KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Coffee professionals from across Hawaii were given a state-of-the-industry report during the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 21st Annual Conference in Kona.
Andrea Kawabata, an agent with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Kona Extension Office, detailed the latest information on crop yields and industry challenges in her Coffee Growers Report presentation.
According to the USDA/HDOA, in 2015-2016 34.7 million pounds of “utilized cherry production” were produced on 6,900 acres (and 950 farms according to a 2013-2014 count) across the Hawaiian Islands. The value was calculated at $54.2 million, which was about 14% less than in 2014-2015.
This past year, growing conditions were dominated by the El Nino weather pattern, which brought drought – and at times, short periods of torrential rain – that had an affect on coffee harvests. In addition, the constant battle against CBB – the invasive Coffee Berry Borer – has taken its toll.
The conference included various speakers, farm tours, and the 8th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition. “Competing in the Creative division,” the Hawaii Coffee Association reported, “the top-scoring coffee was produced by Greenwell Farms with their Pacamara varietal with a score of 84.8. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was a Margogype variety produced by Aloha Hills Kona Coffee LLC with a score of 83.4. The highest scoring entries from other participating Hawaiian coffee origins also earned honors including Hawaii District’s Second Alarm Farm (84.2), Maui’s Olinda Farms (84.3), Ka’u District’s The Rising Sun (84.2), and Kauai’s Moloa’a Bay Coffee (83.1).”
Hawaii Coffee Association members also elected a new board and officers. The new president is Chris Manfredi (Ka’u Farm & Ranch Co., LLC), vice president is Ralph Gaston (Isla Custom Coffees), treasurer is Adrian Guillen (Hawaiian Queen Coffee) and secretary is Gloria Biven (Royal Kona Visitor Center Mill & Museum).
Incoming President Manfredi said in a media release, “I’m humbled and honored by the vote of confidence made by the members. I hope to fulfill their expectations by working hard to strengthen our industry and, by extension, the businesses, employees and families that depend on high quality Hawaiian coffees.”
Representatives say 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.