2022 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

Cupping Competition Rules and

Registration Information Rules


  1. Any coffee entered into the competition must be 100% Kona coffee. Coffee must be grown in the district of Kona.
  2. Competition coffees will be scored on the globally accepted and recognized Specialty Coffee Association cupping format and scoring methodology using a 100 point scale. Coffees will be evaluated in a double-blind format. 
  3. Competitors may enter either the Kona Crown or Kona Classic division. 
  • Kona Crown: The rules in the Crown Division are designated by Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC) and this division is reserved for larger operations. Growers or processors may enter this division. Coffee may be grown by entrants or purchased from other Kona coffee farms. Corporate brands and multi-estate coffees are eligible as long as they are 100% Kona. Coffee may be entered under the name of the farm owner, farm manager, farm name or corporation. Only one entry per entity.  Submissions within this category must enter a representative 2 lb sample of a 500 lb lot minimum. The 500 lb lot must be certified by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture prior to entering the competition and the 2 lb sample must be selected from the certified lot. The Certification of Quality and Declaration of Origin must be graded Kona Number 1 or better and must meet all Hawai’i state standards for certified 100% Kona green bean coffee. Submissions will not be accepted without a copy of this certificate. UCC Coffee reserves the right to purchase some or all of the first, second and/or third place coffees at fair market value. Terms of sale will be net 30 days from the date of the cupping finals, November 11, 2022.
    • The Kona Crown Award is given to the top three scoring coffees in the KCCF Cupping Competition Crown Division using the Specialty Coffee Association cupping scoring system and protocol. 
    • Please see a copy of appropriate HDoA Certification attached.


  • Kona Classic: This division is reserved for growers of smallholder farms. Each entrant is limited to three entries per Farm (not TMK). All coffees entered from each farm will be cupped, scores published, and reports distributed but only the highest scoring coffee per farm will be eligible for an award. Each entry must be differentiated by variety, cultivation method, processing method, and/or inoculation technique.
  • Each entry must be under the direct control (owned, leased, rented, or managed) of the entrant by the date of the first round of cupping
    • The Kona Classic Award is given to the top three scoring coffees in the KCCF Cupping Competition using the Specialty Coffee Association cupping scoring system and protocol. 
  • Kona Heritage Profile Award: In celebration of the Kona Coffee Heritage profile, coffees in the Kona Classic division will also be evaluated against a pre-defined profile for the Kona Heritage Profile Award. 
    • The Kona Heritage Award is defined as a coffee that is grown in the Kona district, Kona Typica variety, and an uninoculated parchment-dried process (AKA, washed without use of commercial inoculants/yeasts/bacteria), grown either organically or conventionally.
    • All coffees entered in the Kona Classic division, meeting these requirements, are automatically considered for the Heritage Profile Award. 
    • One award will be given to the coffee earning the highest SCA score in combination with meeting the Kona profile criteria.

4. Each entity entering coffee into the Kona Classic division may enter up to three unique submissions, however, they must be differentiated by variety, cultivation method, or processing method. Definitions of acceptable differentiation within these categories are listed below:

A. Variety: Meaning differences in genetic variety of the coffee plant. Examples of Arabica varieties more commonly grown in Hawai’i include but are not limited to: Typica or Kona Typica or Guatemala Typica, Bourbon, Maragogype, Mokka, SL-28, SL-34, Pacamara, Caturra, Catuai, etc. Arabica is not a coffee variety, it is a species.

B. Cultivation Method: This refers to conventional vs organic growing methods. Only samples which are certified organic by the USDA or another recognized standards organization will be accepted as organic, otherwise the sample will be considered conventional. Any details provided on the entry form regarding cultivation method will be published along with the final scores; however, for purposes of differentiating coffee entries from the same entity, only coffees with provable certification will be considered organic. 

