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Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

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Kona, Hawaii, early November

You'll find that nobody takes coffee more seriously than the residents of Kona, Hawaii. That's because they've been growing coffee in the region since the early 19th century. "Kona coffee is meticulously cared for from the time that it is planted throughout its life, which can span several generations -- human, not plant," says Scott McClung, event director for the festival's coffee-brewing competition. "It's one of the finest tasting, moderately caffeinated, low-acid coffees found anywhere."

Connoisseurs who make this trip to coffee paradise can pick their own beans at the picking contest, take living history farm tours to learn about life on family coffee farms, or stroll through the upcountry town of Holualoa and enjoy free tastes of pure Kona coffee. The festival's big event is the Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, in which a panel of international Master Cuppers determines the best coffee of the year. "Cupping is to coffee as wine tasting is to wine," McClung explains. To learn more, check