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Cupping contest debuts two US Coffee Champs events

Presented by:
Hawaii Coffee Association

HONOLULU-Coffee industry professionals from across the state will assemble July 25-27 for the 24th Annual Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) Conference and 11th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition at the Ala Moana Hotel. In addition to a robust lineup of speakers and workshops, this year’s program includes preliminary rounds for two US Coffee Champs events: the 2020 Brewers Cup and Barista Competition, plus tours of the Ko Hana Rum Company and the Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center (HARC) in Kunia.

“The HCA is especially excited to be hosting our 24th Annual Conference on O‘ahu,” notes HCA President Chris Manfredi. “We’re taking advantage of the urban setting to reach new businesses and consumers and help bridge the gap between these communities and our members who produce some of the finest coffees grown anywhere. What’s more, we’re witnessing the emergence of the next generation of coffee industry leaders.”

Ric Rhinehart, past executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), will give the keynote address, “The Future of Specialty Coffee.” Rhinehart has been outspoken about the importance of sustainability work in the coffee sector, particularly regarding the millions of smallholder farmers on whom the coffee industry relies.

Headlining the speaker lineup of educational presentations is Dr. Sarada Krishnan to discuss “Adapting to Climate Change: Knowledge About Coffee Pest and Diseases, Specifically Coffee Leaf Rust.” The Director of Horticulture and Center for Global Initiatives at Denver Botanic Gardens, Dr. Krishnan owns coffee plantations in Jamaica and was recently involved in developing the Global Strategy for the Conservation of Coffee Genetic Resources. Dr. Krishnan will introduce some of the major coffee pests and diseases while delving into coffee leaf rust.

In addition, “The Microbiology of Coffee Processing” will be presented by Zack Scott of Lallemand/Lalcafe to explore the background of yeast and the basic microbial activity at the mill. Andrew Hetzel, of the Specialty Coffee Association, will host a “SCA Town Hall” to update attendees on the latest SCA news and take questions. Also of interest, a pair of speaker sessions will address the underlying technology and litigation surrounding the class action suit brought against alleged coffee counterfeiters.

Other presentations include the launch of a coffee science program by Dr. William Ristenpart, director of the U.C. Davis Coffee Center; “Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan” by content creator Denise Laitinen and “Soil Health in Hawai‘i” by Jayme Barton, horticultural scientist at HARC.

Workshops will cover coffee roasting, processing, harvesting and brewing. Presenters from several Hawai‘i research facilities will provide project updates and answer questions.

The HCA conference offers a trade show and all activities are open to industry professionals and the media. Visit to sign up; registered attendees can receive a special HCA accommodations rate at the Ala Moana Hotel. Also available online are links for cupping contest entry, sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.

“We’re thrilled to be showcasing the best in Hawaiian coffee on O‘ahu and the hard-working farmers and processors that produce it,” adds Manfredi. “More than ever, we will be highlighting those who market, brew and serve Hawaiian coffee. This year’s conference is shaping up to be a must-attend event for all those with a connection to Hawaiian coffee.”

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawai‘i coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees. A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention. Learn more about the HCA at

Learn more about the Hawai‘i coffee industry at

Supported by State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture

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