Monday, May 4, 2015

Keeping Quality High

Dr. Andrew Hetzel explained the importance of reducing the defects of coffee going to market, from husks in green beans to chipped, dried out and unripened beans. He said coffee enthusiasts are becoming more sophisticated in their ability to taste specialty coffee. Photos by Julia Neal
Statewide Hawai'i Farm Bureau President and Ka'u Coffee Festival organizer Chris Manfredi along with coffee experts speaking at the 2015 Ka'u Coffee College, Sunday (May 3) morning, urged coffee farmers to keep the quality of Ka'u coffee high.

Dr. Andrew Hetzel talked about many defects that can degrade coffee beans. He talked about sour beans, withered beans, immature, broken and chipped beans all being detriments to holding onto a reputation for specialty coffee. Defects can come from farming, harvesting, processing, transportation and storage methods. All of these have to be handled with the utmost care to keep coffee reputation and prices high, he said. He encouraged farmers to frequently cup their own coffee and those of other farmers and coffees from around the world and to learn to detect defects and how to prevent them.

Andrea Kawabata encouraged farmers to methodically
manage CBB to save Ka'u's excellent reputation.
Andrea Kawabata, from University of Hawai'i, also encouraged high quality. “Once you have tarnished your reputation, it is hard to get it back,” she said. She urged farmers to look toward long-term rather than short-term profit. She said that coffee berry borer treatments have to be planned carefully. “If CBB subsidies (funding) [don’t] come in, spray anyway,” she urged. Farmers were told to save the receipts for possible reimbursement.

Andy Newbom, a coffee buyer from San Diego, talked about tough competition in pricing, with excellent coffee coming from countries where there is cheaper land and less expensive labor than in Hawai'i. He said this makes it all the more important for Ka'u to preserve the highest of standards and to share the farmers’ stories that connect with coffee drinkers and also to distinguish Ka'u from Kona coffee. He shared his saying, “Never give customers what they want. Only give them what you do best.” He said it is not reasonable to think that a coffee business can be sustained by riding on the fame of Hawai'i as a visitor destination. “You have had it easy,” he said.

Chris Manfredi (left) urged farmers to keep up quality. Andy
 Newbom (right) spoke of tough competition in coffee pricing. 
David Waldman of Rojo’s Roastery in Princeton and Lambertville, N.J. talked about increased sophistication of coffee buyers in the high end market. “There is no fooling people anymore about quality of coffee. They will pay high prices for high quality.” He said that ten years ago people didn’t want the citrus flavors of lighter roasts, but now they want to experience these specific qualities. He said that people are using less milk with coffee, showing they want to taste it. He said customers will pay $5 for a pour-over, but the coffee has to be excellent. He urged farmers to allow buyers to visit with them, see the farms, the soil, the trees and to sit with them to cup coffee and be open to suggestions. 

Chris encouraged farmers to keep up with treatments for Coffee Berry Boerer. “Don’t wait. The bugs don’t know that the grant is coming.” He suggested strip-picking at the end of the season and to spray early. He also talked high prices. “For us to sell Ka'u, we need the quality.”

Farmers were urged to become involved with the Hawai'i Coffee Association’s annual convention this summer. See

To learn more about the Ka'u Coffee Festival events visit our website at

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Celebration In It's 7th Year: 2015 Ho'olaule'a

Hula performances were given by three different halau's at the 2015 Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a. Photos by Jesse Tunison
Saturday's (May 2) Ka'u Coffee Festival 7th Annual Ho'olaule'a at the Pahala Community Center featured a full day of free entertainment, with performers coming from as far away as Japan, Ka'u coffee tastings, prize raffles and crafts and food offered by a range of vendors.

Musician Bolo. Photo by Julia Neal
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. festival attendees were welcome to enjoy hula performances by Halau Hula Kalehuaki'eki'eika'iu, Hannah's Makana 'Ohana Hula Halau, and Halau Hula O Leionalani as they were serenaded by musical artists including Hands Of Time, 2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen Maria Miranda, Keaiwa and Demetrius Oliveira, Bolo, South Side Serenaders, Keoki Kahumoku, Kulele, Kookoo Bird & Friends and Moses, Makana & Bradley.

