Hawaii’s statewide cupping competition is making a difference

If you’re reading this post, you probably already have seen the results of Hawai‘i’s second statewide cupping competition.  If not, the top 10 list can be found at the blog of Andrew Hetzel (Cafemakers), notable industry consultant, friend, and colleague.  Andrew, like others, has made note of the fact just how far down the list one must read before seeing a farm from the Kona region.  Since I feel that arena has been sufficiently covered, I’ll cover a different angle of the competition.

First, though, I want to thank the Hawaii Coffee Association for hosting the competition.  I also want to extend great thanks and appreciation to the 5 judges who slogged their way through 67 coffees.  The judges took time out of their schedules to not only do a preliminary round on the mainland but to be in Hawai‘i for nearly a week to complete several more rounds.  I know, there are worse places to have to work, still, these folks disrupted their lives for the sake of our industry.  Thank you to Shawn Hamilton (Java City Roasters), Paul Thornton (Coffee Bean International), Warren Muller (InterAmerican Coffee, Inc.), Jay Isais (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf), and Jesse Martinez-Beltran (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf).

While this statewide competition doesn’t have the breadth and scope of The Cup of Excellence, in its second year, it has already begun to garner worthy attention outside Hawai‘i.  The Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (who recently awarded the top scorer their Outstanding Producer of the Year Award), The Coffee Quality Institute (on their Facebook page), Sprudge.com, PT’s Coffee (a buyer of the winning Ka‘u coffee), and Chuggin McCoffee all mention the competition.  Locally, more media outlets covered the event than have probably covered any single coffee news story before.

It seems folks have finally taken note of this long-scorned origin.  High quality coffee (as defined by coffee geeks) can be found here.  Moreover, it’s improving.  Last year, the top ten coffees (using SCAA cupping protocols) ranged in score from 84.2 - 86.9.  This year, the range was 86.25 -91.1.  

There’s no better time to seek out fantastic Hawai‘i coffees.  There are many to be found, even if they are hard to find.  The more we support the farms whose coffee we admire, the more likely other farms will work hard to catch up.  In the end, there will be so many unique, excellent coffees produced in Hawai‘i, you’ll not need to drink coffee from anywhere else. 

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