Sunday, May 22, 2016

Eighth Annual Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a Highlights

Photo by Julia Neal
Mahalo to all those who helped create the best Ka'u Coffee Festival yet! 

We saw a record turnout yesterday, May 21, for our ho'olaule'a. An early threat of rain failed to materialize, and large, dark clouds filled the sky, keeping the crowd cool.

Cars filled Pahala Community Center lawn and lined surrounding streets as visitors flocked to get a taste of award-winning Ka'u coffee and join in on the celebration. 

Musicians and hula dancers, including Miss Ka'u Coffee 2016 Pageant contestants, graced the stage and entertained the crowd throughout the day as festival goers explored the many vendor booths. Tours to scenic farms informed participants about Ka'u Coffee production. 

Most attendees made use of the Ka'u Coffee Experience, a free opportunity to delve into the many different ways of preparing coffee while tasting several different Ka'u coffees and learning preferred techniques from professional baristas. 

Keiki were also allowed to enjoy the new playground at the Pahala Community Center as parents indulged their tastebuds with Ka'u's unique coffee flavors and other savory and sweet treats available at the ho'olaule'a.

One thousand dollars worth of prizes were awarded to Buy Local, It Matters participants throughout the day.

If you missed us this year, make sure to check back later on our website for next year's dates!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Watching Sunsets and Star Gazing in Ka'u

Photos by Jesse Tunison
Ka'u Star Gazing, an anual event of the Ka'u Coffee Festival, took place last night, May 20, on the grassy top of Makanau.

After watching a beautiful sunset over the open ocean and a nearly full moon, stargazers were given laser pointers and the use of a telescope to help them discover the mysteries of Ka'u's clear, dark skies.

John Cross, of Olson Trust, and formerly of C. Brewer (major sugar plantation owner in Ka'u) discussed the land's history and significance.

To learn more about the event or to join in next year, visit our website at

Join us today at the Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a to celebrate the Ka'u coffee industry.

Hay Bail Rides, Coffee Tours and Ranch Style Eating

Photos by Jesse Tunison
Coffee & Cattle Day today place yesterday, May 20, at Alkane Plantation Coffee Farm, owned and operated by Phil and Merle Becker.

Attendees enjoyed a ranch lunch and tours of Aikane Plantation’s coffee and cattle operations by way of hay bail rides through the pastures. Merle, a descendant of J.C. Searle, the first coffee grower in Ka'u, and her husband Phil explained how coffee can be integrated into cattle ranching and other agriculture. 

For information on next years event, see our website at

Join us today at our biggest and one of our longest running events the Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a. Coffee tastings, music and hula, vendors from around the Ka'u community and around the island as well as coffee farm and mill tours. Free entry and lots of fun!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Water Systems in Ka'u

Photos by Jesse Tunison
Miss Ka'u Coffee 2016. Photo from Rochelle Koi
Hikes exploring the Ka'u Mountain Water System on yesterday, May 19, and Wednesday, May18, gave Ka'u residents and visitors a glimpse of flume systems of the sugarcane era and how the water is moved and used today. The old flumes carried water down the mountain to float sugar to the mill in Pahala. Today, the water irrigates fields, provides drinking water and could possibly be used for hydroelectric power.

Rochelle Koi, who was crowned Miss Ka'u Coffee 2016 at the pageant last Saturday, joined one of the hikes. She said it was “a wonderful experience where I was able to learn so much about our agricultural history. I am very glad to have participated.”

Two more events take place today, Coffee & Cattle as well as Ka'u Star Gazing. Join us for the big Ho'olaule'a tomorrow (free entry) at the Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. See our website for more details:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lobsterpalooza: Fine Foods by the Beach

Lobsters found their way to Punalu'u Black Sand Beach this weekend. Photos by Julia Neal

Our first ever Lobsterpalooza event took place Sunday, May 15 on the lawn at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. The menu featured skewered pupus, Kona Cold Lobster and charbroiled Spencer Steak raised locally by Kuahiwi Ranch and served with roasted potatoes, Cajun-style local sweet corn, Ka'u Coffee Mocha Torte, lilikoi lemonade, brewed ice tea and plenty of Ka'u coffee.
The event, organized by Chris Manfredi and co-sponsored with Hana Hou Restaurant and 'O Ka'u Kakou, also featured live Blues entertainment with Larry Dupio Band and special guest Full Tilt Band.

Our events continue through the weekend. Hikes today and tomorrow exploring Ka'u Mountain Water System are sold out, but Ka'u Coffee Mill is taking names for a waiting list. Email, or call 928-0550.

Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation for $25 per person on Friday at 10 a.m. features a ranch lunch and an opportunity to learn about how coffee growing is integrated into cattle ranching and other agriculture. Contact Phil and Merle Becker at or 808-927-2252.

Night sky viewing from Makanau Mountain on Friday still has room at $45 a person. Visit the mountain with the heiau and see the moonlit sky from the traditional lookout point over Ka'u. Email, or call 928-0550.

Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a on Saturday features a full day of entertainment, displays, Ka'u Coffee tasting, farm tours, the Ka'u Coffee Experience and food at Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Meet the farmers and Miss Ka'u Coffee 2016, her court and more pageant winners and participants.

Win $1,000 in prizes and cash at Buy Local, It Matters. Bring receipts, business cards or product labels from local business participants to the Ho'olaule'a for a chance to win. See for a list of participants.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ka'u Coffee Attracts Industry Experts For Annual Reverse Trade Mission

Leaders of the specialty coffee industry are traveling to the state’s largest agricultural district this month to taste and see all the effort that goes into producing award-winning Ka‘u coffee during our annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival.

While meeting Ka‘u growers, the visiting experts will lead seminars at our annual Ka‘u Coffee College May 22 at the Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to noon. The Ka‘u Coffee College has proven to be a place of learning, sharing and networking—and has featured some of the industry’s leading professionals from around the globe. The 2016 program follows in this tradition with the theme, “Coffee Quality.”

“These seminars are designed to not only continue to brand and market Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin, but to help the growers’ bottom line,” explained event organizer Chris Manfredi. “We understand the challenges of sustaining a profitable farming operation in Hawai‘i. These talks will certainly reinforce the exceptionally high quality for which Ka‘u coffee has become famous, but also ensure there is a steady supply of it. As we reach more markets, we need a solid supply of quality coffees to meet the increasing demand while ensuring growers remain profitable.”

The Ka‘u Coffee College is part of the eighth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival, spanning May 13-22, and culminating May 21-22 at the Pahala Community Center. Coffee professionals learn first-hand about the Ka‘u coffee community in the days leading up to the May 21st ho‘olaule‘a, which includes guided tastings, farm tours and the opportunity to “talk story” with growers at their booths.

“The Ka‘u Coffee College is the last, but certainly not the least event,” adds Manfredi.

Topics covered at this year’s college include integrated pest management, CBB (coffee berry borer) and coffee quality’s impact on price.

“Six Years of Farming with CBB: Reflecting and Moving Forward” will be presented by Andrea Kawabata, assistant extension agent for coffee and orchard crops with the University of Hawai‘i CTAHR cooperative extension service and biologist Arturo Ballar Ortiz PSM, farm development and research director at Greenwell Farms. Working out of the Kona Research and Extension Center, Kawabata is the current project investigator for USDA and CTAHR Area-wide Mitigation and Management for CBB Control Project’s Outreach Program and cooperating investigator of the HDOA-funded Flat Bark Beetle Project.

Mike Perry will delve into “Coffee Quality’s Relationship to Price Sensitivity.” An award-winning roast master who blends a background in chemical engineering with a love for coffee, Perry is founder of Klatch Coffee in California.

“Falling Coffee, Falling Profits” will be discussed by Robert G. Hollingsworth, research entomologist of Hilo’s USDA-ARS-Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and a specialist on coffee berry borer (CBB). Hollingworth’s research facilitated the deregulation of the GHA strain of Beauveria bassiana, the principal pesticide used to control CBB. Currently he is studying natural enemies of the pest, the effectiveness of sanitation methods and the influence of environmental factors on population growth and development.

Miguel Meza, owner and director of Paradise Coffee Roasters in Hawai‘i and Minnesota, teams up with Lee Paterson, owner of Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, to direct a coffee quality workshop, “Recognizing and Minimizing Coffee Defects.”

Monday, May 16, 2016

Winnning Recipes Inspired by Ka'u Coffee: Ka'u Coffee Recipe Contest 2016 Results

Hayden Hanshew's Moca Roca. Photos by Pamela Taylor
Deanna Delmur's Ka'u Coffee Smoke Tako Poke.
This past Saturday, May 14, during the 2016 Ka'u Coffee Recipe Contest, Ka'u Coffee Mill offered $2,000 in prizes to creators of a great variety of recipes made with Ka'u Coffee.

First-place winner in the Adult Pupu category is Deanna Delmur with her Ka'u Coffee Smoke Tako Poke. Ka'u Coffee-Infused Hawaiian-Style Smoke Meat by Elgon Villanueva placed second, and Mike Haber’s Sweet Chili Coffee Shrimp placed third.