Vendors from around the island offered information, crafts, games and dinning experiences ranging from plate lunches, poi, sandwiches, snacks, baked goods, shave ice, beverages, Ka'u coffee tastings and products. Keiki enjoyed bouncing castles and slides as well as train rides around the festival grounds.

Annabelle Orcino was the lucky winner of this year's Buy Local, It Matters raffle with a $1,000 check presented by Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen Maria Miranda and Ka'u Coffee Festival organizer Chris Manfredi. The promotion, now in it's third year at the Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a, encourages residents to frequent local businesses during the weeks prior to the festival.

Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
During the Ka'u Coffee Experience, expert baristas prepared and served free samples of Ka'u coffees using a wide variety of techniques. These methods included, Hario Pour-over, Clever, French Press, Chemex and Toddy Cold-brew plus a variety of espresso beverages, such as lattes.

Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
Throughout the day, participants were shuttled from the festival to tour Ka'u Coffee farms and the  Ka'u Coffee Mill, where visitors learned how beans are processed and roasted while enjoying coffee tastings and demonstrations.

For more about our annual events, see our website at

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Star Gazing in Ka'u

Photos by Jesse Tunison
Ka'u is a place of natural beauty, with vast open landscapes and night skies unmarred by city buildings or lights. On their way to observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau, participants in our Ka'u Star Gazing event met at the Ka'u Coffee Mill early Friday (May 1) evening and were shuttled up to the site before sunset.

Once there, John Cross - an employee of the Edmund C. Olson Trust II - spoke of the history of the lands below and the significance of Makanau, a famous sacred site and lookout place for Hawaiians.

Guests were welcome to take a moment and enjoy the view before settling into the temporary camp site to watch the sunset and discover the nights sky with laser beams they had been loaned and a brief astronomy lesson.

Participants were asked to sign-up in advance and pay $35 per person. To sign up for next year's event, see or call (808) 928-0550. To learn more about what the Ka'u Coffee Festival has to offer see our website at

Aikane Plantation Coffee & Cattle Day

Photos by Jesse Tunison
Merle and Phil Becker of Aikane Plantation Coffee Farm escorted participants on tours of their coffee farm and cattle ranch on Friday (May 1) via horseback, RTV and hay bale rides followed by a scrumptious buffet during "Coffee & Cattle Day."
Merle, a descendant of the first coffee farmer in Ka'u, shared her family's historical involvement in the Ka'u coffee industry. She also explained how coffee can be integrated into cattle ranching and other agriculture.

In 1894, “Papa” J. C. Searle, Merle’s great-grandfather, planted his first crop of coffee in Ka‘u. His coffee became very popular and received many favorable comments from the local media. Due to a competition for laborers with the sugar plantation, “Papa’s” dream was lost but not forgotten. Over one hundred years later, Aikane Plantation Coffee Company was established by Merle and Phil Becker.
During this year's event, 2014 Miss Ka'u Coffee Amery Silva and 2011 Little Miss Paniolo 1st Princess Lorilee Lorenzo - a two time award winner at the Ka'u Recipe Contest - demonstrated their ranching skills on horseback as they assisted in roping and branding new calves. 

Visit or phone (808) 927-2252 to reserve your place for next year's event. Participants were asked to pay $25 per person to attend.

For more about the Ka'u Coffee Festival see our website at

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Hike To Remember

Photos by Jesse Tunison
The 2015 Ka'u Mountain Water Systems Hike was extended an extra day this year to accommodate those interested in joining the hike after all 35 spots for Wednesday's event were filled.

Participants met with their respective guides at the Ka'u Coffee Mill on Wednesday and Thursday morning and were then shuttled to the trail head.

The guided hike - over moderate terrain - wanders through the Hawaiian rainforest of 'ohia, uluhe, hapu'u and many other native plant species as participants are serenaded by endemic birds like the 'apapane, 'amakihi, and 'io. The path follows that of historic flume systems from the sugarcane era that have recently been repaired and are now being reused for agricultural purposes in the Wood Valley area. Eventually these flumes will help generate enough electricity to power the Ka'u Coffee Mill and other agricultural endeavors, such mechanically hulling macadamia nuts. Those on the walk were taken to see the development of the hydroelectric power project. 

Hikers were welcomed to take a further journey to the natural water source, a tunnel, once a lava tube, that contains a naturally forming pool of fresh water, filtered by the native rainforest.

