For the last 42 years, the Big Island of Hawaii has celebrated its world-famous java each November at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. This year’s celebration of all things coffee and more begins today (Friday) and continues through Nov. 11 at various venues on the leeward (Kailua-Kona) side of the island.
One of the most important, and interesting, events is the cupping competition Wednesday and Thursday. Visitors are invited to sip the entrants’ brews alongside judges who will be evaluate the various Kona blends in a variety of categories. They include aroma and fragrance, acidity, sweetness and, of course, overall flavor. The contest will be at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou. A $3 festival badge, sold at the hotel, is required to participate.
A variety of cultural events, ongoing throughout much of the festival, will be held at the Makaeo County Pavilion at the site of the old Kona airport. Highlights include hands-on demonstrations of Hawaiian quilting, lei making and lauhala weaving, in which the leaves of the Panadanos plant are used to create mats, baskets and boxes.
Tours of coffee farms and mills are also being offered. An evening parade on Nov. 10 will feature floral floats and marching bands, with lanterns lighting the way.