Deanna Delmur won first place in the Adult Entree category with Ka'u Coffee Crusted Rack of Lamb with Coconut Rice and Springtime Veggies.

Deanna Delmar's Ka'u Coffee Crusted Rack of Lamb
with Coconut Rice and Springtime Veggies
Cathy Haber’s Ka'u Coffee Cream Pie took first place in the Adult Dessert category. Ka'u Cappuccino Punchbowl Cake by Nalani Stevenson placed second, and Carma Hanshew’s Candied Coffee Ginger was third-place winner.

CeAndra Silva-Kamei won first in Student Pupu with Ka'u Coffee BBQ Shrimp and first in the Student Entrée category with Fingah Licken Good BBQ Chicken. Lorilee Lorenzo placed second in each category with Super Ono Chicken Bites and Coffee Fried Chicken. In the Student Dessert category, Hayden Hanshew placed first with Moca Roca, CeAndra Silva placed second with Ka'u Coffee Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and Lorilee Lorenzo placed third with Peanut Butter Coffee Bars.

Cathy Haber's Ka'u Coffee Cream Pie
Continue celebrating the Ka'u coffee industry with us by attending the Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant tonight and our first time event Lobsterpalooza tomorrow. See more on our website at

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A New Queen Has Been Crowned, Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant 2016

Photo bu Pamela Taylor

Congratulations to Rochelle Koi, our 2016 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen! 

Photo by Michael Worthington
Rochelle, 22, is the daughter of Rory Koi, of Na'alehu, and Michelle Ortega, of Pahala. She was crowned by Miss Ka'u Coffee 2015 Maria Miranda at the pageant held last night, Saturday, May 14, at Ka'u Coffee Mill. Koi won the Interview and Evening Gown titles and tied for the Career Outfit title. Ka'u Coffee Farmer Trini Marques, of Ali'i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee, directed this year's pagant.

Rochelle, whose talent is singing, is a University of Hawai'i student and works at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park as a ranger. Koi takes home scholarships totaling $2,750 from the Edmund C. Olson Trust, Pacific Quest and Ka'u Chamber of Commerce. For all scholarships, sponsors and the pageant program, see

Miss Ka'u Coffee First Princess is Casey Koi, 21, daughter of Corey and Connie Koi, of Pahala. She tied in Career Outfit and Miss Photogenic categories. She is a student at University of Hawai'i-Hilo.

Jami Beck, 17, is Miss Ka'u Coffee Second Princess and daughter of James and Sharon Beck, of Na'alehu. She won the Swimsuit competition and tied in the Talent competition. Beck is a student at Ka'u High School.

Miss Ka'u Coffee Third Princess is Shaira Panganiban Badua, 18, daughter of Mario and Lucia Badua, of Pahala. The senior at Ka'u High School tied in the Talent competition.

Photo by Pamela Taylor

Congratulations to our Junior Miss Ka'u Coffee for 2016, Karlee Fukunaga-Camba!

Karlee, 15, is the daughter of Keala and Justine Camba, of Pahala. She won Talent and Evening Gown categories. She attends Ka'u High School.

Junior Miss Ka'u Coffee First Princess is Calaysa Koi, 11, daughter of Corey and Connie Koi, of Pahala. She is a student at Ka'u Middle School.

Lyric Oliveiros, 15, is Miss Ka'u Coffee Second Princess. She is the daughter of Junior and Saydi Llanes. Lyric won the Hobby Outfit Competition and attends Ka'u Middle School.

Miss Ka'u Coffee Third Princess is Helena Nihipali-Sesson, 14, daughter of Guy Sesson and Sherraine Nihipali-Sesson, of Pahala, and Bradford and Jadelyn Moses, of Pahala. She is a student at Ka'u High School.

Congratulations to Miss Ka'u Peaberry for 2016, Chazlynn Pua-Queja!

Chazlynn, 9, daughter of Chad and Queja and Jerilyn Pua, of Pahala. She won the Character Outfit category and attends Pahala Elementary School.

Miss Ka'u Peaberry First Princess is Jazmyn Navarro, 8, daughter of Jonathan and Jennifer Navarro, of Pahala. Navarro won the Talent competition. She is a student at Pahala Elementary School.

Miss Ka'u Peaberry Second Princess is Khloe Moses, 6, daughter of Jack and Brenda Moses, of Pahala. She won the Evening Gown competition. Moses attends Pahala Elementary School.

Photo by Michael Worthington

Thank you to our sponsors!

Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant Committee thanks the following sponsors: Ka'u Coffee Mill, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, Hawai'i Coffee Co., Crop Rx, Ka'u Mahi LLC, Pacific Quest, Ka'u Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Tea Co., Punalu'u Bake Shop, CU Hawai'i Federal Credit Union, Ka'u Local Products, Crop Production Services, Paradise Helicopters, Ka'u Chamber of Commerce, Science Camps of America, Ka'u Specialty Coffee, Hawai'i Forest & Trail, OK Farms, Genny Aiona, Sen. Russell Ruderman, Sen. Josh Green, Rep. Richard Onishi, Rep. Richard Creagan, County Council Member Maile David, Aunty Ba Fund, Donna Butler, Masako Sakata and donors at the Pahala Plantation House Pa'ina Kick-off for Ka'u Coffee Festival Week.

If you missed the pageant or would simply like to watch it again, tune in to Na Leo TV. See schedule here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Night In Pahala: Pa'ina & Open House at the Pahala Plantation House

Dancers fill Pahala Plantation House's foyer to swing to the Kachi Kachi music of El Leo, with Sen. Russell Ruderman on guitar. Photo by Ron Johnson
HFUU President Vincent Mina with Miss Ka'u Coffee 2015
Maria Miranda and Miss Peaberry 2016 candidate
Khloe Moses. Photo by Jesse Tunison
Our 2016 Ka'u Coffee Festival began yesterday, May 13, with the annual event Pa'ina & Open House at Pahala Plantation House, in Pahala, Hawai'i. Entertainment included music by Bolo & Friends as well as Puerto Rican music by El Leo, with Ka'u’s Hawai'i State Senator Russell Ruderman on guitar. Attendees met some of the young ladies who will participate this evening to be named Miss Ka'u Coffee, Junior Miss Ka'u Coffee and Miss Peaberry. Local farmers provided fresh foods cooked by chefs from around the state for a feast that filled the dining room table.  

Hawai'i Farmers Union United and Ka'u Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the event with Pahala Plantation Cottages.

Miss Peaberry candidate Chazlynn Pua Queja. Photo by Jesse Tunison
To read more about this event, see our archives and to keep up on when next's year's Pa'ina & Open House will occur, visit our blog or website,, later in the year or early 2017. 
Tomorrow's events include Ka'u Recipe Contest and Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant, both at the Ka'u Coffee Mill. Click here for more details:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Java-Jumping Fun - 2016 Ho'olaule'a

What do you get when you throw a few thousand people together with music, food and plenty of coffee? Java-Jumping Fun! We urge you to join us this year and pour yourself some fun as you enjoy everything we have to offer, including personal interactions with the nations leading coffee growers and their families as you explore their products and meeting professional baristas and tasting their fine brews at the Ka'u Coffee Experience.

Delight in a tasteful selection of Hawaiian music and hula performed live by notable artists such as Bolo, Keaiwa & Demetrius, Hands of Time, Harry Evangelista & Kukubird, Halau Hula Kalehuaki'eki'eika'iu, Hannah's Mahana 'Ohana Hula Halau, Kupuna 'O Pahala, Halau Hula O Leionalani, Sammi Fo & Halau Kahokukauahiahionalani, Makana, and Miss Ka'u Coffee, Junior Miss Ka'u Coffee and Miss Peaberry and their courts. For more about the music and entertainment scheduled, see our website at Entrance is free to all and no reservations are required.

Taste locally raised beef and many other locally prepared meals, treats and snacks as you peruse the diverse vendor booths and locally made crafts. Make sure to save business cards and receipts so you can enter in our Buy Local, It Matters drawing, click here for details While you enjoy the fruits of labor, take a tour of one of the award winning Ka'u coffee farms and the only mill in the district.

Photos by Geneveve Fyvie, Chris Manfredi, Julia Neal and Jesse Tunison at prior events.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Star Gazing in Ka'u

Discover the vast open beauty of Ka'u's skies from dusk to darkness, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 20, as you explore the secrets of the stars and hear tales of Hawai'i's history. This event has limited seating. Tickets must be reserved in advance. Call 808-928-0550 for more details or to reserve your spot at $45 per person (price includes refreshments and a shuttle ride). Photos by Jesse Tunison at prior event.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hay Rides and Buffet Lunches - Coffee & Cattle Day 2016

At Coffee & Cattle Day on Friday, May 20, starting at 10 a.m. Aikane Plantation carries attendees, by four-wheel drive and on a hay ride, deep into the hills above Pahala through horse and cattle pastures and into their Ka'u Coffee farm.

