All along the slopes around the Holualoa Inn, coffee trees are bowed by the weight of the green coffee “cherries” growing on their branches. Several weeks ago, the last of the gardenia-scented coffee blossoms dropped to the ground, blanketing the coffee-growing region in what is known as “Kona snow.” In several weeks’ time the first of the coffee cherries will turn bright red, which indicates that it is time to begin the harvest season. Over the course of the next five months, each premium, Arabica Kona Coffee cherry will be individually handpicked at the peak of ripeness by farmers young and old, families, and contracted crews of professional pickers.
It is an exciting and sometimes anxious season. For many farmers along the Kona coffee belt their fortunes vary from year to year depending on the buying price for coffee cherry and the quality of their harvest. Weigh stations that have been shuttered all spring and summer will be open seven days a week to collect each day’s harvest, and you will often see professional pickers who have been hard at work since the crack of dawn unloading hundred-pound burlap sacks at these stations in the twilight hours. The burnt-toast and caramel smell of roasting coffee is everywhere during the harvest months, subconsciously making us all reach for an extra cup in the morning.
In the midst of all of this, during the peak of the harvest season, is the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. This festival is held each November as a celebration of the entire Kona Coffee region: its history, its food, its music & art, and the people whose hard work and dedication to their product make for the world’s best cup of coffee. This year’s Kona Coffee Cultural Festival will feature ten days of events from November 3rd – 12th, 2017. Some of the highlights include:
- The Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll on Saturday, November 4th. The annual Stroll takes place on the main (and only) street of historic Holualoa Village, just a minute’s walk from the Holualoa Inn. This event features exhibitions at all of the artists’ galleries in Holualoa, free coffee tastings from over 30 Kona Coffee farms, and breakfast and lunch offerings from an assortment of local food vendors.
- KTA Kona Coffee Recipe Contest on Sunday, November 5th. This event is a showcase featuring some of the Big Island’s most talented chefs competing to create the most inspired dish incorporating Kona Coffee. The doors open to the public at 11:00 a.m., but the best part is the free tasting that follows the announcement of the winners.
- Ho’olaule’a on Saturday, November 11th. This event is part of the finale of the Kona Coffee Cultural festival and features live music and entertainment, local food, and hands-on activities such as poi-making and Japanese calligraphy.
For a full listing of events, as well as dates and times, visit the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival website. The festival can be a fun and educational addition to your Big Island getaway, or a reason to come visit. If you plan to attend this year, be sure to purchase your Kona Coffee Cultural Festival button from one of the many vendors listed here, and be sure to book your stay at our Big Island bed and breakfast in advance!
If you want to enjoy the taste of fresh Kona Coffee at home, we can deliver it directly to your door when you join our Fresh Brew Club. We will send you the same Estate Coffee we serve here at the Inn, grown on our 30-acre farm and roasted to your order just days before it is shipped. Visit the Brazen Hazen website for more information.
Here’s a glimpse of the “Kona Snow” this year at Holualoa Inn: