July 1 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
A total of 70 entries were judged in HCA’s inaugural remote cupping event in late June with a Maui farm taking top honors. Results of the 12th Statewide Hawaii Coffee Association Cupping Competition were the first of its kind post or during Covid 19.The coffee beans from Hawaii is highly priced in the market and is the only state in the U.S. producing green coffee.
The top-scoring coffee was produced by Olinda Organic Coffee of Maui with a washed red Catuai variety receiving a score of 86.63. Awards were also presented to the top coffees produced in state Department of Agriculture-recognized growing regions located throughout the islands, and to the top 10 highest scoring coffees.
The highest scoring entries from participating growing districts were Hula Daddy Kona Coffee’s washed SL34 variety and the Ka‘u’s Miranda Farms with a natural red Catuai variety. Each of these coffees earned a tying score of 86.60.
Top honors in the Hawaii District was earned by Waimea Coffee Farm with a washed Guatemala Typica/Jamaican Blue Mountain hybrid earning 84.50. Sakoman Farm placed first in the Hamakua District with a washed Caturra variety posting 81.38 and Waialua Estate Coffee was the sole Oahu entry with a washed Typica earning 81.00.
“This year’s competition showcased a wide selection of varieties and processing methods with the highest scores we have seen in this competition yet,” noted Brittany Horn, HCA cupping committee chair. “Complex and unique entries from across the state are represented in the top scoring coffees and we also saw the tightest scores, making 2021 a very competitive competition for growers.”
Kona-based Pacific Coffee Research organized the competition utilizing a judging panel comprised of local licensed Q graders led by Brittany Horn and Madeleine Longoria Garcia, co-owners of PCR. Horn is an authorized Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) trainer in coffee sensory analysis, green coffee and sustainability. Longoria Garcia, who served as head judge for the HCA cupping, competed in the U.S. National Brewers Cup and educates local baristas and producers as a sensory specialist.
Judges included Marc Marquez of Savor Brands, Honolulu; Max Maemori, coffee consultant, Hilo; and David Hall of Small Kine Coffee Consulting, Maui. In addition to Horn, lab facilitators were Tyra Waipa of Savor Brands, Elijah Wright of Drift Coffee and Mayu Maemori.
To process cupping remotely, entries were cupped in three elimination rounds. Coffees advancing into the second and third rounds were organized into five “tables” or groups and shipped to cuppers for analysis in their own cupping labs. Judging at each location was performed simultaneously with deliberations among cuppers conducted via Zoom. Final scores for winning coffees were determined by the average scores from the semi-final and final rounds.
“Nothing beats evaluating coffee together in the same space, but utilizing video conference and screen sharing technology allowed the panel to effectively deliberate and communicate our scores and notes with each other,” Marquez said of the cupping format.
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 a variety of subtle characteristics: flavor, aroma, acidity, aftertaste, body, balance, overall cup experience, presence of sweetness, lack of defect and uniformity.
“This year’s entries were incredible as this competition represents the collective efforts of our local producers, scientists, researchers and professionals who continue to elevate the quality of coffee grown here in the State of Hawaii,” added Marquez. “Our coffee community should be very proud.”
Complete results for the cupping competition are posted at https://hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/Cupping-Competition. Watch videos of conference presentations at https://hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/page-1771716.
The cupping competition was held in conjunction with the association’s first virtual conference, June 24 and 25.
The program featured topics relating to COVID relief and the response to the introduction of coffee leaf rust in Hawaii, which the organization has initiated semi-weekly, multi-agency conference calls with various state and federal agencies and stakeholders.
Keynote speaker Emilio Lopez, a seventh-generation coffee farmer and the managing director of Odyssey Coffees, an agro-industrial organization based in El Salvador, shared his experience in a segment titled “Living with Coffee Leaf Rust” and stressed the importance of tree health and pruning techniques.