Local Competitor Advances to US Brewers Cup Nationals
Kona resident Madeleine Longoria Garcia took fifth place out of 36 competitors using a Kona coffee at the December 2018 United States Brewers Cup Qualifying round in Denver, Colorado. The USBrC is an exciting competition that highlights and celebrates the art of manual brewing.
Garcia—a professional barista, Q-grader and cupping contest judge—is advancing to the national round this coming March in Kansas City as a strong representative of Hawai‘i coffee.
The road to nationals began last summer. In August, the Hawai‘i Coffee Association (HCA) sponsored Pacific Coffee Research in hosting Hawai‘i’s inaugural U.S. Coffee Champs Brewer’s Cup Preliminaries at Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center in Kunia, O‘ahu. Attendees included baristas from across the islands who went head-to-head brewing two compulsory Kona coffees: Half Mile Hi and Hala Tree coffee farms.
Over the two-day competition, Garcia took second place overall, landing a spot in the qualifier round. Danielle and Jean Orlowski, owners of Hala Tree coffee farm, sponsored Garcia. Over the following months, Garcia worked closely with the couple during harvest season to select varieties to use in the competition. With the help of her coach, Brian Webb of Pacific Coffee Research, the team developed a blend and roast profile using a parchment-dried (washed) Bourbon and fruit-dried (natural) Kona Typica.
“Madeleine’s performance at the two qualifiers was seamless,” notes Brittany Horn of Pacific Coffee Research. “She is a professional, confident and proud representative of the Hawai`i coffee industry.”
During Garcia’s presentation, she talked about the burgeoning specialty coffee industry in Hawai‘i and improvements in coffee quality, which she has experienced in the five years she has lived in Kona. She also talked about the opportunity for education from seed to cup on the islands and Hawai‘i’s the unique position as a leader in scientific research for the larger specialty coffee industry.
“The HCA is thrilled that local a local barista is excelling in this important competition using locally sourced coffee,” said HCA President Chris Manfredi. “It really highlights the unique combination of people and place that makes the Hawaiian coffee culture so special. We’re cheering for Madeline and will be looking for her in the finals. ”