Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping


Registration and entries are due by Friday, November 2. We will be accepting entries in the lab Monday – Friday between 9 am – 4 pm.

We are honored to be hosting the 2018 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Competition!  If you would like to enter the competition, please read this page and use our online form to submit your entry information. Instructions on where to drop off your coffee are included in this rules and regulations page


  1. Any coffee entered into the competition must be 100% Kona coffee. Coffee must be grown in the district of Kona.
  2. The competition coffees will be scored on the globally accepted and recognized Specialty Coffee Association cupping format and scoring methodology using a 100 point scale. Coffees will be evaluated in a double-blind format.
  3. Competitors may enter either the Crown or Classic division.
    Crown Division

    Growers or processors may enter this division. Coffee may be grown by entrant or purchased from other Kona coffee farms. Corporate brands and multi-estate coffees are eligible as long as they are 100% Kona. Coffee may be entered under the name of the farm owner, farm manager, farm name or corporation. Only one entry per entity. A batch of at least 1000 pounds of green bean coffee must be reserved for the competition. The green beans must be certified graded Number One (#17 screen) or better and must meet all Hawaii state standards for certified 100% Kona green bean coffee. The green beans entered must be sampled from and representative of the 1000 lbs held in reserve. UCC Coffee reserves the right to purchase some or all of the first, second or third place coffee at fair market value. Terms of sale will be net 30 days from the date of the cupping finals.


    Classic Division

    This division is reserved for growers of smallholder farms. Each entrant is limited to one entry per TMK. Each entry must list the farm’s TMK number and that TMK must be under the direct control (owned, leased, rented, or managed) by the date of the first round of cupping, November 13, 2018. Entries submitted into this division will be judged using the SCA cupping format and scoring methodology. In celebration of the Kona coffee Heritage profile, coffees in this division will also be evaluated against a pre-defined profile for the Kona Heritage Profile Award.
    The Kona Heritage Profile Award will be determined by using a format adapted from Dr. Shawn Steiman’s 2017 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival cupping format.
    -The Kona Heritage Profile is defined as a simple, clean cup exhibiting low level acidity, minimal florality, a medium body, medium sweetness, and free of defect. Quantitative definitions of these characteristics will be posted here on our blog in the next few days, so please check back.


  4. Each division will have a first, second, and third place winner.  Within the Classic division, there will be one award given for the Kona Heritage Profile.
  5. Scores will be calculated and published to two decimal-points of precision, (e.g. 85.65). Coffees receiving the same score to two decimal-points of precision within the same division will be considered to be tied.
  6. All entrants into either division must submit 3 lbs of green (unroasted) 100% Kona coffee beans. Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDoA) certification is not required on cupping entries but all entries must meet minimum certification standards. Moisture must be in the range of 9% – 12% and total defects must be less than 20%.  Entries received that do not meet these minimum requirements will not be cupped.
  7. The winning coffees will be announced at the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Cupping Finals at Maka`eo County Pavilion (Old Airport) on November 15 at 2pm. In the event of a tie between any of the top three scores, all coffees with that score will be announced as tied.
  8. Representatives of the cupping panel will be available at the Cupping Finals. They will be giving presentations and offering feedback on what producers can do to influence cup quality. We will be sampling of some of the entered coffees at the Cupping Finals.
  9. The score and ranking of all coffees scoring 80.0 and above (the minimum score to be considered a specialty coffee) will be released. There will be no public release or identification of coffees scoring less than 80.0.
  10. All entries will receive a certificate highlighting the coffee’s positive aspects and a letter listing the rank, score, and additional aspects (negative or positive) that the cuppers detected in your coffee.

Registration and Payment Information

  • Entries may be dropped off or mailed to Pacific Coffee Research.
  • Drop off address:
    83-5308a Mamalahoa Hwy
    Captain Cook, HI 96740
    (old Poke Shack, mile marker 106, mauka side, shared building with Big Jakes BBQ)
  • Drop off times:
    Monday – Wednesday between 9-4 from October 10 – November 2
  • Mail in address:
    Pacific Coffee Research, Inc
    81-990 Halekii St #1969
    Kealakekua , HI 96750
  • Entry forms and payment may be submitted online via our secure entry form. If you do not wish to pay online, please send a check with your coffee submission made out to Pacific Coffee Research, Inc.  Cash payments may be made in person when you drop off your coffee (please do not send cash in the mail).