Festival Attracts Experts for Ka‘u Coffee College

May 2, 2018, 10:45 AM HST
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Leaders in the specialty coffee industry will present a host of educational opportunities for island coffee farmers at the annual Ka‘u Coffee College 9 a.m. till finished on Sunday, May 6, 2018, at the Pahala Community Center.

Courtesy photo

Part of the 10th annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival, the Ka’u Coffee College marks the anniversary by offering a new Shore 920 C moisture meter to a lucky college attendee.

The annual educational series has proven to be a place of learning, sharing and networking—featuring the coffee’s leading professionals from around the globe. A reverse trade mission, it brings industry experts to Ka‘u to interface with local growers and make valuable connections.

“This year’s college again stages notable coffee professionals to help farmers with their challenges,” notes long-time festival organizer Chris Manfredi. “These talks will certainly reinforce the exceptionally high quality for which Ka‘u coffee has become famous, but also ensure there is a steady supply of it. As we reach more markets, we need a solid supply of quality coffees to meet the increasing demand while ensuring growers remain profitable.”

The college opens with “Getting the Most Out of Your Coffee Moisture Meter,” a presentation by Fred Seeber of Shore Systems, a leading manufacturer of coffee moisture meters used throughout the world’s major coffee producing regions. Manfredi said Seeber’s talk “will go into great depth about how testers work and why they are important.” Attendees are invited to bring their testers to “class” and Seeber will check them for calibration.


“Pruning Techniques to Maximize Yields” is offered by UH’s Andrea Kawabata and Tom Greenwell, president and long-time coffee farmer of Greenwell Farms.  Based in Kona, Kawabata is an assistant extension agent for coffee and orchard crops with UH’s CTAHR cooperative extension service. This second segment explains how proper pruning can promote tree health, which improves yield efficiency, profit margins, coffee quality and sustainability for growers.


Quality control in roasting will be explored in a workshop by Brian Webb of Pacific Coffee Research. Located in South Kona, PCB is a specialty coffee association training campus, coffee lab, roastery and community education center. With experience as both a barista and Kona roaster, Webb will discuss the importance of profile roasting. He will do an on-site, sample roasting and then demonstrate data logging software to keep detailed records for future analysis.

Admission to the Ka‘u Coffee College is free, though donations are appreciated.

The Ka‘u Coffee Festival is underway and all activities are open to the general public; some require a fee. Find details at Call 808-929-9550 or visit


Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

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