Brazen Hazen Wins the Bronze!

Out of 60 entries, Brazen Hazen 100% Kona Coffee took third place in the 2010 Kona Cupping Contest sponsored by Gevalia Kaffe. A highlight of the annual Kona Coffee Festival held each November on the Big Island of Hawaii, the cupping contest makes for an exciting finish to the festivities. Results are highly anticipated by both farmers and coffee lovers alike.

After narrowing the entries down to the final 16, judges reported that ranking the top 3 was a daunting task. Extra time was needed to make the final call.

“All we as farmers can do is pay attention to the conditions, care for the land, and utilize the best farming practices possible. Nature takes care of the rest.” said Brazen Hazen farm manager Brian Axelrod. “Congratulations to all of the finalists.”

See Full Results

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Press Release article about contest

Brazen Hazen A Top Finisher at HCA State-Wide Cupping Competition

Brazen Hazen was awarded the bronze medal at the Hawaii Coffee Association’s first ever state-wide cupping contest, held in Maui on July 9-12, 2009

Of the 69 entries from Kona and Kau on the Island of Hawaii, and the Islands of Maui, Oahu, Molokai, and Kauai, Kona coffee took the top three spots with the top three finishers each scoring within one tenth of a point of the next.

“We’re thrilled to have placed so high with our first contest entry ever, in the first statewide cupping contest ever.” said farm manager Brian Axelrod, “Congratulations to Paul and Cassandra Hazen, farm owners, on this fantastic finish.”

Star Bulletin Article from July 15,2009:

Kona coffee wins state's first cupping competition

By Joleen Oshiro

Onouli Farm of Kona won top honors at Hawaii's first coffee-cupping competition this weekend at the Hawaii Coffee Association's 14th annual conference at Maui Tropical Plantation.

The coffee was among 69 entries statewide put to the taste test before three experts: Warren Muller of Inter American Coffee, Shawn Hamilton of Java City Roasters and Paul Thornton of Coffee Bean International. Coffees, roasted on the mainland, were scored based on wet and dry aromas, acidity, body, balance, sweetness and aftertaste.

In cupping, coffees are measured and placed in porcelain bowls. Judges assess their dry aroma, then water is added. After a few minutes of brewing, judges break the "crust" of grounds to evaluate the wet aroma. Next, they scrape off the grounds, slurp the coffee and spit it out. Coffees are replicated three to five times and assigned points. In the first round of cupping, 36 coffees were eliminated; a second round brought the field to 10; and a third, to five. More finishers:

Second: Kowali Farm, Kona

Third: Brazen Hazen Farm, Kona

Fourth: Ka'u Royal, R&G Farms

Fifth: Pavaraga Coffee, Kau

Sixth: Waiono Farm, Kona

Seventh: Kupaa Farms, Maui

Eighth: Keokea Farms, Maui

Ninth: Kealakekua Coffee Co., Kona

10th: Malia Ohana, Kona

11th: Greenwell Farms, Kona

12th: Kona Cherry Hill, Kona

13th: Aroma Trading Co., Kau

14th: Heavenly Hawaiian Farms, Kona

15th: MoLoa'a Bay Coffee, Kauai

Visit Hawaii Coffee Association

West Hawaii Today Article from July 26, 2009:

Onouli Kona Coffee wins first in statewide cupping contest

By Virginia Easton Smith

All Kona coffee farmers should be celebrating. Kona coffee came out on top in the first statewide Coffee Cupping Competition, held July 10 and 11 on Maui by the Hawaii Coffee Association as part of its 14th annual Conference and Trade Show.

Onouli Farm, a 100-plus-year-old farm in Kealakekua, was awarded the coveted first place in the state. Kowali Farm took second and Brazen Hazen Farm came in third, so all top three coffees were from Kona. Ka'u did well too; fourth and fifth place went to R&G Farm and Pavaraga Coffee, respectively.

Of the top 15 coffees, nine were from Kona, three from Ka'u, two from Maui and one from Kauai. Coffee is now grown commercially on Maui, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai, as well as many areas of Hawaii Island.

The standard coffee cupping method used includes an exacting set of brewing standards and a formal step-by-step evaluation process. The beans are ground, water is poured over the grounds and the liquid is tasted both hot and as it cools. The evaluation considers six characteristics: fragrance, aroma, taste, nose, aftertaste and body.

While organized by HCA, the cupping competition was run by independent, highly regarded professional cuppers who are coffee roasters and brokers from the mainland. They are Shawn Hamilton, of Java City Roasters, Paul Thornton, of Coffee Bean International, and Warren Muller, of InterAmerican Coffee.

Lead judge Hamilton is responsible for all green coffee purchasing, roasting, production, quality and operations at Java City. He has been involved in specialty coffee since 1987 and has worked as a barista, and in packaging, roasting, quality control, coffee buying and executive management. He is the incoming vice president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Thornton, who has conducted several roasting and cupping workshops in Kona, has been with Coffee Bean International since 1982 where he is the roastmaster and green coffee buyer. He is a Q-certified coffee cupper, and is on the Board of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Hamilton and Thornton are founding members of the Roasters Guild.

Muller is vice president of trading at InterAmerican Coffee, an importer and distributor of high-quality green coffee, and has been a green bean broker for many years. He has been around coffee all his life as his parents were in the coffee business. He is the new Pacific Coast Coffee Association vice president. All three judges are members of the Pacific Coast Coffee Association and are active contributors to several prominent coffee industry organizations.

The competition was open to any coffee grown in Hawaii and certified by origin by the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture. Each entrant will receive a written assessment of their coffee.

There were 69 entries received from around the state, a majority of those from Kona. It was a blind cupping -- coffees were identified only by numbers and none of the judges knew which farm, or even island, the coffees were from. After an initial round, the entries were narrowed to 33 and the process began again. The top coffees were cupped several times before the rankings were determined. The judges said they were impressed with the consistently very high quality of Hawaii coffees.

The positive attention on Hawaii grown coffees generated by the event is good for all agriculture in the state. The Hawaii Coffee Association expressed several purposes in organizing the contest, including to promote and better understand the cupping qualities of Hawaii grown coffees, and to expose local and mainland markets to the quality and diversity of Hawaii grown coffees. The competition was co-sponsored by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

The mission of the Hawaii Coffee Association is "to promote Hawaii as a coffee origin and to increase Hawaii coffee consumption within the state and export from the state. A major component of the Hawaii Coffee Association's work is education of the public and of members." Its annual conference and trade show is held every summer at varying locations throughout the state. For more information on the HCA, Visit

This information is provided by the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. For more information, contact the Cooperative Extension Service in Kainaliu at 322-4892, in Hilo at 981-5199 or in Waimea at 887-6183.

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