A natural-process, Gesha-variety coffee earned the highest-ever score at the 13th Hawaii statewide cupping competition, which was held in conjunction with last week’s Hawaii Coffee Association annual conference.
The coffee, which scored 87.45, according to Specialty Coffee Association evaluation standards, came from Geisha Kona Coffee farm in Kona. Each of the top three overall coffees were natural-process coffees that featured some form of controlled yeast fermentation, a strategy that is becoming increasingly popular among Hawaiian coffee growers seeking flavor differentiation in high-quality arabica coffees.
Arakawa Coffee and Tea Plantation of east Hawaii submitted the second-highest-scoring coffee, a blend of Typica and Caturra varieties that scored 87.30. The third place coffee, a Red Bourbon submitted by JN Farms of Ka’u scored 86.90.
“We encourage experimentation, testing new varieties and innovative processing methods because it is clear that growers who do this, and do it well, are rewarded with consistently elevated scores,” HCA Cupping Committee Chair and Pacific Coffee Research (PCR) Co-Owner Brittany Horn said in an announcement from the group this week. “As they say, rising tides raise all ships. So, my sincerest desire is the growers of these award-winning coffees share in their success by collaborating within our community and working together as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of the coffee value chain.”
In addition to overall winners, the HCA statewide competition also celebrates winners from each of the state’s main coffee-growing geographic districts. District winners included Maunawili Coffee (Oahu), Olinda Organic Farm (Maui), Hog Heaven Coffee (Hamakua) and Kauai Coffee Company (Kauai).
In addition to the coffee competition, the HCA event also featured the inaugural SigBev (signature beverage) competition, hosted by a new HCA committee focused on promoting Hawaii coffee connections in the the retail and hospitality sector called The Café Collective.
The competition, which required the use of locally produced coffees, was won by Mack McDonald of Kauai’s Outpost Coffee. Second place went to PCR’s Alakai Kapanui, while Janine Janke of YWAM Ships Kona captured third place.
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