Cupping, a formal coffee judging scored by industry professionals, evaluates single estate farms and large farm coffee entries in a blind tasting – including an exacting sniff, slurp and taste test – for each entry.
At the helm of this year’s Kona Coffee Cupping Competition are Brian Webb and Brit Horn of Pacific Coffee Research, a certified Specialty Coffee Association training campus in South Kona. Their state-of-the-art cupping laboratory, with its consistent and controlled environment crucial for formally evaluating coffee, serves as the venue for the panel of judges who will grade about 100 farm entries. After two days of marathon tasting sessions, the top 10 farm entries advance to the finals.
As new varieties, cultivation techniques, and processing methods become more popular in Kona, cuppers continue to score on smooth, low-acidity flavor that many see as the traditional Kona coffee profile. Important to note, all Kona coffee farm entries are marked with an anonymous number for a true blind taste competition.
Two competitive divisions –
Classic single estate farms
Crown reserved for larger farms