Monday, April 29, 2013

A New Queen & Court, Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant 2013

Miss Ka'u Coffee 2013 Tiare-Lee Shibuya (left), stands with the former Miss Peaberry Rebecca Lynn Kailiawa-Escobar (middle) and her Tiare's sister, the former Miss Ka'u Coffee, Brandy Shibuya. Photos by Geneveve Fyvie
Tiare-Lee Shibuya, daughter of police officer Dane and Terry-Lee Shibuya, of Wai'ohinu, became Miss Ka'u Coffee Friday night, April 26,  during the pageant that kicked off ten days of Ka'u Coffee Festival events. Tiare-Lee is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, attends Hawai'i Community College and plans to be a nurse. Her talent was hula. She won a $1,000 scholarship presented by the Edmund C. Olson Trust II.

First Princess
Seneca Lee Oleyte.
First Princess is Seneca Lee Oleyte, of Pahala. She is 22 and the daughter of Ernest and Lenora Lorenzo-Oleyte. She attends University of Hawai'i in Hilo and studies communications. She is a graduate of Ka'u High School. Her talent was singing. She won a $500 scholarship presented by Ka'u Coffee Festival chair Chis Manfredi.

Second Princess
Rachel Ornelas.
Second Princess is Rachel Ornelas, of Wai'ohinu. She is the daughter of Mia Ornelas and resides with her grandparents, Mario and Memmy Ornelas. She is 19, graduated from Ka'u High School and attends University of Hawai'i at Hilo, studying to be a nurse. Her talent was singing. She won a $400 scholarship presented on behalf of Sen. Russell Ruderman donating $250 and Rep. Richard Onishi donating $150.

Third Princess
Kawailani Houvener.
Third Princess is Kawailani Houvener, of Ocean View. She is 17 and the daughter of Michelle and Kenneth Houvener. She is a senior at Ka'u High School and plans to sign up for the Army and study mechanics. Her talent was hula. She won a $300 scholarship with Punalu'u Bake Shop donating $250 and Miss Bobby Tucker donating $50.

The Talent and Gown categories were won by Shibuya. Ornelas took home the Education scholarship, and Houvener took home the Miss Photogenic prize.

The reigning Miss Peaberry, Rebecca Lynn Kailiawa-Escobar, wowed the crowd with a dance, a speech and gown presentation. The reigning Miss Ka'u Coffee performed a beautiful hula dance and welcomed her sister as her successor.

From left: Second Princess Rachel Ornelas, Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee
Shibuya, former Miss Ka'u Coffee Brandy Shibuya, former Miss Peaberry
Rebecca Lynn Kailawa-Escobar, Emcees Bobby and Phoebe Gomes, First
Princess Seneca Lee Oleyte, and Third Princess Kawailani Houvener.
Emcees Bobby and Phoebe Gomes entertained, with Phoebe singing and playing 'ukulele. Before announcing the judges’ decisions, Bobby said about the candidates, “They are all winners.” 

The queen and her court will attend many festival events through May 5. Events this week include a hike in the mountains along the old plantation water system on Wednesday, visiting Aikane Plantation Coffee farm and stargazing at Makanau on Friday, and the day-long ho'olaule'a at Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. See our website,, for more.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ka'u Coffee Places Top 10 Worldwide Yet Again, SCAA 2013

After placing in the top ten in the Roasters Guild competition, Miguel Meza and Joan Obra get the
interview by a German television crew who recently filmed Ka`u Coffee farms. Photo by Julia Neal
Ka'u Coffee roasters who returned victoriously from Boston this Monday with two awards, showing regional excellence for Ka'u Coffee, will offer free coffee tastings at the Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 4. Both Rusty’s Hawaiian 100 Percent Ka'u Coffee and Ka'u Coffee Mill placed in the top ten worldwide in the coveted Roasters Choice awards for 2013. The competition is sponsored by the Roasters Guild, which is the trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The SCAA considers itself the world’s coffee knowledge leader and largest coffee trade association. The competition was held at the Boston Convention Center last weekend.

Rusty's Hawaiian representatives in Boston,
 Joan Obra and Miguel Meza.
Photo by Julia Neal
The top 10 coffees were showcased with two mornings of tasting at the Brew Bar in the convention center on Saturday and Sunday. Winning coffees were three from Colombia, two from Ka'u and one each from El Salvador, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ecuador.

The tasting notes described Rusty’s Hawaiian as having “crisp acidity, sweet, bright, fruit flavor. This gives a caramel and molasses note that is a very clean cup.” According to the roast philosophy, “We prefer to roast lighter to maximize the sweetness and aroma of the coffee.” Rusty's Hawaiian is a multiple SCAA top 10 award winner.

