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It's coffee harvest and festival time on Hawaii Island. Get ready to savor a cuppa

It's coffee harvest and festival time on Hawaii Island. Get ready to savor a cuppa
You can sample different coffees on Hawaii's Big Island in November. Visitors to Pele Plantations can tour the working coffee farm and enjoy a freshly brewed cup of organic Kona coffee. (Pele Plantations)

Coffee farmers on Hawaii Island come together each November for the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, a celebration of the harvest of the bright red “cherries” that contain prized coffee beans.

During the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, children try their hand at picking coffee berries.
During the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, children try their hand at picking coffee berries. (Kona Coffee Cultural Festival)

True coffee aficionados can sample the brews of Hawaii Island’s coffee producers from Nov. 3 to 12. Events will be held along the Kona Coast on the western shore of the island. Even non-coffee drinkers may learn something about the beloved bean.

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This year’s calendar of events include:

Lighting Up the Evening, 6 p.m. Nov. 3. A lantern parade will light the way along Alii Drive in Historic Kailua Village.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm tours, Nov. 3-11. Discover the development of Kona’s most famous crop at America’s only living history farm devoted to coffee.

Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 4. Visit the art district’s various galleries while tasting coffees from more than 30 area plantations.

During what's called cuppings, professional judges sniff, sip and savor more than 50 varieties of Kona coffee.
During what's called cuppings, professional judges sniff, sip and savor more than 50 varieties of Kona coffee. (Kona Coffee Cultural Festival)

Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, Nov. 8 and 9. Look on as an international panel of professional “cupping” judges conducts side-by-side tastings of more than 50 entries before determining the island’s best brew.

Crafters, artists, musicians, dancers and food vendors will be present at various events during the festival.

A festival button, available for $3, provides admission to all activities. Buttons will be sold at local businesses as well as at all events.

If you can’t make it to Hawaii Island during November, you can still get a taste of authentic Kona coffee during free tours at one local farm.

Coffee at Pele Plantations in South Kona is grown on slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Coffee at Pele Plantations in South Kona is grown on slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (Pele Plantations)

Pele Plantations, a family-owned farm specializing in 100% organic Kona coffee, recently began welcoming guests.

Offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings by advance appointment, the 90-minute tours educate people about the entire process — from growing to picking to roasting.

Guests who tour Pele Plantations can enjoy a cup of the 100% organic Kona coffee.
Guests who tour Pele Plantations can enjoy a cup of the 100% organic Kona coffee. (Pele Plantations)

At the end of the tour, owner Melanie Korn invites guests to enjoy a free cup of her freshly brewed coffee, which is also sold at the farm.

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