Lifestyle

Kona Coffee Cupping Competition Winners

November 14, 2015, 3:54 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 11:46 AM
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Aikane Kona Coffee and Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee were named Cupping Competition winners as part of the 45th Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

Kona Class winner Aikane Kona Coffee took the crown for single estate farms, while the division title for larger farms, the Kona Crown, went to Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee, a four time winner in the competition.

The Kona Coffee Cupping Competition spanned two days and included the evaluation of seventy single-estate farms and larger farm entries. Each brew was evaluated through blind tasting with an exacting sniff, slurp, and taste test.

Entrants from single-estate farms are classified under the Kona Classic Division. The Kona Crown Division includes larger farms and professional processing mills, including brands that sell Kona coffee around the world. Rules are the same across the divisions.

In order to participate in the competition, all coffee entered were required to be 100% Kona coffee, grown solely in the Kona district. Law in the State of Hawai’i requires that coffee labeled as “Kona coffee” must be prime grade or higher.

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Judges sought out the best flavor profiles, known in Hawai’i as Kona characteristics, which include aroma, body, flavor, acidity, sweetness, and aftertaste.

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Select judges, including industry leaders, made up the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition panel, and included: Yasuaki Kimura, representing UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. Ltd.; Miguel Meza, founder of Isla Custom Coffees; Kyle Evans, head roaster for Honolulu Coffee Company; and Sam Shank, Hawai’i Coffee Company.

“This year, we have more variety with some of the taste profiles we are experiencing. It’s been pretty exciting, especially for some of the judges who don’t get to cup a lot of Kona coffees all the time. They are surprised by the diversity of taste that they get here in Kona,” said Meza. “There’s a variety of altitudes and practices that all lead to very different possibilities of taste.”

Aikane Kona Coffee is a small Kona coffee farm located in Holualoa. The farm harvests and processes its own estate coffee.

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Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee is a 50-acre farm that stretches across the slopes of Hualalai along Mamalahoa Highway and is named after the farm owner’s daughter, Arianna.

“Congratulations to the winners of this year’s competition. We’re honored to co-sponsor the Cupping Competition with the Ueshima Coffee Company, as the event promotes Hawai’i’s coffee industry and the many small farming operations on Kamehameha’s lands. This event brings together the best tasting coffees of Hawai‘i into one place and allows communities, supporting organizations, and families to engage and enjoy,” said Jamee Miller, Kamehameha Schools West Hawai’i Director of Education Initiatives.

The Kona Coffee Cupping Competition is sponsored by UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. Ltd. and Kamehameha Schools.   Nearly 70% of Hawai’i’s coffee is grown on Kamehameha Schools lands.

Below is the Kona Coffee Cupping Hall of Fame:

Kona Crown Division Winners

2014    Hawaiian Queen Coffee

2013    Hawaiian Queen Coffee

2012    Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee

2011    Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee

2009    Kona Coffee & Tea Company

2008    Kowali Farms

2007    Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee

Kona Classic Division Winners

2014    Hula Daddy Kona Coffee

2013    Mountain Thunder

2012    Kona RainForest Farm

2011    Kainaliu Kona Coffee Company*

2010    Buddha’s Cup*

2009    Wolf Farms*

2008    Hoshide Farms

2007    Kona Old Style/Kuaiwi 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 Motoki

*Kona coffee farms on Kamehameha Schools lands.

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