Thursday, November 13, 2008


 Hawaiians traditionally divided the land into Ahupuaa, a wedge like pie shaped geographical division that stretched from the ocean at its widest to the top of the local mountain at its apex.  This way a given chief would have fish ponds and ocean for fishing and harvesting, lowlands for agriculture and highlands for hunting, providing all their needs.

During the current Kona Coffee Cupping competition the 16 semifinalists in the classic division were announced and there was several striking similarities which we call the Ahupuaa difference, and which we have seen as a similarity in past winners.  4 semifinalists came from the Keauhou region, and all four farms were literally right next door to each other - Buddhas Cup Estate, Imagine Coffee, Kona Earth and in the Crown (big farm) division, Kona Kulana farms. In addition, last years 2nd place winner, Malia Ohana, is right next door to these 4 farms.  Thus the Keauhou Ahupuaa is definitely a stand out for Kona Coffee this year, particularly when you consider that the old Kulana farm won the Gevalia cup twice in the  1990's.

Similarly, in Captain Cook, last years first place farm, Kuaiwi Farm, and third place farm J. Yokoyama, are literally 500 yards apart off Koa road, Just above them is previous winners Pau Hana Coffee and Koa Coffee, thus making what we can call the Captain Cook or Koa Ahupuaa a significant coffee land area.  Further down in Honaunau, on one stretch of land off of what is called Telephone Trunk road, a twisting barely paved trail leading miles up into the rainforest, named after the Hawaiian Telephone building off Hwy. 11, is Terry Fitzgeralds Da Kine Coffee Farm, winner of the Gevalia cup in 1997, and right next door to Terry's place, literally across a trail and adjoining his land, is Pat Pearlman's Pearl Estate coffee, which won the Gevalia Cup two years ago, making them, in my mind, the Lafite and Margaux of Kona Coffee and making the Telephone trunk line a star studded Ahupuaa of its own.

Its just a theory, and elevation and other factors could easily be at work, but soil and terroir of a similar Ahupuaa could be a predictive factor in high quality coffee. We will find out today when the winners are announced. STAY TUNED!!!

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