Hawai'i Brewers Cup Preliminary Lifting Up The Coffee Community

People are gathered around for the Hawaii Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition.This interview was conducted in partnership with our sister brand, Bonavita. Photo c/o  Hawai'i Coffee Association.

US Coffee Championship season is underway, and we're shining a spotlight on those going the extra mile in lifting up our coffee community. On October 13-15, 2023, Hawai'i Coffee Association (HCA) will be hosting the Hawai'i Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition at Tradition Coffee Roasters. Up to 16 competitors will take the stage, along with the Artisan Electric Gooseneck KettleX Series Glass Server and Smart Scale II as the exclusive competition wares.

In addition to hosting the Preliminary round, Hawai'i Coffee Association will also be holding a fundraiser for the Maui coffee community. We had a chance to catch up with Madeleine Longoria Garcia of Hawai'i Coffee Association and the rest of the team to learn more about Brewers Cup and how they are leveraging the platform to support, in a big way, those who were devastated by the Maui fires.

Brewista: What does Brewers Cup entail?

HCA: Brewers Cup is one of six competitions in the US Coffee Championships’ lineup that puts manual brewing to the test. In the Preliminary round, competitors have 8 minutes to brew individual cups of black coffee for two separate sensory judges. There’s also a head judge who evaluates consistency across both brews that are served to the sensory judges.

For Prelims, the host provides two compulsory coffees that competitors get to choose from the day before the competition presentations begin. As they brew for the judges, competitors give an accompanying presentation where they’re asked to talk about the coffee they’re brewing, how they’re brewing it, and anything else they’d like to share. It’s required that they describe the sensory experience of the coffee, giving tasting and aroma notes, body and texture descriptions, etc. Competitors are scored on their presentation and customer service, their explanation and preparation of the brew, and how accurately they were able to describe the coffee.

Brewista: Can you tell us about the setting for the prelims — Tradition Coffee Roasters? 

HCA: “Let’s grab a cup of coffee!” The suggestion is thrown out every day for a variety of reasons. Old and new friends getting together, colleagues meeting to discuss business, a first date suggestion. The simple act of having a cup of coffee brings people together. Even that morning cup of coffee brings roommates, couples and families together. It’s a part of daily life, a ritual, a tradition.

That is one reason Brian and Lindsey Burik are passionate about producing premium coffee. Brian was born and raised in Queens, NY, and served as a firefighter in New York City, from 1997-2018. No matter which firehouse he was in, the crew always got together at the kitchen table, drinking coffee.

When it comes to coffee, the focus at Tradition is quality. Their goal is to roast and serve specialty grade coffee that is good to the earth and good to the people that participate in the coffee lifecycle. They seek out farmers with certifications like Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, Smithsonian Bird Friendly, and Women Owned. 

Brewista: We’re excited to have Brewista wares support the competition. What do you look for in choosing competition wares?

HCA: We are so excited and grateful for your support in this competition! We look for high-quality, user-friendly, and **~aesthetically pleasing~** wares and gear when choosing for competition. It makes all the difference when a kettle is easy to handle and maneuver and it’s a huge bonus (that matters) when it happens to look pretty, too. For other wares, we definitely look for things that feel good in our hands and provide the judge (and consumer) with a positive tactile and sensory experience.

Brewista: We would love to spread the word about the fundraiser you are hosting for the Maui coffee community. What would you like for our community to know about the initiative?

HCA: We want folks to know this is a big deal and it’s personal for us all - once the fires happened on Maui, our planning committee knew we wanted to pivot the original intent of this event and make it a fundraiser for our Maui community. As individuals and companies, we’ve made our own contributions and we know we can do more as a unified group and we wanted to bring more attention to the coffee community that was greatly affected on Maui.

The largest coffee farm on the island, MauiGrown, lost their warehouse (where all their green coffee was stored), part of their mill, and their storefront in the fires - right at the beginning of harvest season. Additionally, at least half a dozen cafes were lost to the fires. So, all proceeds from this event are going to the Maui Coffee Association to directly benefit their members. We’ve also expanded the event to create a Coffee Festival where we’ll have local vendors from other coffee companies, local makers, and other businesses who are donating a portion of proceeds to their choice between the Maui Coffee Association or the Help Lahaina Get Caffeinated Again GoFundMe Campaign created specifically for the cafes that were lost to the fires. 

You can find out more about the upcoming Hawai'i Brewers Cup Preliminary Competition and how to support their fundraising efforts for the Maui coffee community here.

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