Last weekend (May 1-2), the sleepy town of Pahala, on the southeast side of the Big Island, woke up. For the second year, it celebrated its increasingly famous crop: coffee.
The Ka‘u Coffee Festival was a small affair with big heart. Like the first festival, everyone was surprised by the vibrancy and excitement that permeated the event. Anyone who didn’t make it to the Ka‘u Coffee Festival ought to be feeling a bit of regret by now.
The bulk of the Ka‘u Coffee Festival took place on Saturday. From 9 am to 5 pm, the Pahala community center was filled coffee, music, food, booths, coffee, and coffee fanatics. Not only were there attendees from the Big Island but people flew in from other islands and the mainland, as well!
On both days, farm tours were available for all who were interested. On Sunday, the focus of the day was education.
Aside from the friends and good cheer, there were several highlights for me.
-The coffee tasting: 18 farms’ coffee brewed in Chemexs hosted by myself, The Pete, and R Miguel was a fantastic way to organoleptically explore the coffees of the region.
-The recipe contest: Sweet and savory treats, all made with Ka‘u coffee. Who knew a latte cinnamon roll could be so good?
-Music: All day long, musicians treated to auditory delight. I was particularly fond of Bolo and his guitar-ukulele combo.
-Education: I gave a talk about coffee plant nutrition, the esteemed Andrew Hetzel gave a blitzkrieg overview of cupping, and R Miguel dazzled the crowd with a tasting of coffees processed (well and poorly) by different methods.
If you’ve not had a chance to explore Ka‘u, taste its coffee, or meet its farmers, then you should consider attending next year’s festival. For some of Bolo’s music and images of the 2009 Ka‘u Coffee Festival (very similar to this year’s festival), watch this brief, yet awesome) video.
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