It’s that time of the year again. The cherries are bright red and picking is in full swing. Over the last year we have seen a dramatic shift of conditions due to changes in volcanic activity on the southside of the island. This year’s crops are on average larger than last year and the quality looks promising. Come celebrate with us at this year’s Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Here is a list of our favorites and some insider tips to get you excited and ensure you have the best experience.
PHOTOS: Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
An Insider's Guide to the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
This year, from November 1-10th, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates 49 years of bringing farmers, coffee enthusiasts, artists, community and culture together over a delicious cup of 100% Kona Coffee. Consistent with recent trends, this year’s event offers more than ever before, and we are shaking with anticipation (or maybe it’s copious amounts of coffee).
On November 1st at 6:00PM, you best be downtown in Historic Kailua Village for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Lantern Parade. Ali`i Drive is transformed into a sea of glowing lights, music, and beaming faces. The parade also culminates with a traditional Bon Dance. Come early (4PM) and decorate lanterns in memories of loved ones and march in the parade!
Also, November 1st check out the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Exhibition and Juried Show at the Donkey Mill Art Center. Lovers of coffee and art will not be disappointed. See local art celebrating all things Kona Coffee while sipping on local 100% Kona Coffee. Open 10AM-6PM. Repeats Nov. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9.
Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll
Our all-time favorite event kicks off the festivities on Saturday, November 2nd, 9AM-3PM. The Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll gets everyone in the Kona Coffee Festival spirit, offering all the best art and coffee in one incredible location. Check out amazing artists, food and culture in the truly unique and historic Holualoa Village. Insider’s tip: This is one of the best opportunities to try dozens of different local 100% Kona coffees. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite. We will be there with hot dark and medium roast from our Single Estate as well as our much beloved and highly touted Kona Cold Brew. We recommend bringing a tasting mug of your own to avoid unnecessary waste.
Break out your fancy slippahs. The Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition begins at 5:30PM on November 2nd at this year’s new location; The beautiful and historic Aloha Theatre in Kealakekua. Support these talented and beautiful contestants in the preliminary pageant for the Miss Hawaii and Miss America Scholarship.
Do You Know How To Make That Perfect Cup of Coffee? Mark your calendar if you are interested in learning to brew a perfect cup of 100% Kona. Learn the basics of storing, brewing and tasting coffee. $15 workshop fee applies. The workshop is on November 3rd and 4th at the Kona Cooperative Extension Office Conference Room. Morning or afternoon session available 9AM-11AM or 1:30PM-3:30PM.
On November 3rd Pick coffee with friends and family at the always fun and exciting UCC Kona Coffee Picking and Farm Experience at UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate. Two tours are being offered again this year - one starting at 10:00AM and one starting at 1:00PM. No reservations required. Insider’s tip: This is a great event for the whole family.
Things get even tastier…on November 3rd at the KTA Super Stores Kona Coffee Recipe Contest; Hawaii Community College - Palamanui from 9:00AM -2:00PM. Insider’s tip: This is a tasting event. Samples will be available after the competition. Select vendors will be outside where you can sample and buy coffee, art, and treats.
Kona Coffee Barista Training
On November 4th Kona Coffee & Tea Company (that’s us) will be hosting a Kona Coffee Barista Training. Our good friends at Pacific Coffee Research are offering training sessions for baristas, industry professionals and coffee enthusiasts. Training includes espresso technique, latte art and manual brewing methods. Limited to 30 participants. $10 pre-registration required here.
Insider’s tip: This is a great event to get in some practice for the Barista Throw-Down on November 7th at the same location.
November 5th may be the perfect day to visit Greenwell Farms for a Seed to Cup Farm Tour. Personally, I am a big fan of their tours. I find them very educational and you can see the different steps and procedures coffee goes through firsthand. They offer two tours daily 10AM and 2PM throughout the festival.
Celebrate with the farmers and coffee community November 6th, 6PM at the Hawaii Coffee Association’s Benefit Dinner & Cupping Awards Presentation at the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel in downtown Kona. There will be live and silent auctions and best of all the cupping results and winners will be revealed!!! $65 with a festival button. Purchase tickets here.
Latte Art Throw-Down
We are hosting the 3rd annual Kona Coffee Latte Art Throw-Down November 7th, from 6PM-9PM. In collaboration with our friends at Pacific Coffee Research, baristas will compete for a grand prize trip from Alaska Airlines to the Mainland. $5.00 buy-in for competitors here, FREE entry to watch with festival button. Insider’s tip: If you have never seen a latte art throwdown, this is a great opportunity to experience the energy and passion and to support your favorite local barista.
On November 8th attend the Kona Coffee 101 Seminar at the Maka`eo County Pavilion from 4PM-5PM and learn all things 100% Kona. Hang out for a bit because 5:30PM-7:30PM the Aloha Makahiki Concert will show off some amazing Hula and Cultural dance. A food truck will be on site.
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Ho’olaule’a
November 9th is the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Ho’olaule’a at the Maka`eo County Pavilion 9AM-4PM. Celebrate Kona Coffee and its cultural heritage with Art, Entertainment, Food and more. Insider’s tip: This is the highlight of the Festival for many people. Here, you have all the art, culture, personalities, and great coffee under one roof (and outside on the grass). It is also another opportunity to sample and buy 100% Kona Coffee direct from the purveyors.
Closing the amazing week of festivities on 10th of November is The Grand Finale… A Taste of Kona! 5PM-9PM. At the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Local chefs, music and dancing under the stars will highlight this premier event. Talk with the Kona Coffee Crown Cupping Competition Judges and winners. There will be a silent auction as well. Tickets are $50 and VIP $80 online here.
There is no way we could put all the events and happenings into one post without breaking the internet so here is your last Insider’s tip: Go to the official Kona Coffee Cultural Festival website and check out a full listing of ALL the events and happenings. Make sure you purchase your Festival Button, so you don’t miss out on any of the events and check out the Festival Magazine full of information, maps, coupons, and schedules.
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