Hawaii's Coffee Doctor to Give Educational Talks in Kona

Hawaii's Coffee Doctor to Give Educational Talks in Kona

In the midst of next week's Kona Coffee Cultural Festival on the Island of Hawai`i, three special seminars will be given by the State of Hawai`i's leading coffee expert, Dr. Shawn Steiman. Open to all, his seminars at three premiere coffee houses in the Kailua-Kona area will demonstrate the ins and outs of brewing the best coffee. On Tuesday, November 10, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Mountain Thunder Plantation, Steiman will start by talking a bit about his latest publication, "The Hawaii Coffee Book: A Gourmet's Guide from Kona to Kauai". He will get in to the finer points of processing ripe coffee, introduce the art of coffee cupping (the formal evaluation of coffee), and compare each of the processing methods. For those with a passion for Kona (or all Hawai`i brews) that like to dabble in home prep, this is a seminar for you. Cost is $30 per person, inclusive of a signed copy of Steiman's book.

On Wednesday, November 11, from 2:00 pm. to 3:00 p.m., Steiman will take over Brewalalai Cafe on Mamalahoa Highway near Kealakekua for a seminar on the basic principals of brewing and enjoying locally grown coffee. A light discussion on how various aspects in the growing and brewing process affect flavors and brew quality will take up the hour. This event is free to the public.

Both events are sponsored by Watermark Publishing.

Steiman, who resides in Palolo on O`ahu, does consulting for some of the top resorts, restaurants and coffee farmers who are interested in enhancing the sustainability and quality of coffee. His work is mostly educational, and focuses primarily on the Hawai`i coffee market. Since graduating from the University of Hawai`i with a doctorate in tropical science, he has worked closely with farms from Moloka`i, Maui and Big Island.

We posed a few questions to this self-proclaimed "total coffee science geek". Here's what ensued:

B on Hawaii: How does the coffee from Hawai`i stand up to those produced in other parts of the world?

Shawn Steiman: Kona coffee truly is better than a lot of coffees around the world. One thing is that we have very little pests and problems that other regions have. Add the romance factor of Hawai`i, plus the marketing dollars put behind it, and we've really afforded some higher-end producers and equipment.

B on Hawaii: Has Hawai`i's coffee improved significantly over the last decade?

Shawn Steiman: I'm not sure how much the quality of the coffee has improved as much as our perception of what is good coffee—and how we judge that—has evolved.

B on Hawaii: Is there anything that surprises you about the trends in coffee?

Shawn Steiman: I'm amazed at how many people say they love coffee, but barely pay attention to what type or brands they buy. These same people will talk for hours about the difference between Budweiser and Kona Brewing Company. But they'll bring home Foldgers in a can and not care. It's astonishing.

Want to know which growers get Steiman heated up? Or where he goes for the best espresso on each island? Head to the seminars on Nov. 10 and 11th and ask him face to face.

His book can be purchased at www.BooksHawaii.net.

You can view a listing of coffee events at the Festival's web site, at www.KonaCoffeeFest.com

"...Our perception of what is good coffee—and how we judge that—has evolved." — Steiman