Fiftieth Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

“For the first time in fifty years, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is celebrating Kona’s famous roast in a whole new way. This year, the Festival brings the community together with in-person events that have their own charm but also in keeping with the times, a brand new online experience.” — from the paper booklet for this year’s festival.

We picked up the booklet, a hardback coffee cookbook, collectible button and several pairs of lauhala slippers at the iconic Kimura Lauhala Shop in Holualoa. Lauhala slippers were a staple at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for anyone to put on when they were inside the house. Indoor slippahs. They’re great to wear around the house; they keep your feet cool and clean. A friend who grew up on the East Coast always laughed when we said slippers in a beach context. To him, they’re the furry, frumpy house slippers you wear for warmth and comfort. I guess that’d be pantoffeln in German or tøfler in Norwegian.

Last year, 2020, should have been the big 50th celebration for the festival. This button is a 2020 collectible for the festival that didn’t happen. The festival got postponed to this year. We know how last year and this year have gone and why. I like the positive spin as to the reason for offering blended events: “In keeping with the times.” I am a fan of in-person events, as I’ve shared here several times. But I can still recognize that virtual and online events have their advantages, too, and can reach a different audience or the usual audience in a different way.

Maybe you can’t make it to Kona, but maybe you can still participate in some events that appeal to you. My favorite events are the coffee tasting and stroll in Holualoa village and the Ho’olaule’a, a Hawaiian celebration or festival, where there’s dancing, food, leis, and a large gathering of people. Those can’t really be virtual. I’ve attended a few Zoom celebrations and I find them so awkward. They’re especially so if the attendees don’t necessarily know each other. I appreciate people’s attempts to work with the medium and do what they can. Milling around, making small talk and perhaps engaging more with a few individuals is really difficult (impossible?) to replicate virtually. I find it so awkward and socially painful.

Another change to the festival is that it doesn’t last so long. It’s only November 4-7. It used to be ten days long, which I felt was too spread out.

A coffee competition is part of the festival. Someday I’d like to enter our coffee. This isn’t the year. There’s a virtual class on cupping, what the professionals do to rate different coffees as objectively as possible. This article offers a nice overview or coffee cupping guide. (Beware, it has a lot of embedded ads).

We’ve had our coffee professionally cupped for our own information, and we plan to do it again another year/season to see what has changed. This article talks about what producers can learn from having their coffee cupped.

And to throw in one more educational link, here’s an article about the evolution of the coffee tasters flavor wheel.

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