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Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
16 November 2010

Judging The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is a week long event here in Kona.  It takes place in early November.  That is a great timing for visitors because it is right in the middle of the Kona coffee harvest season.  This is not a particularly good time for farmers because it is right in the middle of the Kona coffee harvest season.  With so much harvest work to do, it's difficult to find time for the festival too.

One of the things I do for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is organize coffee farm tours.  This year we visited a total of seven different farms.  We saw everything from small organic farms with a couple acres up to large mills with thousands of trees.

The tours have several visitors that come back every year.  That means I have to find new farms every year.  With 600 or more Kona coffee farms in the area it would seem easy but it's more difficult than it sounds.  The biggest problem is that most farms don't have good enough access for a tour bus.  Last year one of the buses got stuck and I'd like to avoid repeating that fiasco.

The farms we visited this year were all beautiful and everybody loved the tours.  I wish I had taken pictures but I was too busy talking about Kona coffee.  Maybe next year I'll put my own farm on the tour and make my kids take pictures while the tour is here.

The tours took a lot of my time but they weren't the big event of the festival.  The highlight, at least for us Kona coffee farmers, is the Gevalia Cupping Competition.  It's a big deal with judges from all over the world.

This year there were 60 farms entered.  With such fierce competition, many farmers will hand sort a special batch of beans.  They spend extra time picking only the ripest cherries and pulling out all the defects by hand.  I don't have that kind of time.  Instead, I simply submitted the bag that was easiest to reach.

Ribbon2010 My strategy worked!  Kona Earth placed as finalist in the Gevalia Cupping Competition for the second time.  We were a finalist in 2008 and again now in 2010.

It's too bad we didn't get first place but I'm not upset.  Nearly all the coffees entered were exceptional.  With that kind of competition, it's very difficult to get first place.  Only the top 15 make the finals so it's still quite an achievement.  I'm confident that as long as we keep entering, Kona Earth coffee is good enough that we will eventually win first place.

When we do win first place, that will probably be a great excuse to raise our prices.  Until then, you can get a Gevalia Cupping Competition Finalist for the same low price that we've always had.  Order four pounds or more and we'll even give you free shipping.

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