Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate wins Kona Coffee Cupping Competition

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  • Lisa Bateman accepts the award for first place in the 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition for Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Lisa Bateman accepts the award for first place in the 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition for Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The coffee fields of award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee, 10 acres of paradise carved out of the jungle at 3200 feet in the hills high above Holualoa. The coffee fields of award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee, 10 acres of paradise carved out of the jungle at 3200 feet in the hills high above Holualoa. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • First place in the 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition goes to Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. First place in the 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition goes to Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Norman Sakata - Chairman of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Lisa Bateman, Trent Bateman, and Gloria Biven celebrate the victory for Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Norman Sakata - Chairman of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Lisa Bateman, Trent Bateman, and Gloria Biven celebrate the victory for Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Kyle Cruise tends to a mature coffee tree in the fields at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Kyle Cruise tends to a mature coffee tree in the fields at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Flocks of geese populate the grounds, controlling pests and weeds and providing fertilizer to the organic fields of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Flocks of geese populate the grounds, controlling pests and weeds and providing fertilizer to the organic fields of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A flock of geese follow Trent Bateman's associate Kyle Cruise across the fields of organic coffee at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate. A flock of geese follow Trent Bateman's associate Kyle Cruise across the fields of organic coffee at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The Kona Coffee Cupping Competition was held at the lovely Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, beautifully located on a rocky outcrop alongside the Pacific Ocean. The Kona Coffee Cupping Competition was held at the lovely Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, beautifully located on a rocky outcrop alongside the Pacific Ocean. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Roger Kaiwi talks with visitors as he presides over the festivities at the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, while standing in front of a number of bags of the coffee waiting to be judged. Roger Kaiwi talks with visitors as he presides over the festivities at the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, while standing in front of a number of bags of the coffee waiting to be judged. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Each entrant provides 6 pounds of green coffee bean which is roasted, evaluated, and tasted. This year 66 entrees vied for first place in the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Each entrant provides 6 pounds of green coffee bean which is roasted, evaluated, and tasted. This year 66 entrees vied for first place in the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Coffee Judge Phil Maloney, director of coffee purchasing at Peet's Coffee and Tea, brings his fine palate into play as he slurps one of the entrees to the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Coffee Judge Phil Maloney, director of coffee purchasing at Peet's Coffee and Tea, brings his fine palate into play as he slurps one of the entrees to the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The judges make their way gradually through tasting and rating 66 different coffee farms entered into the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. The judges make their way gradually through tasting and rating 66 different coffee farms entered into the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Coffee Judge John King tallies his scores on the way to determining the winner of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Coffee Judge John King tallies his scores on the way to determining the winner of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • All three judges in the midst of tasting during the final rounds of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. All three judges in the midst of tasting during the final rounds of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Kona coffee legend Tommy Greenwell from Greenwell Farms coffee has long been one of the dominant players in the Kona coffee industry. Kona coffee legend Tommy Greenwell from Greenwell Farms coffee has long been one of the dominant players in the Kona coffee industry. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Robert Barnes from Kona RainForest Farms and coffee pioneer Terry Fitzgerald of Da Kine Coffee Bean, both previous winners of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Robert Barnes from Kona RainForest Farms and coffee pioneer Terry Fitzgerald of Da Kine Coffee Bean, both previous winners of the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Una Greenaway from Kuaiwi Farms coffee (2nd from left) and Tommy Greenwell from Greenwell Farms (3rd from left) were named semifinalists in the cupping competition this year. Una Greenaway from Kuaiwi Farms coffee (2nd from left) and Tommy Greenwell from Greenwell Farms (3rd from left) were named semifinalists in the cupping competition this year. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Coffee Judge Phil Maloney explains to the media how they are looking for fragrance, aroma, florals, intensity, taste, viscosity, body, flavor, acidity and finish when they judge each coffee. Coffee Judge Phil Maloney explains to the media how they are looking for fragrance, aroma, florals, intensity, taste, viscosity, body, flavor, acidity and finish when they judge each coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Colin Jevens accepts the 3rd place award for Mauka Fire coffee at the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, flanked by Miss Aloha Hawaii Alyssa Ishihara and Miss Kona Coffee Jeanne Kapela. Colin Jevens accepts the 3rd place award for Mauka Fire coffee at the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, flanked by Miss Aloha Hawaii Alyssa Ishihara and Miss Kona Coffee Jeanne Kapela. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The Kona Coffee Council booth outside the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, promoting the enjoyment of 100% Kona Coffee from the nearly 200 boutique single vineyard estate coffee farms. The Kona Coffee Council booth outside the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, promoting the enjoyment of 100% Kona Coffee from the nearly 200 boutique single vineyard estate coffee farms. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • All we are saying....is give beans a chance, part of the festivities on behalf of 100% Kona Coffee outside the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. All we are saying....is give beans a chance, part of the festivities on behalf of 100% Kona Coffee outside the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Roger and Vivian Rittenhouse of Moki's Farm in the hills above Captain Cook have been frequent semifinalists in the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Roger and Vivian Rittenhouse of Moki's Farm in the hills above Captain Cook have been frequent semifinalists in the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Malia Bolten (right) of award winning Malia Ohana coffee and Kona Coffee and Tea Leaf farm tends to a booth at Keauhou Shopping center as part of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Malia Bolten (right) of award winning Malia Ohana coffee and Kona Coffee and Tea Leaf farm tends to a booth at Keauhou Shopping center as part of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll is set among the art galleries of the tiny village of Holualoa, and is one of the highlights of the 10 day Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. The Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll is set among the art galleries of the tiny village of Holualoa, and is one of the highlights of the 10 day Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Kyle Cruise holds the winning award for the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition while standing outside the facilities at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee farm. Kyle Cruise holds the winning award for the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition while standing outside the facilities at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee farm. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee is completely organic, with herds of wild geese wandering the coffee fields providing weed and pest control and abundant natural fertilizer. Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee is completely organic, with herds of wild geese wandering the coffee fields providing weed and pest control and abundant natural fertilizer. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The jungle forest surrounding Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee farm, 10 acres of coffee paradise high up in the hills at 3200 feet in elevation. The jungle forest surrounding Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee farm, 10 acres of coffee paradise high up in the hills at 3200 feet in elevation. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A large lava tube descending from the peaks of Mt. Hualalai emerges from the jungle around Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee farm, trailing through the property in several places. A large lava tube descending from the peaks of Mt. Hualalai emerges from the jungle around Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee farm, trailing through the property in several places. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A gaggle of geese with a stray duck and a rooster or two wander the organic fields of coffee at award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate. A gaggle of geese with a stray duck and a rooster or two wander the organic fields of coffee at award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Ripe coffee cherry ready for processing at award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate in the high hills well above Holualoa. Ripe coffee cherry ready for processing at award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate in the high hills well above Holualoa. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Coffee dries in lovely Zen patterns under the hashi dana at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Coffee dries in lovely Zen patterns under the hashi dana at Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Trent and Lisa Bateman's home is designed after Hulihee Palace in old Kona, and stands on a glorious 10 acres overlooking the fields of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estates coffee at 3200 feet. Trent and Lisa Bateman's home is designed after Hulihee Palace in old Kona, and stands on a glorious 10 acres overlooking the fields of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estates coffee at 3200 feet. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Kyle Cruise stands in front of some of the state of the art sorting, grading and processing equipment at award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Kyle Cruise stands in front of some of the state of the art sorting, grading and processing equipment at award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The gift shop and picnic area of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee, on a sprawling 10 acres of land located high up in the hills at 3200 feet, three miles up Koloko Road past Holualoa. The gift shop and picnic area of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee, on a sprawling 10 acres of land located high up in the hills at 3200 feet, three miles up Koloko Road past Holualoa. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Mountain Thunder operates a full service café and bar at the lovely Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, where they also sell a full line of Mountain Thunder products, including their high end skin care line. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Mountain Thunder high end skin care products, Kona Cream, Kona Blossom, and Kona Love can be found online at www.mountainthunder.com Mountain Thunder high end skin care products, Kona Cream, Kona Blossom, and Kona Love can be found online at www.mountainthunder.com Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Trent and Lisa Bateman at the awards dinner for the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, where their Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee was named the winner. Trent and Lisa Bateman at the awards dinner for the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, where their Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee was named the winner. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Bags of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate organic coffee, winner of the prestigious 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Bags of Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate organic coffee, winner of the prestigious 2013 Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. Photo by: Alison Reynolds

