The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival kicks off this year on Friday, November 6, with events stretching through November 15th. Festival organizers seem to be taking advantage of the "cultural" aspect of the festival this go-around, to spotlight a number of unique offerings in and surrounding the Kona location, on Hawai`i's Big Island.
For starters, on opening day of the festival, visitors can tour a thriving aqua and solar thermal energy farm, located at NELHA (Natural Energy Labs of Hawaiian Authority), followed by a lavish lunch banquet that makes use of the farmed goods produced there. Prepared by chefs Paul Heerlein, Betty Saiki and James Lightner, the meal will feature cultured Hawaiian seafood and 100 percent Kona coffee. Attendees will not only experience a once-in-a-lifetime eating extravaganza, but they will learn how scientists and farmers are harnessing the earth's natural elements to provide a sustainable growing environment that exceeds any venture worldwide. Featured products include Big Island Abalone, Kona Cold Lobsters (and crab), Troutlodge Marine butterfish and Kona Bluewater Farms Kona Kampachi. Sponsors of the luncheon include Sapporo beer, Ocean Vodka, Kona Coffee & Tea, and Better Brands (wine and cocktails). Reservations ahead of time are required for this experience.
The Kona Coffee Festival, which is centered around Keauhou Bay and the town of Kailua-Kona, features a Miss Kona Coffee pageant, a parade, a coffee cherry picking contest, various artwork showings and contests, recipe contests, craft sales and historical tours. In addition, throughout the course of the week, world-trained coffee experts "cup", taste and crown a winner for the best Kona coffee beans harvested this year. It's an exciting event that steadily builds to a climax; where the efforts of Hawai`i's top farmers are recognized and awarded. The winning brew is not only awarded the blue ribbon, but cupping sponsor Gevalia commits to purchasing 3,000 pounds of the top coffee.
To boot, if you visit the cupping area (held on the ocean-facing lobby of the Outrigger Keauhou) during the contest days (November 11 and 12), you can sample each of the entrants coffee, gratis. If that's not fuel enough...
Visit the festival's web site at www.KonaCoffeeFest.com for more information.
If you visit the cupping area at the Outrigger Keauhou during the contest days (November 11 and 12), you can sample each of the entrants coffee, gratis.