Premier Kona Coffee Competition in Hawaii, Sponsored by Gevalia Kaffe®

Annual Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition Held in Hawaii on November 8 and 9, 2006

Tarrytown, NY, – Hawaii is home to a unique history, unsurpassed beauty and unparalleled adventure. Steaming lava flows, idyllic white and black sand beaches, surfers “hanging ten” on the Banzai pipeline, swaying palm trees, sultry hula dancers and torch-lit luaus coexist in dream-like harmony. It is not surprising, then, that Hawaii also produces some of the world’s most exclusive, and some would say, best-tasting coffee in the world – Kona coffee.

Hawaii is also home to one of the key coffee cupping competitions in the United States – the Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition – sponsored for the 12th year by Gevalia Kaffe®, fine purveyor of gourmet coffee. Every year, dozens of Kona coffee farmers gather on the Big Island of Hawaii to compete for the honor and recognition of growing the best Kona coffee.

“In the same way Food and Wine magazine acknowledges the top chefs in the country, and Napa Valley has competitions for the best wines, Hawaii and Gevalia conduct this signature and unique event to recognize the best Kona coffee beans,” said Chris Nanos, Brand Director for Gevalia Kaffe. “As purveyors of specialty coffee, including our super premium Kona, Gevalia Kaffe is privileged to be involved with such a time-honored tradition and to support the farmers of the only coffee grown in the United States.”

The two-day Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition takes place on Wednesday, November 8 and Thursday, November 19, 2006 during the acclaimed Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, recognized as the oldest and most successful product festival in Hawaii and the only coffee festival in the United States. The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates its 36th anniversary with 10 days of festivities as they honor the annual harvest of Kona coffee, its culture and heritage, November 3 -12, 2006.

Only coffee grown in the fertile Kona coffee belts can be entered into the Gevalia sponsored cupping competition. Each entry is judged by an international panel of expert coffee tasters through traditional “cupping” techniques to evaluate the coffee beans and to determine the winning Kona flavor. Cupping is often conducted to create new coffee blends, determine the profile of a coffee flavor and to detect possible defects in the taste and to ensure quality and consistency. Gevalia’s Willie Petterson known as the Master Taster with the Golden Tongue, will serve on the 2006 judging panel.

Entries are scored in various categories such as fragrance, aroma, taste, acidity, body, and defects. The competition begins with coffee samples, both green and roasted, placed on a long table for the judges to independently evaluate. The judges “cup” the coffee by inhaling the aroma of the brew while aspirating or strongly slurping a mouthful and swishing it in the mouth so that it hits the back of the tongue where bitterness is best detected. During the cupping, there can be no distractions to the judges’ senses, meaning they cannot have any other smells near them such as flowers or perfumes.

“These judges are so experienced they know if a coffee bean is from last year’s crop or if it was grown off the island,” said Jim Cecere, operations director for Gevalia.

There are currently over 600 coffee farms in Kona. Last year’s contest drew 57 contestants and after whittling down the entries to 15, the cuppers returned for a second day of tasting and finally bestowed this year’s first place honor on Bruce and Lisa Corker, owners of Rancho Aloha. Long Mountain Kona of Honaunau, owned by Lewi and Kim Johnson, won second place, while third place went to Aikane Kona Coffee of Holualoa, owned by Alan Wang.

Gevalia Kaffe is built on a tradition of fine craftsmanship encompassing 150 years. Gevalia carries more than 40 exquisite varieties of coffees and teas ranging from distinctive varietals, European and limited edition blends as well as seasonal flavors. Gevalia’s wide selection suits the personal tastes, mood and desires of even the world’s most discriminating coffee-lovers. Gevalia is not sold retail and is available in the U.S. exclusively at or through 1-800-GEVALIA.

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