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2023 Post-Conference Press Release

22 Jun 2023 7:25 AM | Anonymous

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From: Hawaii Coffee Association

Contact: HCA President Fred Cowell,

Photos/captions of cupping judging and winners:



HAWAII— Winners of the Hawaii Coffee Association’s 14th Annual Statewide Coffee Cupping Competition and the inaugural Latte Art Throwdown were announced during the 28th Hawaii Coffee Association Conference June 15-17  at the Kauai Beach Resort & Spa. 

Also on tap was a record number of interactive workshops and lectures with seminars covering everything from water sensory to roast theory. Activities included a field grafting workshop with a how-to session guiding growers for implementing varietal replacement along with panel discussions on Coffee Leaf Rust and Farm Profitability.

“The conference was a success and the overall mood was positive and upbeat, despite the challenges facing our industry,” notes HCA President Fred Cowell of Kauai Coffee Company. “We were especially pleased to see so many new faces from across our industry that represented a broader spectrum than just growers and processors.”

Headlining the program was a keynote by Certified Q Grader Marc Marquez of Savor Brands and the election of HCA’s Board of Directors. New to the event was a beverage cart serving espresso favorites for attendees.

“Our workshops, seminars, presentations and vendor displays were specifically relevant to the challenges facing our industry,” adds Cowell. “The teamwork of the organizers was evident from start to finish; many mahalos to everyone involved.”

Statewide Cupping Competition Results

Sixty-eight entries, down from 94 in 2022, vied in the 14th Statewide Hawaii Coffee Association Cupping Competition. Brittany Horn, HCA cupping committee chair and co-owner of Pacific Coffee Research (PCR), notes this year’s lower turnout  is likely due to increasing challenges during this past harvest season. 

“Growers are facing labor shortages, unpredictable weather and climate changes, plus increasing costs of inputs, lower yields and quality due to Coffee Leaf Rust and Berry Borer,” explains Horn. “Yet there were gems that shined bright in this competition.” 

The top-scoring coffee with 87 points was a Kona-grown parchment-dried (washed process without use of commercial yeast inoculants) Red Bourbon variety produced by Kopiko Farm. Miranda Farms, of the Ka’u District, entered a parchment-dried Gesha variety placing second with a score of 86.75.  Greenwell Farms of Kona earned a score of 86.35 with a fruit-dried (natural process) Gesha variety.

The top 10 highest scoring coffees were recognized and awards were also presented to the top coffees produced in Hawaii Department of Agriculture-recognized growing regions located throughout the islands. Top placing coffees by district included Kamaole Ranch of Maui, earning 84.60 with a Red Catuai variety. On Oahu, Maunawili Coffee’s Bourbon variety earned 83.50 while Hog Heaven Coffee’s Typica variety of Hamakua earned 81.70. 

“There is no doubt that challenges will be present in an ever-changing environment but growers who remain open, adaptable and curious, while sharing in each other’s successes, will provide the path forward for the Hawaii Coffee community,” emphasizes Horn. “I encourage all entrants to utilize the abundant resources that exist in Hawaii—our universities, our scientists, our professionals and each other— as we continue to navigate.”

Kona-based PCR organized the competition utilizing a judging panel composed of local licensed Q graders led by Madeleine Longoria Garcia, PCR co-owner. Other judges included Alaka'i Kapanui, head roaster at PCR; Marc Marquez, coffee director at Savor Brands; Eric Musil, equipment technician at PCR; and Alex Brooks, independent post-harvest processing consultant. Horn served as head competition facilitator and was assisted by Meg Duka and Elizabeth Pietras.

The panel employed the standard Specialty Coffee Association’s cupping methodology and scoring format. The precise and blind judging is a form of scientific sensory analysis 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.

