First Annual Ka'u Coffee Festival

Off-The-Beaten-Path Ka'u Proves Fertile Grounds

First Annual Ka'u Coffee Festival

Last year at this time, we at B on Hawaii were made privy to a little known secret, the origins of which came wafting through the sulfur-tinged air of south Hawai'i. A handful of farmers in the Ka'u district of Hawaiii Island (a.k.a. "The Big Island") were giving more than the ole college try at growing, harvesting and roasting coffee. And while those of you unfamiliar with Hawai'i geography might be saying "Well duh! There's been Kona coffee for as long as I can remember!", this is on the opposite side of the island from Kona—with no less than three different ecological climates (Hawaii's tallest, snow-capped mountain and a magma-gurgling volcano, to name two) between them.

The soil conditions, temperatures, rainfall and so on in Ka'u are proving to be incredibly positive in the production of top-tier coffee. So much so, that one of the few brews from here placed 6th in a worldwide, blind tasting in 2007 (Will & Grace Tabios' "Rising Sun" blend); another Ka'u varietal took 9th place the same year. In 2008, yet a third brew from Ka'u Forest Coffee came in 11th place.

This April you'll have the chance to see and taste what all the buzz (sorry, couldn't resist) is about, at the first annual Ka'u Coffee Festival, to be held in the plantation town of Pahala from April 24 — 26, 2009.

There, you will be able to sample the goods from Ka'u's budding coffee farms, speak with the farmers directly, sample local foods harvested throughout south Hawai'i and tour the farms themselves. For the keiki, there will be games, crafts and educational booths. Visitors can participate and vote in the Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant, as well as in recipe and song contests. In addition, there will be an on-site Ka'u Coffee Academy, which will offer day-long workshops that explain the process of Ka'u coffee farming and roasting.

If you have never been to this charming district, and appreciate verdant hillsides, ranching culture and quaint villages, this is the perfect opportunity to experience something new. To read an editorial from B on Hawaii's jaunt to Ka'u last year, paste the following link in to your address bar:

For more information on the Ka'u Coffee Festival, visit or call 808 929-9550.

This April you'll have the chance to taste what all the buzz is about at the first annual Ka'u Coffee Festival, from April 24 — 26, 2009.