Monday, July 22, 2013

OK Farms Takes 2nd at Hawai'i Coffee Association 2013 Cupping Competition

Troy Keolanui takes time from farming coffee and other crops to show visitors around OK Farms. OK Farms coffee, milled at Ka'u Coffee Mill, took second place in Hawai'i Coffee Association's statewide Commercial Division at last weekend's convention.
Photo by Andrew Hara
Connected Ka'u coffee was the second place win at the Hawai'i Coffee Association 2013 Cupping Competition by OK Farms in the statewide Commercial Division. Troy Keolanui said this morning that he is very pleased with OK Farms coffee taking second. OK Farms, which stands for Olson-Keolanui, is located in Hilo and is a sister company to Ka'u Coffee Mill, which took OK’s winning coffee from cherry to the green beans entered in the contest. Keolanui is manager and partner in OK Farms and a partner in Ka'u Coffee Mill. “We are one in the same," he said. "We operate with a lot of the same practices and are under the same management team, including Ed Olson and John Cross. The Ka'u Coffee Mill equipment and expertise helped make OK a winning coffee.” In addition to growing coffee, Keolanui grows a variety of fruit trees and other crops and often leads visitors and local residents on tours of the farms.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a

Photos by Andrew Hara

The Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a drew more than a thousand people to the grounds of the Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 4, 2013, in celebration of 17 years of Ka'u coffee becoming a new industry for the district, with small businesses and small farms creating a worldwide reputation.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared the week of the festival Ka'u Coffee Week.

A cultural exchange based around the festival was further forged between the small community of Lana`i and halau members in Pahala and from Japan.

Lori Lei Shirakawa’s hula studio presented dancers from tiny keiki to kupuna, accompanied by Gene Akamu, Lori Lei and friends. Cyril Pahinui, D, Gene and Curtis, and Debbie Ryder were among the performers along with Keoki Kahumoku and his 'ukulele kids.

Gwen Edwards, Triple C Recipe Contest Winner
The many labels of Ka'u coffee were shared with visitors and local residents who also visited farms and the Ka'u Coffee Mill and tasted coffees brewed using various methods at the Ka'u Coffee Experience.

Craft, food and entertainment vendors added to the collection of community members present at the festival.

Jeanette Howard was awarded a $1,000 check for winning the Buy Local, It Matters raffle.

Mahalo for your support. Check back soon for next year's dates!

Ka'u Star Gazing from Makanau

Photos by Andrew Hara
On Friday, May 3, 2013, we offered a unique opportunity for the public to not only visit Makanau, a Hawaiian historic sacred site and lookout place, but to taste a selection of wine and beer as they star gazed.

'Imiloa astronomer Shawn Laatsch gave a lecture on stars from Makanau as the sun set. While the clouds, which brought much needed rain to the coffee farms, prevented many stars from being seen that night, the astronomer used the sky as a backdrop for teaching the group about Ka'u’s night skies.

Before dark, the group was able to see the view from Makanau over ranch lands and onto a long stretch of undeveloped coastline.

The name of the tabletop mountain, Makanau, incorporates the Hawaiian word for eyes, “maka.”

Participants paid $35 per person in advance and received Ka'u Coffee, wine, beer and snacks.

This event might be held again next year so check back later for a date!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ka'u Mountain Water Hike To Become A Regular Ka'u Coffee Mill Event

Photos by Andrew Richard Hara
The Ka'u Mountain Water Systems Hike on Wednesday led walkers from 25 to 75 years of age onto old plantation trails, into the rainforest above Wood Valley Road and to old tunnels and water systems once used to carry sugar cane to the Pahala sugar mill.

The event, one of many during the ten days of the Ka'u Coffee Festival sold out, and we hope to offer it on a more regular basis to our visitors.

During the trek, Olson Trust land manager John Cross explained plans to use the plantation water sources for a new hydroelectric plant that will run Ka'u Coffee Mill and other farm enterprises as well as provide irrigation water for crops like taro and watercress.

Shalan Crysdale, Hawai'i Island Director for The Nature Conservancy, talked about the rainforest and the preservation of the watershed and endangered species, as well as a partnership with the Edmund C. Olson Trust II to eradicate invasive species such as kahili ginger from the native forest.

Tonight's event is Ka'u Star Gazing on Makanau Mountain at 5:30 p.m., meeting at the Edmund C. Olson Trust II building on the corner of Maile St. and Pikake St. in Pahala. The $35 per person event is sold out and includes a talk from an 'Imiloa astronomer, as well as Ka'u Coffee and snacks.

For more photos from the event, click here.

Triple C Recipe Contest 2nd Annual Results

Photos by Andrew Richard Hara
Coca Mocha Roca
Our 2nd Annual Triple C Recipe Contest, which also celebrated the Visitor Center's first year open, brought many contestants and onlookers to the mill. Contestants used Ka'u Coffee to make cookies, candies and crackers. Our Grand Prize winner, Gwen Edwards, took home $500 for her Coca Mocha Roca, plus $150 for winning the Amateur Candy category.

Mocha Biscotti Frosted w/Chocolate
The event was held April 28 at Ka'u Coffee Mill with five judges, the third event in ten days of the Ka'u Coffee Festival. Judges for the recipe contest were Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya, Chef Brad Hirata, Na'alehu Market and Wiki Wiki Mart owner Carl Okuyama, Ka'u Coffee Mill Chief Roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele and Lou Daniele, also of Ka'u Coffee Mill.

Ka'u Coffee Honu Crunch
In the Amateur Candy category, where Edwards also took first, she was followed by second-place winner Rosaria Chelsea-Lynn taking home $100 for her Ka'u Coffee Honu Crunch, and Nadine Ebert taking home $50 for her Chocolate Frosted Coffee Candy.

Ka'u Coffee Cookie Delights
In the Amateur Cookie category, Masako Sakata took first and $150 for her Ka'u Coffee Cookie Delights, second place and $100 went to Angelica Kawewehi for her Ka'u Coffee Doodles and third place and $50 went to Nadine Ebert for her Mocha Biscotti Frosted with Chocolate.

Ka'u Bull Quakers
In the Amateur Cracker category, Lisa Dacalio took first and $100 with her Ka'u Bull Quakers. Masako Sakata took second and $100 with her Ka'u Coffee Icing on Crackers. Mrs. Sakata donated both of her awards to next years Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant as a $250 scholarship.

Ka'u Coffee Brownies
In the Professional Cookie category, Aikane Plantation Coffee and Kapolei High Schools Culinary Program took home $150 and first place for Ka'u Coffee Brownies. Trini Marques took home second and $100 for Ka'u Coffee Chocolate Dipped Pleasures.

Ka'u Coffee Melts
In the Professional Cracker category, Trini Marques took first and earned $150 for her Ka'u Coffee Melts.

Coffee Chocolate Bites
In the Student Cookie category, Sarah Beth Passarelli took first with Coffee Chocolate Bites, earning her $150. Second and $100 went to Lorilee Lokenani Lorenzo with her Coffee Macnut Pie Crust Bars, and third and $50 went to Ka'u Middle School Uplink After-School All-Stars with their Uplink All-Star Cookies.

Coffee Macnut Candy
In the Student Candy category, Lorilee Lokenani Lorenzo took first and $100 with her Coffee Macnut Candy.

For more photos from the event, click here.

Miss Ka'u Coffee 2013

Miss Ka'u Coffee 2013 Tiare-Lee Shibuya.
Photos by Geneveve Fyvie
Ka'u Coffee Mill
Founder Edmund C.
Olson Crowns
Tiare-Lee Shibuya.
Tiare-Lee Shibuya, daughter of police officer Dane and Terry-Lee Shibuya, of Wai'ohinu, became Miss Ka'u Coffee Friday night, April 26, during the pageant that kicked off ten days of Ka'u Coffee Festival events. Tiare-Lee is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, attends Hawai'i Community College and plans to be a nurse. Her talent was hula. She won a $1,000 scholarship presented by the Edmund C. Olson Trust II.

First Princess
Seneca Lee Oleyte.
First Princess is Seneca Lee Oleyte, of Pahala. She is 22 and the daughter of Ernest and Lenora Lorenzo-Oleyte. She attends University of Hawai'i in Hilo and studies communications. She is a graduate of Ka'u High School. Her talent was singing. She won a $500 scholarship presented by Ka'u Coffee Festival chair Chis Manfredi.

