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Big Island competition a-brewing: Ten-day fest celebrates Kau coffee

Now stirring the pot on the Big Island: Kau coffee. A fest celebrating the bean begins April 24

Kona may have the cachet when it comes to coffee, but another Big Island district, Kau, hopes people will try, and like, the brew made from its beans.

Kau, the southernmost district on Hawaii Island will welcome visitors to the Kau Coffee Festival April 24-May 3.

The event began in 2009 as a one-day celebration but has expanded to 10 days, helping make people aware that not all the island’s coffee comes from the Kailua-Kona area about 60 miles away.

“Kona coffee is our big sister to the north,” Chris Manfredi, the festival’s organizer, told me. “We’re a separate and distinct origin.”

The Kau bean is different. “It has floral tones and citrus tones,” he said.

The early days of the festival will include a coffee recipe contest and stargazing in the remote region.

On May 2, the Pahala Community Center will host a day-long hoolaulea -- Hawaiian for celebration.

Besides traditional music and hula from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., tours of coffee farms and mills will be offered. Tour tickets cost $20 and will be sold at the celebration.

Visitors can also try various roasts during the Kau Coffee Experience.

“We have professional baristas serve a variety of Kau coffees side by side using different brewing methods so that people can understand how to brew a good cup,” Manfredi said.

Local coffee producers will also be selling their beans.

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