Kona’s Greenwell Farms Earns HCA Cupping Championship

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(L–R) Grand Champion Tom and Jennifer Greenwell, PCR’s Brittany Horn and Lead Judge Ian Fretheim, July 2019. PC: HCA

Coffee industry professionals from across the state and from around the globe assembled for
the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 24th Annual Conference, 11 th Annual Statewide Cupping
Competition and 2nd Hawaii CoffeeChamps Competition on July 27 and 28, 2019, at the Ala Moana Hotel on O‘ahu.

A robust program featured presentations and workshops addressing growing, processing, roasting, cupping, brewing and marketing Hawaiian coffee.

Other topics included an examination of new technologies and their application to thwart counterfeiting of Hawaiian coffee.

The program also included updates from state and federal agencies, researchers, regulators, as well as a vibrant industry trade show.

Offsite activities included a tour to Hawaii Agricultural Research Center and a roasting workshop at Honolulu Coffee Company’s Experience Center.


The keynote speaker was Specialty Coffee Association’s former executive director and industry leader Ric Rhinehart.

In the cupping competition, 93 entries from growing districts located across the state competed for top honors. The top-scoring coffee was produced by Greenwell Farms in Kona with a washed Geisha variety receiving a score of 85.28.

Awards were presented to the top coffees produced in growing regions located throughout the islands, and to the top 10 highest scoring coffees.

The highest scoring entries from participating origins include the Ka‘ū District’s Miranda Farms natural process yellow Caturra, Olinda Organic’s washed Red Catuai from Maui, Kauai Coffee Co. pulped natural yellow Catuai and Waialua Estate’s Natural Typica from O‘ahu.

Top honors in the Hawai‘i District went to Kapakauaokeola Farm’s pulped natural, and hails from Puna.


Kona-based Pacific Coffee Research organized this year’s competition utilizing a judging panel comprised of local licensed Q graders led by Ian Fretheim, director of Sensory Analysis for Cafe Imports in Minneapolis. The panel employed the standard Specialty Coffee Association’s cupping methodology and scoring format.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including flavor, aroma, ‘mouth-feel’, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Cupping Committee Chair Brian Webb said, “It was a great pleasure to work with our panel of judges and the many farms who submitted coffees to this year’s competition. After months of cataloging, roasting, and evaluating these coffees we were excited to see such diversity of variety, processing methods and growing regions in the top 10. The ability of Hawai‘i farmers to produce truly great coffee was well represented by the range of flavors and the overall excellent quality of this year’s field of entries.”

HCA membership gathered to elect their new board and officers. The HCA’s returning president is Chris Manfredi with Tom Greenwell as vice president; Donna Wooley, treasurer; and Brittany Horn, secretary.

The HCA Board of Directors features representation spanning a variety of businesses and organizations within the coffee industry including Hawaii Coffee Growers Association, The Curb Kaimuki, Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee, Ka‘u Coffee Mill, Kauai Coffee Company LLC, Honolulu Coffee Company, Hawaii Ag Research Center, Maui Coffee Association and Maui Oma Coffee Company. New board members include Kona’s Monarch Coffee and the Kona Coffee Farmers Association (KCFA).


HCA President Chris Manfredi said, “It’s great to see diversity on our board and a new generation of coffee enthusiasts entering the industry. The combination of experienced leaders and enthusiastic young professionals bodes well for the future and strength of our industry. We are thrilled with the success of our conference; nearly doubling our attendance from last year. O‘ahu proved to be a great location for our event. I’m pleased that our thought-provoking topics and discussions will help us chart a path forward.”

The HCA was the proud host of the Hawai’i CoffeeChampionships Prelim Competitions, the second year Hawai’i has been chosen as a host for the preliminary competitions, which kicks off the national 2019-20 competition season of the US CoffeeChamps (USCC).

HCA hosted two competitions—Brewers Cup and Barista—with 19 competitor slots, filled by competitors from all four major islands. From these 19, a total of 10 local baristas have secured their spot to participate in the Qualifier Competitions located on the mainland this winter. USCC has not yet released dates or locations of the Qualifier Competitions.

These local Prelim Competition events are the first step toward the SCA National CoffeeChamps and, ultimately, the World Coffee Competitions. They serve as an introduction to the competition’s circuit of the coffee industry, encouraging participation from first-time competitors, and creating greater accessibility and levels of comfort with a more casual environment for competitors. Over the course of two days, competitors brewed various coffee beverages for a panel of judges who evaluated their presentation, customer service, technical skills, the accuracy of their given tasting notes with the added requirement to stay within a given competition time limit.

The Prelim panel of judges was comprised of 14 coffee professionals from the Hawaiian Islands and mainland who went through an intensive full-day calibration before the competitions and daily calibration exercises each morning.

Hawaii CoffeeChamps organizer Madeleine Longoria-Garcia noted, “This event was made possible by the extensive efforts of our volunteer planning committee and the incredible support from our sponsors in the local and national coffee community. We are excited to see so many Hawai‘i coffee professionals taking the first step toward the national stage in 2020.”

Rankings for those who have a secured competition slot in the upcoming US Qualifier Competitions:

2019 Hawaii CoffeeChamps

Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition Rankings

1. Marina Chann – Honolulu Coffee Co, Honolulu
2. Thomas Keisling – Honolulu Coffee Co, Honolulu
3. Ben Fitt – Holey Grail Donuts, Kapa’a
4. Gillian Perdido – Independent, Honolulu

Barista Preliminary Competition Rankings

1. Kyla Villamor – Honolulu Coffee Co, Honolulu
2. Jonny Kimbro – The Curb Kaimuki, Honolulu
3. Philip-Andrew Yuen – Honolulu Coffee Co, Honolulu
4. Gillian Perdido – Independent, Honolulu
5. Jeremy Pyrc – YWAM Ships Kona, Kailua-Kona
6. Elijah Wright – Hawaiian Village Coffee, Kahana

Complete results for all competitions are posted at

About the Hawaii Coffee Association

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawai‘i coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees. A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing
education of members and consumers. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention. Learn more about the HCA at

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