Award-winning Ka'u
coffee grower Lorie
Obra crowns
Second Princess
Rachel Ornelas.
Second Princess is Rachel Ornelas, of Wai'ohinu. She is the daughter of Mia Ornelas and resides with her grandparents, Mario and Memmy Ornelas. She is 19, graduated from Ka'u High School and attends University of Hawai'i at Hilo, studying to be a nurse. Her talent was singing. She won a $400 scholarship presented on behalf of Sen. Russell Ruderman donating $250 and Rep. Richard Onishi donating $150.

Third Princess
Kawailani Houvener.
Third Princess is Kawailani Houvener, of Ocean View. She is 17 and the daughter of Michelle and Kenneth Houvener. She is a senior at Ka'u High School and plans to sign up for the Army and study mechanics. Her talent was hula. She won a $300 scholarship with Punalu'u Bake Shop donating $250 and Miss Bobby Tucker donating $50.

Former Miss Peaberry
Rebecca Lynn
The reigning Miss Peaberry, Rebecca Lynn Kailiawa-Escobar, wowed the crowd with a dance, a speech and gown presentation. The reigning Miss Ka'u Coffee performed a beautiful hula dance and welcomed her sister as her successor.

The Talent and Gown categories were won by Shibuya. Ornelas took home the Education scholarship, and Houvener took home the Miss Photogenic prize.

Ka'u Coffee Mill Founder Edmund C.
Olson with Former Miss Ka'u Coffee
Brandy Shibuya.
Emcees Bobby and Phoebe Gomes entertained, with Phoebe singing and playing 'ukulele. Before announcing the judges’ decisions, Bobby said about the candidates, “They are all winners.”

The queen and her court will attend many festival events through May 5. Upcoming events include Ka'u Star Gazing tonight at Makanau, and the day-long ho'olaule'a at Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ka'u Coffee Mill Honored in Top 10 Worldwide Roaster's Choice Awards for 2013

Ka'u crew representing Ka'u Coffee and Ka'u as a visitor destination at Boston Convention Center:
Ka'u Coffee Mill founder Edmund C. Olson, coffee farmer Sammie Stanbro, Ka'u Coffee Mill general manager John Cross, chief roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele, harvest manager Lou Daniele, The Ka`u Calendar publisher Julia Neal and interns William Neal and Lee Neal. Front and center is multiple SCAA Coffees of the Year competition top 10 winner Bull Kailiawa.
Ka'u Coffee Mill team returned from the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Expo. in Boston, MA, this weekend with an award in hand. Ka'u Coffee Mill Chief Roasters Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele and Lee Segawa co-roasted an entry that placed in the top ten worldwide in the coveted Roasters Choice awards for 2013. Rusty's Hawaiian - a fellow Ka'u Coffee producer - was placed alongside the Ka'u Coffee Mill in the top ten.
Coffee farmer Sammie Stanbro shows off the many varieties of Ka`u Coffee. Photo by Julia Neal
       Roasters Choice is sponsored by the Roasters Guild, which is the trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The SCAA considers itself the world’s coffee knowledge leader and largest coffee trade association.
      The top 10 coffees were showcased with two mornings of tasting at the Brew Bar in the convention center on Saturday and Sunday. Winning coffees were three from Colombia, two from Ka'u (as mentioned above) and one each from El Salvador, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ecuador.
      Chief roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui -Daniele represented Ka'u Coffee Mill at the event. Daniele said the win, which she shares with Lee Segawa, another chief roaster, confirms that Ka'u has incredible coffee. It shows that the mill, which was built by Edmund C. Olson to help farmers save time and distance for processing their coffee, is also gaining a reputation as a fine roaster.
Multiple international award winner Bull Kailiawa and founder Ed Olson show off Ka`u Coffee in Boston.
Photo by Julia Neal
      The tasting notes for the competition described the Ka'u Coffee Mill entry as coming from typica beans. The notes call it "rich in flavor with piquant acidity and intriguing hints of sweetness and spice. Citrus and jasmine aroma. Fresh butter undertones, hints of lime, currant, bergamot and a long spiced finish.” The roast philosophy reported by Ka'u Coffee Mill is: “Delicate Hawaiian coffees are required to be lightly roasted to enhance their exquisite taste profiles. Therefore, our preference is to roast at the lower end of the roast spectrum to ensure our customers taste our crop in each cup!”
      Also attending the SCAA convention for the fourth year was Bull Kailiawa. His coffee is a multiple winner of SCAA awards and is a feature product at the Ka'u Coffee Mill Visitor Center in Wood Valley.