C. Processing Method: For the purposes of this competition the only accepted processing method designations are:

  1. Fruit-Dried (“natural process”, coffee dried in whole fruit) 
  2. Pulp-Dried (“honey process”, coffee dried in pulp with skin removed), 
  3. Parchment-Dried (“washed process”, coffee dried in parchment with skin and pulp removed by fermentation, demucilager, or any other method of pulp removal).

D. Commercial Inoculants: Entrants may also choose to differentiate their submissions by inoculating the parchment or cherry with commercial inoculants/yeast/bacteria. 

For example, it would be acceptable for one entity (farm) to enter the following submissions: Kona-Typica Parchment Dried processed without commercial inoculants and a Kona-Typica Parchment Dried with commercial inoculants as they will be considered two differentiated entries. 

It is not acceptable to enter two identical varieties with the same cultivation and processing methods, both inoculated but with varying fermentation times.

Multiple submissions by the same entity must be differentiated by variety, cultivation method, processing method, or inoculation technique.

Mo5. Scores will be calculated and published to two decimal-points of precision (e.g. 85.65). Coffees receiving the same score to two decimal-points of precision within the same division will be considered to be tied.

6. All entrants into either division must submit 2 lbs of green (unroasted) 100% Kona coffee beans.

a. Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDoA) certification is not required for coffee cupping entries submitted in the Kona Classic division but all entries must meet minimum certification standards.

b. Kona Crown division entries must have HDoA certification; this applies to the total 500-lb lot, not just the entry sample. A copy of the HDoA certificate must be included with the entry. 

c. Any leftover green or roasted samples will not be returned.


7. The cupping competition will take place November 4 – November 7. This is a closed event and not open to the public. However, representatives of the cupping panel will be available at the Cupping Competition Awards Ceremony on November 11 and their contact information will be shared should entrants be interested in following up.


8. Coffees will be cupped in one round:  All coffees will be cupped once and scored using the SCA Cupping Protocol. Coffees will be cupped over a three day period, depending on how many entries are received. Final scores will be tabulated by taking an average of each Cupping Panelists’ score. In cases where a farm has entered more than one coffee into the competition, only the highest scoring coffee per farm will be eligible for an award. Head judge has the right to eliminate any cuppers’ score when out of calibration from the rest of the panel.

9. The score and ranking of all coffees scoring 80.0 points and above (the minimum score to be considered a specialty coffee) will be publicly released. There will be no public release or identification of coffees scoring less than 80.0 points.

10.  All entries will receive a full cupping report via email within one week from the Awards Ceremony on November 11, 2022.


Registration and Payment Information

Entry Fee: $100 per entry

Please register online through the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival website. You may pay online. 

If you are not able to register and pay online, you may request a printable form at the UCC Kiosk or by contacting Brit Horn (info below) and paying via check. Checks should be dropped off or mailed with your green coffee submission. Please make checks payable to Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and submit with your green coffee.

Submissions begin on Monday, October 10, 2022 at 9 am and must be received by Monday, October 31, 2022 at 4 pm. Entries received after this deadline will not be accepted into the competition. 

For each entry, mail or drop off two (2) pounds of green coffee and the completed registration form to:

    1. Drop off address: UCC Kiosk

      75-5568 Mamalahoa Hwy

      Holualoa, HI 96725

      • Drop off hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm

  Monday, Oct. 10 to Friday, Oct. 31



  1. Mail in address: Pacific Coffee Research

   81-990 Halekii St #1969

   Kealakekua , HI 96750

      • Green coffee submissions must be received by Monday, Oct. 31. Please do not mail out submissions on Oct. 31. 


Please contact Pacific Coffee Research with any questions:


[email protected]


Pacific Coffee Research is a third party certified cupping lab soley hired by the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival to manage the logistics of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition and strictly adhering to the rules outlined above. PCR is not on the board of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and is not responsible for the publication of rules, registration, or cupping scores to the KCCF Website, nor is PCR responsible for collecting payment for competition registrations. PCR is not responsible for lost or stolen green coffee submissions that are mailed to the above listed address or dropped off at the UCC Kiosk in Holualoa.