Skip to main content

Winners from the Hawaii Coffee Association’s 11th Annual Cupping Competition


From the 11th Annual Hawaii Coffee Association statewide cupping competition. All photos courtesy of the Hawaii Coffee Association.

A rare homegrown coffee quality competition took place late last month in the United States, as the Hawaii Coffee Association held its 24th annual conference and 11th statewide cupping competition.

Kona-based Pacific Coffee Research again organized the HCA coffee competition, employing Specialty Coffee Association methodology and format with a judging panel of licensed Q graders led by Minneapolis-based importer Cafe Imports Director of Sensory Analysis Ian Fretheim.

In total, the panel scored 93 coffees, with the top overall score going to Kona-based Greenwell Farms for a washed Gesha variety (85.28). Five of the top 10 coffees in the competition hailed from farms in Kona, with the other coming from Maui (3) and Ka’u (2). Despite the relative geographical uniformity represented among the top-scoring coffees, the top 10 reflected a wide range of varieties and cultivars — with a mix of both natural processing and fully washed processing — including Gesha, Typica, Red Catuai, Mokka and Yellow Caturra.


From left to right: HCA Cupping Committee Chair Brian Webb and Brittany Horn of Pacific Coffee Research; competition grand champions Tom and Jennifer Greenwell of Greenwell Farms; and competition lead Judge Ian Fretheim of Cafe Imports. Photo courtesy of the Hawaii Coffee Association.

“After months of cataloging, roasting, and evaluating these coffees we were excited to see such diversity of variety, processing methods, and growing regions in the top 10,” HCA Cupping Competition Chair Brian Webb of Pacific Coffee Research said in an announcement from group. “The ability of Hawaii farmers to produce truly great coffee was well represented by the range of flavors and the overall excellent quality of this year’s field of entries.”

The competition also awarded winners for each main coffee-growing district in the state, including top district-winning farms Greenwell Farms (Kona), Miranda Farms (Ka’u), Olinda Organic (Maui), Kauai Coffee Company (Kaua’i), Waialua Estate (O’ahu) and Kapakauaokeola (Puna, Hawai’i district). See the complete list of district winners.

A complete list of all coffees scoring 80 points or above is available here.