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