The rich, volcanic soil and mountain slopes of the island proved an ideal climate for coffee growing. At its peak, in the early 1900s, the industry encompassed 6,000 acres. Today there are still approximately 650 farms cultivating coffee in the Kona district (some who’ve been in the business for five generations) covering roughly 3,500 acres with annual production valued at $14 million.
Hawaii’s Longest-Running Food Festival
The first Kona Coffee Festival was held in 1970, making it the longest-running food festival in the Aloha State. “It all started with a group of businesspeople on the island, from the hotels, airlines and the industry, to put together a festival to honor Kona coffee during the slower November tourism season,” festival president Valerie Corcoran said. “It also corresponds with coffee harvest time.”
Nearly 50 Events Over 10 Days
Organizers of the first festival, held over a single weekend, wanted to help put Kona coffee in the international spotlight and increase the island’s visibility as a destination. Now, the festival spans 10 days and includes nearly 50 events, including farm tours, barista training, a recipe contest, coffee-themed art exhibitions, community festival and the high-stakes cupping competition.
About Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
The award-winning Kona Coffee Cultural 2020 Festival starts brewing November 6th through 15th with ten days of events promoting Hawaii’s unique culture and diversity and supporting the Festival’s mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique coffee heritage.
The annual Kona coffee harvest that has sustained Kona’s agricultural community for nearly 200 years is celebrated every November.
The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is supported as a Signature Festival by Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and is made possible through the support of UCC Ueshima Coffee Co., Ltd., Kamehameha Schools, Alaska Airlines, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, KTA Super Stores, and numerous other corporate and community donors. Everyone is invited to come together and visit Kona during the coffee harvest season and celebrate the culture behind the cup.
Celebrate the Harvest
Throughout the 10-day Festival, celebrate the harvest as Kona coffee farms offer a firsthand look at growing this world-famous crop, the coffee art scene fills with inspiration, and music and dance enrich cultural exchanges. Kona coffee and food events offer tastings, and hands-on cultural events help tell the story of Kona’s rich coffee history.