Rancho Aloha has top Kona coffee
Long Mountain and Aikane also place in Gevalia’s contest
KAILUA-KONA » A coffee farm in Holualoa took first place in the 2005 Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition this week in Keauhou.
Located on nearly four acres in Holualoa, Rancho Aloha, owned by Bruce and Lisa Corker, is certified organic by the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association and has been in operation for four years.
"We're so happy and proud to be part of a community that is united in raising such a wonderful product," Lisa Corker said.
Long Mountain Kona of Honaunau, owned by Lewis and Kim Johnson, took second place in the annual competition on Thursday, while third place went to Aikane Kona Coffee of Holualoa, owned by Dr. Alan Wang.
"The top three were clearly the top three, as each had attributes that outdid the others. What set the winner apart? The intense floral fragrance and a mellow body sweetness," said cupping judge John King, of Harold King and Co. "I knew I had to pick that one, because when I went to slurp I couldn't spit it out. It kept revealing itself on my palate."
Master taster Lisslotte Eckhoff said because it is early in the harvest season, some of the coffees still need to mature, but the early testing indicates a good year for Kona brands.
"We had very good coffees this year. Some are not so developed yet, but none of the coffees are bad," she said. "This is going to be a very good year."
Eckhoff is the chief taster for the blind-taste competition's sponsor, Gevalia Kaffe of Sweden.
Nearly 60 farmers submitted entries in the 19th annual competition, a signature event in the two-week Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.
Each farmer submitted a 50-pound sample, from which five pounds were entered into the cupping competition. To be eligible, the coffee submitted must have been harvested in Kona.
The coffees were evaluated in six categories: fragrance, aroma, taste, nose, aftertaste and body.
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, started 35 years ago to promote Kona coffee and honor the industry's pioneers, wraps up today with the Kamehameha School's Grand Parade, including one of the first public appearances by the new Miss Kona Coffee, Iwalani Ynigues.