Participants were invited to sit and appreciate the natural beauty of their surroundings as they were given refreshments, pre-packed lunches and talk story about their journey.

This official Ka'u Coffee Festival event was designed and offered by the Ka'u Coffee Mill, a subsidiary of Edmund C. Olson Trust II. Guests were asked to sign-up in advance and pay a fee of $40 per person.

Join us for our remaining 2015 events: Ho'olaule'a - Main Event (May 2), Coffee College (May 3). See our main site for more information:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Coffee Quality: What it Means and Why it Matters to Ka‘u

Ka'u coffee cherries. Photo by Chris Manfredi
This Sunday, May 3, we invite you to join us in a series of free informative talks that aim to identify how to achieve and maintain coffee quality and why it should matter to coffee producers in Ka'u. The official 2015 Ka'u Coffee Festival event, Coffee College, will take place at the Pahala Community Center on from 9 a.m. to noon.

Andrew Hetzel. Photo courtesy of
Our first speaker, Andrew Hetzel - founder of Cafemakers, is a coffee industry specialist who advises producer organizations and roasting businesses on trade marketing and quality assurance. His clients include a diverse range of specialty coffee producers and consumers in more than 35 countries, including retailers and roasters in North America, Australia and emerging consumer markets of Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He has recently headed quality improvement and origin brand marketing initiatives for coffee producers in Brazil, India, East Africa, Southeast Asia and the Arabian Peninsula.

As both a Q Arabica and Q Robusta instructor, he leads training courses for the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) and private businesses worldwide.  Mr. Hetzel is a Board Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and Chairperson of SCAA's Global Education and Professional Development Committees that oversee the association's lecture, skill building and certificate programs. As a visible industry figure he appears in consumer media to discuss coffee issues, including CNN, Time Magazine, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and New York Times.

Andrea Kawabata.
Photo courtesy of CTAHR

Andrea Kawabata - Assistant Extension Agent at the University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources' Cooperative Extension Service - will speak second. As the agent for coffee and orchard crops, Andrea works out of the Kona Research and Extension Center and travels statewide. Andrea continues to educate growers about CBB-best management practices and is the current project investigator for the CBB Area wide Outreach and Education Program as well as The Cathartus Program, a research project on local predators of CBB called flat bark beetles. 

Andy Newbom. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn
Our third speaker, Andy Newbom - Director of Coffee at IPCoffees Specialty Imports, spent 14 years of striving for coffee perfection. As Director of Coffee for IPCoffees Specialty Imports, he is building a new market for Mexican specialty coffee. Andy launched Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Finca Coffees, and Brew Revolution Craft Brewery. He is one of the founders of the Barista Guild of America.

J. David Waldman - Rojo’s Roastery Founder, will be our closing speaker. David created Rojo’s Roastery in 2004, a full-scale roastery, lab, and two-cafe operation. He received his CQI Q-Grader License for Arabica in 2012.

David Waldman. Photo courtesy of YouTube
David was born in Philadelphia in the 50’s. He comes by his credentials honestly: cello lessons at age 4, guitar lessons at age 5, joining the musicians union at age 13, and undergraduate studies in pre-medical sciences. He has TV and studio credentials (pedal steel guitar) in Nashville with the likes of Willie Nelson, George Jones, Waylon Jennings and Tammy Wynette. A columnist for Guitar Player and Frets Magazines, a law degree, a Wall Street venture capitalist, followed by 15 years as a New York record executive (Sony Music) working with artists such as Bob Dylan, James Taylor, and was an associate of MIT Media Lab.

2015 Coffee College Speaker Schedule

“Green Coffee Defects”
Andrew Hetzel

Andrew will discuss defects in green beans and the widely used standard classification method developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), followed by a tasting session where participants will learn to recognize and identify common defects by taste.

10:00-10:15 Break

10:15 - 10:45
“How Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) damage affects the cup of coffee”
Andrea Kawabata

Andrea presents an overview of research conducted with Greenwell Farms, UCC and UH CTAHR, the goal of this project is to better understand the effects of CBB damage to roasted coffee including:
1. What percentage of CBB-damaged beans does it take to affect flavor in the cup?
2. Does a darker roast mask the taste of CBB-damaged beans?

