Hawaii’s newest coffee region has been making quite a name for itself.
At the 2011 Specialty Coffee Association of America Cupping Compettion (SCAA), Ka’u coffee was ranked as the top coffee region in not only Hawaii, but in the world. And one of these Ka’u Coffees, from Kailiawa farms, was selected as one of the top ten coffees in the world.
It’s also the fifth year in a row that Ka’u Coffee has ranked in the top ten.
What is Ka’u Coffee?
Kau Coffee refers to coffee grown on the south slope of the Mauna Loa volcano, about twenty miles south of the “Kona Coffee Belt”. The weather conditions are incredibly similar to those on the West side of Mauna Loa, where the world famous Kona Coffee is grown. The combination of sunny mornings and the natural shade of cloudy afternoons creates ideal conditions to grow coffee.
In fact the Ka’u regions uses the same Kona Typica Coffee Tree as Kona farms. Many of them also use the same Coffee Roasters, such as Greenwell Farms, utilizing Kona’s expertise to create the best coffee available.
The Ka’u District was once comprised of sugar plantations and fishing. But when the last sugar plantation closed down in 1996, fields once used to grow sugar were converted for coffee.
Whereas Kona Coffee has been around for over a hundred years, the Ka’u District is relatively new to the coffee growing game. It seems that they’re making up for lost time.
The Ka’u Coffee farmers also seem to know exactly how to bring out the full flavor of their coffee. One coffee expert referred to the flavor profile of Ka’u Coffee as:
“taste of chocolate, cherry, and coconut, accented with floral notes of orchid and citrus flowers.”
Annual Ka’u Coffee Festival
From May 12-13 the 4th Annual Ka’u Coffee Festival will be taking place in Pahala. The festival is similar in nature to the Kona Coffee Festival, which will be happening November 2-11 later in the year. It’s a three day event, with a “Miss Ka’u Coffee Pageant”, event tastings, and workshops for coffee professionals. Hope to see you there!