Back at the ranch house, owners Merle and Phil Becker present their Ka'u Coffee and new line of native mama tea along with a buffet lunch spread and coffee tastings. Makana is scheduled to entertain with his Hawaiian music. Call 808-927-2252 to make a reservation, $25 per person includes buffet lunch. Photos by Jesse Tunison at last year's event.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Water and Energy - Ka'u Mountain Water Systems Hike

Join Ka'u Coffee Mill staff from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, or Thursday, May 19, on a hike through native Hawaiian forest along the path of an ancient flume system from the sugarcane era that has been revived to carry water to the mill and surrounding farms. Inspect an old water tunnel, listen to the songs of the native birds, and discover Ka'u's hydroelectric future as you learn about the native flora and fauna and breath the cool crisp forest air. Make sure to book ahead as space is limited on this journey. Call 808-928-0550 for more details and to reserve your spot, $45 per person includes a packed lunch. Photos by Jesse Tunison at prior events.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A New Event for 2016 - Lobsterpalooza!

Kona Cold Lobster.
New to this year’s lineup of java-jumping fun is the Lobsterpalooza – a leisurely Sunday afternoon picnic on the lawn at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. On the menu spread is a variety of tantalizing skewered pupus, your choice of Kona Cold Lobster or charbroiled Spencer Steak, raised locally by Kuahiwi Ranch, and served with roasted potatoes, Cajun-style local sweet corn, a mouthwatering Ka'u Coffee Mocha Torte, lilikoi lemonade, brewed ice tea and plenty of Ka'u coffee.

The event, which is presented in concert with Hana Hou Restaurant and 'O Ka'u Kakou, takes place Sunday, May 15, at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Live Blues entertainment includes Larry Dupio Band with special guest Full Tilt Band. Tickets are $75 per person and are available, in advance only, online at For more about the event contact Chris Manfredi at or 808-929-9550.

For more information about the event see our website at

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Search for a New Queen - Ka'u Coffee Pageant

Ka'u Coffee Festival Queen 2015-2016 Maria Miranda escorted the contenders for the 2016 Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant court in the Merrie Monarch Parade. Photos by Pageant Director Trini Marques.
This year the Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant will have young women and girls competing for three titles: Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen, Miss Ka'u Junior Miss and Miss Peaberry. The event will take place on Saturday, May 14, at the Ka'u Coffee Mill - doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available from the candidates and at Punalu'u Bake Shop and Shaka's Restaurant.

Using their talents, wits and beauty, the contestants for Miss Ka'u Coffee 2016 are 18-year-old Ka'u High School senior Shaira Panganiban Badua, daughter of Mario and Lucia Badua, of Pahala; 17-year-old Ka'u High School student Jami Beck, daughter of James and Sharon Beck, of Na'alehu; 17-year-old University of Hawai'i student Casey Koi, daughter of Corey and Connie Koi, of Pahala; and 22-year-old University of Hawai'i student Rochelle Koi, daughter of Rory Koi, of Na'alehu and Michelle Ortega, of Pahala.
Casey Koi
Rochelle Ko
The contestants for Junior Miss Ka'u Coffee 2016 are 15-year-old Ka'u High student Karlee Fukunaga Camba, daughter of Keala and Justine Camba, of Pahala; 11-year-old Ka'u Middle School student Calaysa Koi, daughter of Corey and Connie Koi, of Pahala; 15-year-old Ka'u Middle School student Lyric Oliveiros, daughter of Junior and Saydi Llanes; and 14-year-old Ka'u Middle School student Helena Nihipali-Sesson, daughter of Guy Sesson and Sherraine Nihipali-Sesson, of Pahala, and Bradford and Jadelyn Moses, of Pahala.
The contestants for Miss Peaberry 2016 are six-year-old Pahala Elementary School Kindergartener Khloe Moses, daughter of Jack and Brenda Moses, of Pahala; eight-year-old Pahala Elementary School student Jazmyn Navarro, daughter of Jonathan and Jennifer Navarro, of Pahala; and nine-year-old Pahala Elementary School student Chazlynn Pua Queja, daughter of Chad Queja and Jerilyn Pua, of Pahala.

"The opening number will be a sizzling dance routine to the Bruno Marks hit song Uptown Funk," says Pageant Director Trini Marques. It features 2015 Miss Ka'u Coffee Queen Maria Miranda with all of the girls.

To make a donation to the Scholarship Fund call Chair Julia Neal 928-9811 or to find out more about the Pageant call Director Trini Marques 928-0606.