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00- 11:30
“Drink the Blue Kool-Aid: Stand out from the pack of sameness by delivering delicious, fantastic coffee excellence in the cup of your customers”
Andy Newbom

This lecture provides a road map for Ka‘u coffee producers to distinguish themselves within the greater industry of Hawaiian coffees:
1. Cup your own coffee – constantly.
2. Lean how to roast it to highlight the intrinsic nature of the coffee, and not the degree of roast.
3. Learn how to brew and prepare your OWN coffee the best way possible to bring the best flavor and experience.
4. Spread that knowledge to all your customers so you can deliver the full Hawaii coffee experience.

11:30 - Noon 
“The Buyer’s Criteria”
J. David Waldman

What convinces specialty roasters to purchase green beans from an emerging region such as Ka‘u? This lecture shares one roaster’s criteria for moving past samples on the cupping table to actual orders – especially for higher-priced beans such as Hawaiian coffees.

Ka'u Coffee Festival's Coffee College event has been consistently offered annually since our first festival in 2009. Attendance is free. Donations appreciated.

Join us for our upcoming 2015 events: Coffee & Cattle Day (May 1), Ka'u Star Gazing (May 1), Ho'olaule'a - Main Event (May 2), Coffee College (May 3). See our main site for more information:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free Music & Hula All-Day Saturday

Halau Hula Kalehuaki'eki'eika'iu, under the direction of Ab Valencia. Photo by Julia Neal
Enjoy free music and hula during our 2015 Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at the Pahala Community Center as Ka'u Coffee farmers provide you the special opportunity to taste and purchase their dozens of roasts and brands.

Entertainment Line-Up

9 a.m. – Emcees Skylark and Debbie Ryder open with announcements
9:15 a.m. - Halau Hula Kalehuaki'eki'eika'iu
10 a.m. - Hands of Time
10:45 a.m. – Hannah’s Makana 'Ohana Hula Halau
11:30 a.m. - Miss Ka'u Coffee Court
12:15 p.m. - Keaiwa and Demetrius Oliveira
1 p.m. - Halau Hula O Leionalani
1:45 p.m. - Bolo
2:30 p.m. - South Side Serenaders
3 p.m. - Keoki Kahumoku
3:45 p.m. - Kulele
4 p.m. - The Buy Local, It Matters drawing
4:15 p.m. - Moses, Makana & Bradley
4:45 p.m. - Kookoo Bird & Friends

Join us for our upcoming 2015 events: Coffee & Cattle Day (May 1), Ka'u Star Gazing (May 1), Ho'olaule'a - Main Event (May 2), Coffee College (May 3). See our main site for more information:

Monday, April 27, 2015

A New Queen Is Crowned

Maria Miranda, second from left, was crowned the 2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen. First Princess is Joyce Ibasan, third from left. Second Princess is Vivien Santos, left, and Third Princess is Jennifer Tabios, right. Photo by Pamela Taylor
A 2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen was crowned Sunday night (April 26) at the Pahala Community Center. The four contestants competed in three main categories: Talent, Evening Wear and Speech. Prizes were also given for Miss Popularity, Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic.

Maria Miranda talked about responsibility
of citizenship and won the Miss Ka'u
Coffee title. Photo by Jesse Tunison
This year's Queen is Maria Miranda, First Princess is Joyce Ibasan, Second Princess is Vivien Santos and Third Princess is Jennifer Tabios.

More than $7,200 in scholarships was donated by businesses, public officials and community organizations.

2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen Maria Caroline Miranda, 23, was born in the California agricultural town of Visalia in the San Joaquin Valley. She is the daughter of award-winning coffee farmers Jose and Berta Miranda of Miranda's Farms, of Discovery Harbour. A 2012 high school graduate through Safe Haven Christian Co-op, Maria plans to study nursing at University of Hawai'i in Hilo after completing an Associate of Arts degree at Hawai'i Community College. At HCC, Maria interned as a laboratory assistant. She is a Ka'u Chamber of Commerce scholarship winner and volunteers at Ka'u Hospital, visiting residential patients, some with no family. Maria works in her family Ka'u Coffee business, from picking to processing and marketing. She is developing a Sunday school program for Amazing Grace Baptist Church of South Point. Maria played the piano as her talent and was accompanied by a show of photographs of Ka'u coffee farms on stage.