Ka'u Coffee Mill team at Boston from left:
Ka'u Coffee Mill founder Edmund C. Olson,
coffee grower Sammie Stanbro,
Ka'u Coffee Mill general manager John Cross,
chief roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele,
harvest manager Lou Daniele,
The Ka'u Calendar publisher Julia Neal
and interns William Neal and Lee Neal.
Front and center is multiple SCAA Coffees of the Year
 top 10 worldwide winner Bull Kailiawa.
Chief roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui -Daniele represented Ka'u Coffee Mill at the event and said the top 10 entry was a collaboration with chief roaster Lee Segawa. Daniele said the win confirms that Ka'u has incredible coffee and that the mill, which was built by Edmund C. Olson to help farmers save time and distance for processing their coffee, is also gaining a reputation as a fine roaster.

The tasting notes for the competition described the Ka'u Coffee Mill entry as coming from typica beans. The notes call it "rich in flavor with piquant acidity and intriguing hints of sweetness and spice. Citrus and jasmine aroma. Fresh butter undertones, hints of lime, currant, bergamot and a long spiced finish.” The roast philosophy reported by Ka'u Coffee Mill is: “Delicate Hawaiian coffees are required to be lightly roasted to enhance their exquisite taste profiles. Therefore, our preference is to roast at the lower end of the roast spectrum to ensure our customers taste our crop in each cup!”

Rusy's Hawaiian rep. Ralph Gaston, The Ka'u Calendar
publisher Julia Neal, Ashley Manfredi, and
Ka'u Coffee Festival Committee Chair and Ka'u Farm
Bureau President Chris Manfredi. 
Also attending the SCAA convention for the fourth year was Bull Kailiawa. His coffee is a multiple winner of SCAA awards.

Also in attendance was the Ka'u Coffee Festival Committee Chair Chris Manfredi, Ka'u Farm Bureau president and land manager for property where Rusty's Hawaiian and many other Ka'u Coffees are grown. Manfredi is the person who first encouraged Ka'u Coffee growers to submit their coffees to the SCAA competition more than five years ago.

Pete Licata with Lorie Obra, of Rusty's
Hawaiian Coffee, at Ka'u Coffee Festival.
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
Pete Licata, who spends time in Ka'u and chose Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee for previous competitions around the world, took first place in the 2013 United States Barista Championship held over the weekend in Boston. Competitors showed off their skills in making four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks of their own creation – all within 15 minutes. Licata will represent the U.S. at the World Barista Championship in Melbourne, Australia May 23 – 26. Licata won the U.S. Barista’s Championship in 2011 with Rusty’s Hawaiian and was accompanied by Miguel Meza, of Rusty’s Hawaiian, for the world championships in Bogota, Colombia. Licata has also led the Ka'u Coffee Experience at the annual Ka'u Coffee Festival.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Miss Ka'u Coffee Contestants Float Through the Merrie Monarch Parade

Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative and Olson Trust provided the float for the Miss Ka'u Coffee contenders in the Merrie Monarch Parade on April 6 in Hilo. Photo by Julia Neal

Seneca Lee Oleyte.
Photo by Chris Manfredi
Kawailani Houvener.
Photo by Chris Manfredi
The Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative put together a float on a Ka'u Coffee Mill truck decorated with McCall’s flowers, branches of red coffee cherries and other foliage. The four 2013 Miss Ka'u Coffee contestants, Kawailani Houvener, Seneca Lee Oleyte, Rachel Ornelas and Tiare-Lee Shibuya, represented the coffee industry in Ka'u along with Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative president and past-president, Gloria Camba and Lorie Obra. Also on the float were pageant artistic director Nalani Parlin and award-winning Ka'u Coffee farmer Willie Tabios. Assisting with the float were Efren Abellera and his daughters, Layla, Elisa and Erica, Bong Aquino and driver Leonardo Castaneda and his wife Jackie.

The Merrie Monarch Parade was the first official outing for the four contestants.

Tiare-Lee Shibuya.
Photo by Chris Manfredi
Rachel Ornelas.
Photo by Chris Manfredi
On Friday, April 26, the contestants compete to become the reigning queen of the Ka'u Coffee Festival. As official representatives of the Ka'u Coffee industry, the new queen and her court (three princesses) will attend several of the Ka'u Coffee Festival events over the following week - see for more on these events.

The contestants for Miss Ka‘u Coffee will be judged in three categories: Gown, Talent and Interview.

Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant 2013 will begin 6:30 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill on Friday, April 26. (Doors open at 6 p.m.) Advance tickets are $10; buy them from contestants or from pageant chair Gloria Camba at 928-8558.

Photo by Julia Neal