The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

Kona Coffee Festival

The award-winning Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

November 3, 2017 through November 12, 2017

Kona Coffee Festival The Kona Coffee Festival recognizes the achievements of Kona’s coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans. This award-winning coffee fest is recognized as the oldest and most successful food festival in Hawaii. The festival starts Friday, November 3 and runs through Sunday, November 12, 2017. The festival includes 10 days of events honoring Kona coffees cultural heritage.

Festival Events include:

  • A Lantern Parade.  Historic Kailua Village. Nov 3, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Watch as the lantern parade winds its way through Historic Kailua Village with its glowing procession of light, music and color. And finally culminating with an evening bon dance at Hale Halawai.
  • The Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll.  In historic Holualoa Village. Nov 4 – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Stroll through the art district of quaint Holualoa Village. While strolling visit galleries exhibiting an extensive collection of local artists. Also over 30 Kona coffee farms join the festivities offering tastings and products for purchase.

  • The Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa – Kaleiopapa Convention Center. Nov 4 – 5:30 pm. The Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant is hosted by the Kona Coffee Fest each November. A big mahalo to the scholarship sponsor – Ueshima Coffee Company, Ltd. 

    The newly crowned winner will also travel to Japan to promote Kona, it’s special coffee and the industry.

  • The Kona Coffee Recipe Contest & Big Island Showcase. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa – Kaleiopapa Convention Center. Nov 5 – 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Big Island Showcase opens at 10 a.m.  Featuring Hawaii Island products, gifts, and opportunities to buy farmer-direct Kona coffee. Also amateurs, culinary students and professional chefs present their favorite sweet and savory recipes . All featuring 100% Kona Coffee. Keiki (children) showcase sweet or savory snacks. Recipe contest doors open at 11 a.m.
    • You’ll experience:
      • Cooking demonstrations.
      • Judging & award presentations.
      • Public tasting to follow.

More Events:

  • Kona Coffee Cultural Fest Ho’olaule’a. Makaeo County Pavilion. Nov 11 – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. A celebration of all things Kona coffee.
    • Ho’olaule’a vents include:
      • Hands-on cultural demonstrations.
      • An ethnic food market.
      • The Festival of Arts & Crafts.
      • Additionally, all-day live entertainment.

Enjoy the beautiful lei contest. Participate in traditional Hawaiian poi making, ikebana and traditional Japanese calligraphy.  Also visit the heritage display. Indeed, all day fun for the entire ohana (family).

  • Kona Coffee Council Farm & Mill Tour Leaves from Keauhou Shopping Center.  Nov 7 and 10th – 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. You will visit three working coffee farms in Kona. The fee of $75 includes your transportation and a box lunch. Pick up and drop off located in front of Regal Keauhou Stadium 7 Theatres in the Keauhou Shopping Center. Reservations required; book online at www.kona-coffee-council.com.
  • Kona Coffee Living History Farm Tour – November 3-10, 2017. Daily at 2:00 pm. $10 with festival button (available for purchase on site). Stroll through this historic farm on a self-guided tour that reveals the story of Kona’s coffee pioneers during the early 20th century. Walk among the coffee trees and meet a “Kona Nightingale”.  Also discover how farmers used the kuriba and hoshidana to mill and dry Kona’s world-famous coffee.

Festival Calendar of Events and more info at konacoffeefest.com

What are Kona Peaberry Coffee Beans?

Peaberry Beans

Peaberry is not a type of coffee tree!

Occasionally people ask “If Peaberry coffee beans are so rare, why don’t you plant more peaberry coffee trees?” Unfortunately, that is not how it works.

How Kona Peaberry beans form

Like all 100% pure Kona coffees, peaberry beans are grown in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii (also known as Hawaii island). In most cases, the berry, or red fruit of coffee plant, develop two halves of a bean. But in very rare instances, some berries only have one “pea” shaped bean. Peaberry beans get their name from this shape . Albeit peaberry beans are a little more oval than round.
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Learn More about Kona Coffee Family Farms!

 Learn about Kona Coffee Family Farms in Hawaii

Information about Kona Coffee Family Farms in Kona

Family Farms - Kona Coffee TreesKona coffee family farms are found in the district of Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, the youngest of the island chain. Furthermore they are on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa mountains western slopes. In the Kona Coffee Belt.  On the leeward side of the Big island. For these reasons and more Kona is the tiny area of the world where the world’s best coffee is found.
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Kona – The perfect growing environment for coffee.

Hualalai Mountain the home of the Kona Coffee belt.

Kona’s coffee growing environment and conditions

Kona Coffee PlantationKona is the perfect coffee growing environment in the United States and arguably, in the world. Kona combines the exacting combination of sun, soil, shade and water that coffee trees thrive in.

Coffee is an extremely temperamental crop, but coffee trees take perfectly to sunny mornings cloudy, rainy and humid afternoons.
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The Kona Coffee Belt is ideal for growing coffee

The Kona Coffee Belt

The Kona Coffee Belt

The Kona Coffee Belt
Kona Coffee Belt – Leeward side of the Big Island (also known as Hawaii Island).