Photo by Nalani Parlin
Maria received her crown from 2014 Miss Ka'u Coffee Amery Silva and Ka'u Coffee Mill owner Edmund C. Olson, with a trophy presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Trini and Francis Marques of Ali'i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee and a scepter presented by 2014 Miss Peaberry Madison Okimoto. She took home $2,500 in scholarships for her title: $1,000 presented by Sammy Stanbro and Edmund C. Olson Trust II; $500 from CU Hawai'i Federal Credit Union, presented by Lester “Mako” Okazaki; $500 from Pacific Quest; $250 from Punalu'u Bake Shop, presented by Connie Koi; and $250 from Ka'u Chamber of Commerce, presented by Donna Masaniai. Maria won the Talent trophy presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Annabelle and Franklin Orcino and $500 in scholarships with $250 from Malian Lahey of Ka'u Specialty Coffee, $150 from County Council member Maile David and $100 from Julia Neal of Pahala Plantation Cottages. Maria also won the Evening Wear and Speech trophies presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Maile and Efren Abellera. She earned $500 in scholarships, with $250 from state Sen. Josh Green and $250 from state Rep. Richard Onishi.

Photo by Nalani Parlin
2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee First Princess Joyce Anne Ibasan, 21, was born in Dagupan, the Philippines. She is the daughter of Orlando Ibasan and Jocelyn Tamayo, of Pahala. A 2012 graduate of Ka'u High School, she graduates this spring with an Associate of Arts degree in administration of justice from Hawai'i Community College and plans to transfer to University of Hawai‘i in Hilo to major in criminal justice. She works full-time at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and completed two high school Youth Ranger internships with the interpretation and eruption crew/protection division of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Joyce is a fulltime student and fulltime employee. Some of her family members recently started a Ka'u Coffee farm above Wood Valley Road. Joyce performed a song and dance routine as her talent.

Joyce received her crown from Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant Chair Gloria Camba and Roger Kaiwi, of Hawai'i Coffee Co., with a trophy from Ka'u coffee farmer Rogelio Aquino. She received $1,500 in scholarships for her title, with $1,000 from Hawai'i Coffee Co., presented by Roger Kaiwi and $500 from Ka'u Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Tea, LLC presented by Tyler Johansen. She won the Miss Photogenic trophy presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Verna and Milton Dacalio and a $250 scholarship from Sen. Russell Ruderman. Joyce also won the Miss Popularity trophy presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Jackie and Leonardo Castaneda.

Photo by Nalani Parlin
2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee 2nd Princess Louise Vivien Santos, 20, was born in Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. She is the daughter of Arnel and Amelita Santos, of Pahala, her father a schoolteacher and mother an employee of a macadamia orchard. Her aunt Anabelle Orcino is a Ka'u Coffee farmer, and Santos helps with the business. A 2013 Ka'u High School graduate, Vivien also graduated from high school with honors in the Philippines. She is a Ka'u Chamber of Commerce scholarship winner who studies in the nursing program at University of Hawai'i – Hilo. She aspires to become a nurse at Ka'u Hospital. She was a member of the National Honor Society, Interact Club and Akamai Finance Academy and has interned with the international Longshore & Warehouse Union. She has tutored at Pahala and Na'alehu schools, won statewide awards for science and engineering projects and speaks several languages. Vivien played the violin as her talent. 

Vivien received her crown from Pageant Director Nalani Parlin and Ka'u Coffee Festival organizer Chris Manfredi and a trophy from Lorie Obra. Viven won Miss Congeniality, with trophy presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Maria and Roberto Miranda, with a $250 scholarship from Rep. Richard Creagan. She received $900 in scholarships, with $500 from the Ka'u Coffee Festival Committee; $350 from Bio-Eco Hawai'i, Inc., presented by Francisco Lobos; and $50 from Damian Eatinger.

