Kāʻu is Hawaiʻi’s new specialty coffee. It is among the upscale foods appearing at the Kapiʻolani Farmers Market on Oʻahu, sold online and served at Alan Wong’s Restaurant. Wong is pictured with grower Lorie Obra.
The new name in gourmet beans grew out of a College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources program to assist Filipino immigrants who once worked in the sugar mill at Pāhala.
Thirty-two members of the Kāʻu Coffee Growers Cooperative farm on land leased from the Big Island’s Kāʻu Farm and Ranch and roast their own beans, using information gleaned from workshops and visiting experts.
Two growers had their beans ranked in the top 10 at the 2007 Specialty Coffee Association of America’s international cupping competition, and one placed 11th (topping 12th-place Kona coffee) in 2008.