Coffee producers from throughout the state of Hawaii found cause to celebrate last week with the presentation of awards from the Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) annual cupping competition.
While this was the 12th statewide HCA cupping competition, it was the first time the competition was held through remote judging, as necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the 70 coffees judged in the quality competition, a washed red Catuai variety from Olinda Organic Farm in Maui scored the highest overall, at 86.63. Two different lots — one a washed SL34 from Hula Daddy Kona Coffee and a natural red Catuai from Miranda’s Farms in Ka’u — followed just behind at 86.60.
The competition is sponsored by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, with awards presented to the top winners in each of six districts, including Maui (Olinda Organic), Kona (Hula Daddy), Ka’u (Miranda’s), Hawai’i (Waimea Coffee Farm), Hamakua (Sakoman Farm), and Oahu (Waialua Estate).
“This year’s competition showcased a wide selection of varieties and processing methods with the highest scores we have seen in this competition yet,” HCA Cupping Committe Chair Brittany Horn said in an HCA announcement of the results. “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.”
Coffees were cupped in three elimination rounds with remote collaboration made possible through online video. Kona-based Pacific Coffee Research organized the event, involving a panel of Q Graders led by Horn and PCR Co-Owner Madeleine Longoria Garcia. Scoring and protocols followed Specialty Coffee Association standards.