Photo by Nalani Parlin
2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee 3rd Princess Jennifer Flores Tabios, 18, was born on the Big Island. She is the daughter of William and Grace Tabios, of Na'alehu. A senior at Ka'u High School, she serves as vice president of the student body and is a member of National Honor Society and the Interact Club. She has earned one of the highest grade-point averages in her class. At the 2015 Science and Engineering Fair at 'Imiloa, she won best project for astronomy and earned the Galileo Award for her experiment on surface tension. Jennifer works with her family’s coffee label The Rising Sun Ka'u Coffee, which has taken top awards at the international Specialty Coffee Association of America competition. She also works with the Will & Grace store in Na'alehu. Upon graduating, Jennifer hopes to attend UCLA where she plans to study neurology. Jennifer sang and plated the 'ukulele as her talent.

Jennifer took home a trophy presented by Ka'u coffee farmers Herme and Leo Norberte and $700 in scholarships, with $600 from friends and family in honor of the late Bobby Tucker and $100 from an anonymous donor in honor of the late Leiani Camba-Penera and Zaileah.

Community organization and business representatives lined up to give scholarships to the winners. Left to right: Donna Masaniai, President of Ka'u Chamber of Commerce; Lester Okazaki, manager of CU Hawai'i Federal Credit Union branches in Ka'u; Connie Koi, manager of Punalu'u Bake Shop; and Edmund C. Olson, of Ka'u Coffee Mill and Olson Trust. Miss Ka'u Coffee Maria Miranda received a scepter from 2014 Miss Peaberry Madison Okimoto, a trophy from Trini and Francis Marques and a crown from 2014 Miss Ka'u Coffee Amery Silva. Photo by Jesse Tunison
Join us for our upcoming 2015 events: Ka'u Mountain Water Hike (April 29), Coffee & Cattle Day (May 1), Ka'u Star Gazing (May 1), Ho'olaule'a - Main Event (May 2), Coffee College (May 3). See our main site for more information:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Culinary Creations Infused with Ka'u Coffee

Lorilee Lorenzo won first place in the Student Pupu category with Ka'u Coffee Pulehu Steak. Pictured with 2014 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen Amery Silva and Miss Holly K. Photos by Jesse Tunison
Peggy Kilkenny receives one of her two prizes
from Miss Ka'u Coffee Amery Silva.
Masako Sakata won first in Adult Pupu
The Ka'u Coffee Recipe Contest, the second of several events during the ten-day 2015 Ka'u Coffee Festival, drew a variety of creative cooks to the Ka'u Coffee Mill in Wood Valley Saturday (April 25, 2015) afternoon in the hopes of winning prizes of up to $300. Miss Holly K, of Native-FM, DJ-ed the event.

Each Division, Adult or Student, offered contestants three Categories to enter: Pupu (appetizer), Entrée, and Dessert. Three winners were selected from each category by pre-selected judges. All entries were required to be original creations containing coffee grown in the Ka'u district.

Miss Ka'u Coffee Amery Silva and Miss Holly K present the
prize for first place in Adult Dessert category to Cathy Haber.
Masako Sakata took first place in the Adult Pupu category with Ka'u Coffee Beans. Melia Taganas came in second place with Tortilla & Coffee Dip, and Peggy Kilkenny, third place with Ka'u Coffee South of the Border Enchilada Sauce.

Adult Entrée first-, second- and third-place winners were Peggy Kilkenny with “Pig Pickin” in Paradise; Melia Taganas with Teri-Coffee; and Austin Kilkenny with Ka'u Coffee Rubbed Short Rib Spicy Noodle Trifle.

In the Adult Dessert category, Cathy Haber won first place with her Ka'u Coffee Macnut Tart. Tianna Hauanio came in second with Ka'u French Macaroons. Sunerene Quevedo’s Ka'u Coffee Panna Cotta and Melia Taganas’ Kahlua Coffee Cheese Cake tied for third.

OMG! It's Mocha-Tastic was Melia Okimoto's first-prize 
winning entry in the Student Dessert category.
Student winners were Melia Okimoto with her OMG! It’s Mocha-Tastic in the Dessert category and Lorilee Lorenzo with Ka'u Coffee Pulehu Steak in the Pupu category.

