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Hawaii coffee celebration in Kau features helicopter tours and foods

Hawaii coffee celebration in Kau features helicopter tours and foods
During the Kau Coffee Festival, guests can plant coffee bush seedlings during a special tour. (Kau Coffee Festival)

Kona coffee may have a well-deserved reputation, but growers from another part of Hawaii Island, Kau, want to you to try their beans and brews, too. You will be able to do that during an upcoming festival or during a unique helicopter tour.

The Kau Coffee Festival will welcome visitors to a variety of activities April 26-May 5.

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The opening night kickoff on April 26 will feature free tours of Pahala Plantation House in the south coast village of Pahala. Hula, music and food can also be enjoyed from 6-9:30 p.m.

A cooking competition will attract guests to the Kau Coffee Mill near Pahala on April 28 at 11 a.m. Home cooks will create dishes in three categories: pupu (small plates), entrée and dessert. All recipes must include locally grown Kau coffee. Admission is free, and cash prizes will be awarded.

On May 2, guests can experience a working farm during the Kau Valley Farms Tour. Visitors will see the various agricultural products that flourish in the region. They will also have the opportunity to plant their own coffee seedlings.

The 9 a.m.-noon tour is priced at $40.

For many guests, the festival’s highlight will be the May 4 hoolaulea, a celebration of all things coffee. Guided coffee tastings, along with informal chats with growers and roasters, will be held from 9:30 a.m.-noon and from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Pahala Community Center. The day’s activities, which include live entertainment and a crafts show, are free.

During the week, organizers hope guests will also make time to visit some of the area’s little-known attractions. They include the cliffs of Kalae, the southernmost point in the United States; the Honuapo Fishpond and Punaluu Black Sand Beach, famous for its often-seen sea turtles.

People who can’t make it to the Big Island during the festival can visit both Kau Coffee Mill and Kau Valley Farms year-round.

Certainly the most unusual way to reach Kau Coffee Mill is by air. During Blue Hawaiian Helicopters new Craters & Coffee Tour, guests land at the mill for a “seed to cup” walking tour of the orchard plus the milling and roasting rooms.

The nearly two-hour tour, which also includes a flight over Kilauea Volcano, is priced from $439. Reservations: (800) 745-2583.

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