Baristas Vie in Inaugural Throwdown Competition

The conference concluded with the Latte Art Throwdown and closing party at Collab Café where participants created beverages judged on creativity, taste and presentation by Tim Kilby of La Marzocco, Carl Wigren of Kona Bae Farm and Madeleine Longoria Garcia of PCR. Earning the top three awards in order were Daryl Fukunaga of Oahu, Kymmi Towey of Kauai and Kyla Villamor of Oahu.

“The Throwdown was off da hook with lots of knowledge bombs from the folks from LaMarzocco USA, Urnex and the Coffee Tech Guild,” says Ben Fitt of Collab Café.

New Board of Directors Named

The 2023-24 HCA Board of Directors features representation spanning a variety of businesses positioned throughout the coffee supply chain including growers, processors, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. They include Fred Cowell of Kauai Coffee Company, Tom Greenwell of Greenwell Farms, Abby Munoz of Monarch Coffee, Bill Dwyer of Kona Mountain Coffee, Chris Speere of the Maui Coffee Assoc., Juli Burden of the Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Kelleigh Stewart of Big Island Coffee Roasters, Dave Bateman of Heavenly Hawaiian Farms, Ryson Nakamasu of Honolulu Coffee Company, Kimo Falconer of Hawaii Coffee Growers Assoc., Suzanne Shriner of Kona Coffee Farmers Assoc., Ferrell Daste of Kona Hills, Gerard Bastiaanse of Hawaii Coffee Company, Donna Woolley of Island Sun and Alla Kostenko of A Coffee Fam.

Conference exhibitors included American AgCredit, Bendig, CenterScale, University of Hawaii CTAHR, Delta Technology Corp., FedEx, Gearmore, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Lind Insurance, NorthShore Creative Group, Nutrien Ag, Satake, Simplot, USDA NASS Hawaii Field Office, Veritiv Corp. and Weco. 

Major sponsors of the HCA Conference were Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Gowan, County of Kauai, Simplot, BadAss Coffee, Chris Manfredi, Kauai Coffee, Mahi Pono, Roast Magazine, Wecotek, American AgCredit, Big Island Coffee Roasters, FedEx, Honolulu Coffee, Ka‘u Coffee Mill, KTA, LaMarzocco, Matson, RCIS, Satake, Savor Brands, Flavor Waves, Kona Hills and Outpost Coffee. 

Complete results for the cupping competition are posted at Cupping Competition Winners.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii 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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Info to be included with distributed photos:
Rick Merker of Maunawili Coffee is the Oahu District winner of the HCA Statewide Cupping Competition. Photo by Mariah L. Standal, courtesy of Hawaii Coffee Association

Rob Lind of Kamaole Ranch is the Maui District winner of the HCA Statewide Cupping Competition. Photo by Mariah L. Standal, courtesy of Hawaii Coffee Association

Top HCA Statewide Cupping Competition finishers in the Hawaii Island Kau District are from left: Delvin Navarro, Navarro Farms; Leo Norberte, JN Farms; and Berta and Jose Miranda, Miranda Farms. Photo by Mariah L. Standal, courtesy of Hawaii Coffee Association

Top HCA Statewide Cupping Competition finishers in the Hawaii Island Kona District are from left: Tom Greenwell, Kopiko Farm; Susy Spradlin-Stille and Greg Stille, Monarch Coffee; and Ben Greenwell, Greenwell Farms. Photo by Mariah L. Standal, courtesy of Hawaii Coffee Association

Winners of the HCA Latte Art Throwdown on Kauai are from front left: Daryl Fukunaga, Kymmi Towey and Kyla Villamor. Judging the new competition were from back left: Tim Kilby of LaMarzocco, Carl Wigren of Kona Bae Farm, and Madeleine Longoria Garcia of PCR. Photo by Mariah L. Standal, courtesy of Hawaii Coffee Association

A panel of five licensed Q graders judged the HCA 14th Statewide Cupping Competition using the standard Specialty Coffee Association’s cupping methodology and scoring format. Photo by Mariah L. Standal, courtesy of Hawaii Coffee Association

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