The Hawai‘i Coffee Association (HCA) was formed in 1995. Its membership joins people together in every coffee sector from all islands: growers, processors, roasters and retailers. Service companies outside of the coffee industry such as agricultural product vendors, bag makers and shippers also hold membership. The HCA brings the industry sectors together to discuss labeling rules, agricultural issues, quality improvement and marketing.
The HCA hosts an annual conference in the Islands. It boasts a trade show, barista training, business meetings, guest speakers, a farm tour and industry updates. The conference is open to everyone interested in the Hawai‘i coffee industry.
Hawai‛i Coffee Growers Association
Formed in late 1989 as an out-growth of participants in a state-wide coffee variety experiment, the Hawai‛i Coffee Growers Association (HCGA) concentrates on farming-related issues. While the membership consists of fairly few farms, they represent over 80 percent of the coffee acreage in the state. The group focuses on the growing and production of coffee, with most of their current energies concentrated on the HARC breeding program and pesticide registration.
The Kona Coffee Council (KCC), formed in 1985, brings together the entire coffee industry in the Kona region. Its members can be farmers, processors, roasters and retailers. With regular workshops, the KCC educates its members and consumers about all aspects of coffee. Its enduring goal is to promote and protect high-quality Kona coffee locally and internationally.
The Kona Coffee Farmers Association (KCFA) formed in 2006. The KCFA is composed of farmers who promote and protect high-quality Kona coffee locally and internationally. In addition, they promote legislation mandating a minimum of 75 percent Kona coffee in any blend that carries the Kona name. Plus, the association rejects importation of green beans into Hawai‛i, field testing and planting of GM coffee and the use of varieties other than ‘Kona Typica’.
Started in 2005, the Maui Coffee Association (MCA) unites Maui’s coffee community. The MCA is a member of the HCA. The group educates people about Maui coffee, encourages and improves coffee growing, and represents the Maui coffee industry in local and state politics. It holds open, monthly meetings and sponsors education workshops for all who are interested. They also host the annual Seed to Cup festival.
Below is a list of some prominent organizations outside of the Islands in which many Hawai‘i coffee people participate.
World Coffee Research’s mission is to grow, protect, and enhance supplies of quality coffee while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it. It accomplishes this by coordinating scientific research within or across existing research institutions. It then serves as a platform for disseminating that information.
By 1982 enough people had been thinking about specialty coffee to prompt the formation of the world’s largest coffee trade organization—the Specialty Coffee Association of America. In 2016, it merged with its European counterpart to form the Specialty Coffee Association. The group has taken the lead in defining specialty coffee, establishing standards, training cuppers and educating the world about coffee. The SCA is an excellent resource for anyone curious about specialty coffee.
This is a trade guild of the SCA. The members are passionate roasters who feel quality is the defining criterion for success as a roaster. The Guild exists to support the development and promotion of the roasting profession. They offer and participate in a variety of educational opportunities ranging from classes to retreats.
This is a trade guild of the SCA. The guild primarily serves as a medium for discussion and education about all things related to coffee brewing. They offer and participate in a variety of educational and competitive opportunities.
This is a trade guild of the SCA. The recently formed guild supports specialty coffee through the development of professional technicians. They aspire to provide mutual support and knowledge as well as opportunities to develop skills and learn best practices
The Cup of Excellence (COE) program finds exceptional coffees in each participating country. Within a country, coffees are submitted to a series of cupping competitions that begin on a regional level and culminate in a competition judged by internationally acclaimed cuppers. The winning coffees are labeled with the prestigious Cup of Excellence Award and are sold to the highest bidder in an international auction.
Established in 1963, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) is the main intergovernmental group for coffee. It brings together producing and consuming countries to address global issues.
The National Coffee Association of USA (NCA), founded in 1911, is also a coffee trade organization. It is known for its quarterly compilation of industry statistics and annual survey of national drinking trends.
The Association and Information on Coffee (ASIC) began in 1966 as a non-governmental body to study coffee science. Today, it is the only unaffiliated scientific body whose sole purpose is to facilitate communication between scientists working on all aspects of coffee. ASIC’s biennial scientific conferences alternate locations between producing countries and consuming countries.
There are many books about coffee that range from the fun and goofy to completely academic. While my own personal library has nearly 100 items it, that is a bit much to suggest. Below are some books that fall on the side of educational and academic, especially about Hawai‘i, that I think are worth reading.
Every year since 1970, the community of Kona has hosted the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Held in early November, mid-harvest, the ten-day event celebrates the mighty bean that defines Kona.
The festival kicks off with The International Lantern Parade followed by a traditional Bon dance. Local entertainment, food and, of course, Kona coffee samplings are available.
The quaint historic village of Hōlualoa hosts The Kona Coffee & Art Stroll. Each gallery partners with a farm, bringing two worlds together for an unusual partnership. As partygoers meander through town, they can easily find coffee samples and coffee-inspired apparel and art.
Ueshima Coffee Company hosts a cherry-picking experience, the Kona Historical Society offers guided tours of the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, the Donkey Mill Art Center hosts a coffee-themed art exhibit and KTA Superstores hosts the Kona Coffee Recipe Contest.
In recent years, cafes have been hosting a latte art throwdown. Baristas from various Kona cafes gather in a fun, lighthearted environment to compete for the best latte artist in town.
The signature event of the festival is the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. More than sixty farms submit their coffees for the two-day event. The first day, a panel of judges eliminates most of the coffees. The following day, the coffees are re-cupped to select the winners. The first-place farm claims glory, respect and bragging rights for the year.
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is a wonderful, high-energy event. While both locals and visitors enjoy the variety of events, locals also get the chance to step back and glow with pride over their regional treasure.
The Maui Coffee Association hosts this one-day event each year to celebrate their cherished bean. The event allows visitors to meet farmers, roasters and other industry members. Numerous competitions are held throughout the day, including ones for latte art, roasting and a fashion show for clothing made from coffee paraphernalia. Of course, coffee-inspired food, coffee and entertainment are available during the entire festival.
Why stop with a chocolate festival when you celebrate coffee, too? This charming two-day festival occurs annually in Hanapēpē. The coffee community joins together to offer seminars, demos and tastings of Kaua‘i’s delicious brew. In addition, many local businesses set up booths to create a festive social and shopping experience.
Below is a list of the major global coffee competitions. They celebrate the skills of baristas, roasters and baristas, creating space and purpose to expand beyond the limits of the various disciplines. Like all international competitions, those that compete are fueled by a passion that pushes them to train and explore their craft in ways they never expected. Each has a U.S. counterpart which feeds into the international competition.
Ozburn-Hessey Logistics was a defendant in a lawsuit concerning the storage of green coffee. I served as an expert witness on their behalf.