Anyone who loves a good cup of joe made from Hawaii-grown coffee will want to attend a fun and informative event next month.
The Hawaii Coffee Association's 14th annual Conference and Trade Show will be brewing July 9 through 12 at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.
"This will appeal to any coffee enthusiast, who is interested in coffee on any level," says Education Chair David Gridley, owner of Maui Oma Coffee Roasting in Kahului. "You may buy tickets to individual events or a full pass for $195." (The price goes up to $250 after July 1.)
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Owner David Gridley of Maui Oma Coffee Roasting in Kahului is education chair of the 14th annual event.
The pass is a good deal in that you get to attend coffee cuppings, roasting workshops, speaker sessions, welcome reception, dinner the next night, two farm tours (both include meals), silent auction, awards banquet, and lots of sponsored coffee breaks from some of the best vendors around.
"We're really excited because this year we'll have the first-ever statewide cupping competition," says Gridley.
"In the past, everything was all centered around Kona. But now that there are eight coffee districts recognized by the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture, we are on a push to certify all Hawaii coffee."
The eight districts include Kona, Ka'u, Hamakua and Puna on the Big Island along with Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai, all as distinct coffee areas.
"Maui has lots of emerging coffee farmers. We have representation from many small growers. The Maui Coffee Association has now been formed."
Prominent guest speakers will include Skip Bittenbender, Ph.D., and Virginia Easton Smith from University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture; Chifumi Nagai, Ph.D., from the State of Hawaii's Hawaii Agricultural Research Center; and Howard Dicus from KGMB-9, the keynote speaker at the dinner reception.
"Maui restaurateurs and even potential farmers will really benefit from attending. Our primary objective is to increase the awareness and the consumption of Hawaiian coffees," Gridley says.
Getting out in the actual field is a good way to garner information. The first farm tour will be held Friday, July 10. A bus will pick up passengers in Waikapu at 1 p.m. to go to Piilani Kope and Mauigrown Coffee farms in West Maui. A heavy pupu reception will follow at Mauigrown in Lahaina from 5 to 7 p.m.
The second farm tour will depart Maui Tropical Plantation at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 12 to travel Upcountry to Kupa'a, Keokea, Maliko Estate Coffee and Maui Mountain Coffee farms. It includes a luncheon in the cool, rural air.
The farm tours cost $50 per person each, while the July 10 reception with no-host bar costs $30 per person.
The coffee cupping competitions will be administered and judged by esteemed coffee experts. It's open to all coffees that are 100 percent grown in the Hawaiian Islands. The public will gain knowledge on how to rate different coffees.
"It will be comparable to a Zagat guide rating system," says Gridley. "The neat thing about the competition is we're bringing in professionals who will do a blind judging of the beans and they'll compare the contrasts between regions. We'll also have an awards ceremony and a silent auction."
For a complete schedule of events, visit www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org. For tickets, call Gridley at 280-1623.