organics

2005 Rancho Aloha

2004 Lafayette Coffee

2003 Kona Coffee & Tea Company

2002 Koa Coffee Plantation

2001 Wood Captain Cook Estate

2000 The Other Farm

1999 Dragon Roast Coffee

1998 Brockston Gate Estate

1997 Terry Fitzgerald Estate

1996 Keokea Kona Farm

1995 Kona Kulana Farms

1994 Perry Estate Farms

1993 Keopu Mauka Lani Plantation

1992 Kona Kulana Farms

1991 Wailapa Farms

1990 Island Girl Coffee

1989 Wailapa Farms

1988 Faye Takashiba

1987 Tojiro Motokia

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