Monday 03 October 2022

TOP ORIGINS – Puna Coffee crowned Hawaii’s Champion in 2013

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Hawaii – Two champions were crowned during the Hawai’i Coffee Association’s (HCA) 18th Annual Conference and 5th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition at the Kauai Beach Resort on Saturday, July 20th.


Big Island Coffee Roasters’ Puna coffee earned the top score of 86.939, while second place Mountain Thunder of Kona earned 85.51. “What’s great about this is that it demonstrates the potential for amazing coffee quality outside of the famed Kona and Ka’u regions,” says Brandon Damitz of Big Island Coffee Roasters.

In the ever-changing, ever-improving world of specialty coffee, this is good news for Hawai’i. Kona is a Hawaiian classic, a household name. Ka’u is the young champion winning state, national and international acclaim over the past few years. Kona and Ka’u will always be sought-after coffees

But coffee aficionados, much like wine enthusiasts, are constantly on the hunt for new flavors. And coffee’s characteristics, like wine, vary depending on terrain, varietals, cultivation techniques and processing methods. New regions mean new coffees.

As Kelleigh Stewart of Big Island Coffee Roasters states,“The hope is to develop a diversity of premium Hawaiian coffees, create a stronger industry, and support our local economy by showing farmers that it’s possible to grow great coffees throughout Hawaii.”

The 99 coffees entered into the competition represented eight districts across the state. Four districts scored in the overall top ten. R. Miguel Meza, founder of Isla Custom Coffees, attended the conference and says with enthusiasm,“I’m very excited to see new regions represented up top.”

Not only is diversity blossoming for Hawaii’s coffee industry but the quality is improving across the board as well. The Specialty Coffee Association of America defines “specialty coffee” as a coffee that has a cupping score of 80 or greater.

David Gridley, chair of the HCA cupping competition, reports that scores are going up over the years. In this year’s competition, nearly 80% of the entries achieved scores 80 and above.

“At our first cupping five years ago, we had 55 to 60 percent of entries scoring 80 or more,” reflects Gridley. The Hawai’i brand is strong and, with constant improvement and innovation, the outlook for its coffee economy looks very promising.

Senator Russell Ruderman, representing Ka’u and Puna districts, will present Big Island Coffee Roasters with a Senate Certificate for their work in developing Puna’s coffee industry. “After the huge success of Ka’u coffee, I believe Puna coffee is the next big thing.”

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