This official Ka'u Coffee Festival event, hosted by Ka'u Coffee Mill and the Edmund C. Olson Trust II, was free to enter or attend.
Join us for our upcoming 2015 events: Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant (April 26), Ka'u Mountain Water Hike (April 29), Coffee & Cattle Day (May 1), Ka'u Star Gazing (May 1), Ho'olaule'a - Main Event (May 2), Coffee College (May 3). See our main site for more information:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Musical Kick-Off To The 2015 Ka'u Coffee Festival

Bolo and Friends performed last night at Pahala Plantation House. The Na Hoku
Hanohano nominee sang Kaiholena, about the mountain in Ka'u, a song written
by Bolo, Daniel Ho and a group of Ka'u Coffee Festival music
workshop attendees. Photo by Julia Neal
No Hoku Hanohano 2015 Award Nominee Bolo, five-time Grammy award-winner Keoki Kahumoku, and jazz musicians Jr. Volcano Choy, and the South Side Serenaders performed Friday (April 24, 2015) evening to kick-off the 7th annual Ka'u Coffee Festival. The free concert event, Pa'ina and Open House, was held at the Pahala Plantation House (a Pahala Plantation Cottages vacation rental), formerly the Ka'u Sugar Plantation Managers House. Attendees were welcome to tour the historic home and enjoy a hula performance by 2014 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen Amery Silva. 

Miss Ka'u Coffee candidates take a break last night at Pahala Plantation House
at the kick-off party for ten days of Ka'u Coffee Festival events, including
Ka'u Coffee Recipe Contest this afternoon at Ka'u Coffee Mill and
the pageant tomorrow evening at Pahala Community Center.
See for more. Photo by Jesse Tunison
Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant Scholarship Chair Julia Neal, owner and operator of Pahala Plantation Cottages, accepted donations for the pageant's scholarship fund during the event. The 2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee contenders made a guest appearance and thanked the community for raising $7,100 towards their higher education. Among the attendees were representatives from donors: Olson Trust, Ka'u Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Tea, Bio-Eco Hawai'i, CU Hawai'i Federal Credit Union, Ka'u Coffee Festival Committee, Ka'u Specialty Coffee, Rep. Richard Creagan, Ka'u Chamber of Commerce, and the Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative.

This official Ka'u Coffee Festival event, offered annually since 2014, was co-sponsored by Ka'u Chamber of Commerce, Pahala Plantation Cottages, and The Ka'u Calendar newspaper.

Join us for our upcoming 2015 events: Recipe Contest (April 25), Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant (April 26), Ka'u Mountain Water Hike (April 29), Coffee & Cattle Day (May 1), Ka'u Star Gazing (May 1), Ho'olaule'a - Main Event (May 2), Coffee College (May 3). See our main site for more information:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Win $1000: Buy Local, It Matters

Businesses are lining up and area residents starting to visit them for the Buy Local, It Matters cross-promotion sponsored by Ka'u Coffee Festival and the state Department of Agriculture. See for updates on where to collect receipts, product labels and business cards for the drawing. Visiting as many local businesses as possible between now and the Ho‘olaule‘a increases chances to win the Buy Local, It Matters $1,000 award at the festival.

2014 Buy Local, It Matters winner Krystalynn Gascon.
Photo by Julia Neal.

Winner must be present at time of drawing during the Ka’u Coffee Festival Ho’olaule’a at the Pahala Community Center at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, to collect prize.

Among participating companies are: Aikane Plantation Coffee Co., Ali'i Hula Hands (Punalu'u Bake Shop), BEI, Big Island Candies, Crop Production Services, Hana Hou Restaurant, Hawa'i Coffee Association, Hawai'i Coffee Co., Isla Custom Coffees, GreenPoint Nurseries, Ka'u Coffee Mill, Ka'u Farm and Ranch Co., Ka'u Local Products, Ka'u Royal Coffee (R&G Store in Pahala), Ka'u Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Tea, Kona Transportation, Moon & Turtle Cafe, OK Farms, Orchid Island Auto Center, Pacific Quest, Pahala Plantation Cottages, ProVision Solar, Inc., Punalu'u Bake Shop, Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee (Na'alehu and Kino'ole Farmer's Market), Sustainable Island Products, Wiki-Wiki Mart and xpedx.

See frequent updates and map at

Buy Local, It Matters campaign aims to encourage residents to support Hawai'i businesses. It particularly focuses on agriculture, encouraging conscious decisions to purchase locally grown farm products. The campaign was created by University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hawai'i Farm Bureau Federation and Hawai'i Department of Agriculture. As a community service, Hawai'i Medical Service Association sponsors printing a Buy Fresh – Buy Local Seasonality Chart on availability of local produce.