The Kona Coffee Belt is a strip of land running almost parallel to Kona’s famed “gold” coast. This zone, approximately 30 miles long and 2 to 3  miles wide, has proven to have ideal coffee growing conditions. Some say the best natural growing conditions in the world for coffee.

This “lower humid zone” lies between approximately 700 ft and 2500 ft elevation. It begins in the north at approximately Makalei and extends south almost to Oceanview.  Also, the zone includes the west slopes of both Hualalai and Mauna Loa mountains.

Average Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the belt is in an ideal amount and distribution. Consequently coffee in Kona typically has not been irrigated.

The winter dry season forces the coffee trees into a state of semidormancy. This period promotes flowering. Following the dry season, rainfall gradually increases as the crop matures. Then, rainfall decreases as the harvest season approaches and the fruiting cycle starts as the winter dry period begins. The last of the beans are harvested during the low rainfall in December-February.

Rainfall increases rapidly after mid-April in the coffee belt. Higher temperatures and high humidity provide the elements for rapid progression of the present crop. Decreasing rainfall in mid-September promotes harvest of the ripe cherries.

Ideal Coffee Growing Temperatures

In the heart of the Kona coffee belt lies CTAHR’s Kona Research station. This station records the annual average temperature is 69°F, the average minimum is 60°F, and the average maximum is 78°F.  Simultaneously with drought, seasonal temperatures drop. Thus causing the coffee trees to slow their growth and develop flower buds. Kona Research Station temperatures for December, January and February average 67°F (57°F minimum, 77°F maximum).

Interesting Note:  Previous to 1983, the annual rainfall averaged 68 inches. Although since 1983 when Kilauea began erupting, it has been drier, averaging only 49 inches.

History of Kona Coffee – Rich as its Taste!

Reverend Samuel Ruggles

 The History of Coffee in Kona

Uchida Coffee Farm at Kona Living History Farm
Uchida Coffee Farm on Kona Living History Farm

History of coffee in Kona is as rich as its taste! With an area of over 4,028 square miles, the island of Hawaii, also known as “The Big Island”, is home to a beautiful region in the west known as the Kona District. The Kona District is home to many different and wonderful attractions, including the Hawaii Ocean Science & Technology Park, the world-famous Ironman World Championship, the rugged “Gold Coast” with some amazing beaches, sea-turtle habitats, and Kona coffee farms.

Reverend Samuel Ruggles
Reverend Samuel Ruggles (wikipedia)

Coffee isn’t native to Hawaii — it was brought to Kona by Samuel Reverend Ruggles in 1828. He brought arabica cuttings from Brazil to see how well it would take to the Big Island’s climate.

As it turned out, Kona’s daily cycle of morning sunshine, afternoon cloud cover and rich volcanic soil was perfect for the coffee plants. Consequently coffee  established itself as a major crop in Hawaii by the end of the 1800s.

A crash in the price of coffee in the late 1890s led to today’s system of independent family farms. The plantations which had been producing most of the coffee beans were forced to sell their land.  As a result the workers bought or leased the land. Generations later, many of these plantation worker descendants are still farming  Kona coffee on the same land.

Harvesting and Processing – little change throughout history.

Harvesting (picking) and then  processing coffee is a tradition in Kona that you’ll see typically from August to January. Farmers and hired pickers collect the red coffee berries.  These berries contain the coffee beans. Then they pulp the fruit. Also known as “wet milling”. Separating the inner bean from the skin or outer layer. The sun, breeze and consistent raking dries the parchment beans. With the exception of some machinery this is the same system used for generations. Then after dry milling the green beans are roasted, bagged and sent around the world. And finally, into your coffee cup.

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The History of Hawaiian Coffee and Kona Coffee

100% Pure Kona Coffee label

The History of the World’s Best Coffee: Hawaiian Coffee

Hawaiian coffee has a rich history of coffee production, though it is a relative newcomer to the coffee industry. Mark Twain said  Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other.

Samuel Reverend Ruggles introduced it in 1828 from arabica cuttings he brought from Brazil.  Coffee grows very efficiently in Kona on both large and small plantations.
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Java Lovers, Beware of the Coffee Borer Beetle!

Bearer Borer Beetle

Kona Coffee is at risk as the coffee borer beetle destroys coffee crops!

Coffee Borer Beetle
Coffee Bearer Borer Beetle

Some know it as the berry borer beetle or the coffee borer beetle. However, this African pest is now invading Kona and is a real threat to its coffee. This pest is about 1.5 mm long. Females can fly short distances but the males do not have wings. The beetle costs the coffee industry over $500 million each year. Due to Kona’s small harvest, a coffee borer beetle infestation would be devastating.
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Processing Kona Coffee Beans

Drying coffee on a hoshidana

Processing

Processing Kona coffee beans, from harvesting the cherries on the trees to roasting the beans, is an extremely labor-intensive process. Coffee cherries, red when they’re at the peak of their maturity, are picked by hand from the months of late August to January. The cherries are fermented and washed in clean, fresh water. Then wet milling separates the beans from the outer skin. The beans are then dried. Next they are dry milled to separate the parchment skin from the green beans. And finally the green beans are roasted and bagged.
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