KAILUA-KONA , HAWAII, December 27, 2013 – Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee won first place in the 27th annual Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, held November 7- 8 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. The cupping competition is the highlight of 10 days of celebrations at the 43rd Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. The winning coffee farm gains a pedigree and prestige in the coffee community that sets it apart from its peers for a lifetime.

Trent Bateman’s award winning Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate was judged best over 65 other coffee farms in a double blind tasting spread over two days. It is a sweet victory for a man who has spent decades developing the market for 100% estate grown Kona coffee, and a triumph for his distinctive 10 acres of coffee trees high up Koloko Road in, as it were, the cloud forest.

There are close to 600 coffee farms between Holualoa and Honaunau on the Big Island of Hawaii, most between 2200 and 2800 feet in altitude.  Almost two hundred single vineyard estate farmers roast and market their own coffee under their own labels, like boutique wineries, mostly over the internet.

They may produce between 2000 and 10000 pounds of coffee in a season. The best of these is compared with product from other coffee farms like it was a fine bottle of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Indeed, Kona has been frequently referred to as the Napa and Sonoma of coffee.

The Kona Coffee Cupping Competition honors the best of these independent artisan farmers as they produce and purvey what is widely acknowledged as some of the finest coffee on the planet.

The Sheraton Kona at Keauhou Bay is a beautiful resort on a stunning rocky outcrop at the very tip of historic Keauhou Bay. The atmosphere in the room was tense and busy as the judges meticulously sniffed and sipped their way through 66 different coffee farms, narrowing the field to 15 distinctive semifinalists.

The judges are looking for fragrance, aroma, florals, intensity, taste, viscosity, body, flavor, acidity, and finish. The final day of competition the field is winnowed down to five finalists, and then the winning farms are selected.

Mountain Thunder Cloud Forest Estate coffee is located at the far north end of Holualoa, in the high hills three miles up Koloko Road at 3200 feet, the highest elevation of any coffee farm in Kona. It is a jungle retreat in the clouds, 10 acres of lush coffee trees spread across a sloping hillside bristling with several large subterranean lava tubes descending from the peaks of Mt. Hualalai above.

Cloud Forest Estate is also completely organic, with herds of geese wandering the field providing both weed and pest control and abundant fertilizer. Touring the farm with Trent’s associate Kyle Cruise is a walk through a jungle forest filled with abundant coffee trees loaded with ripe cherry, while whole gaggles of geese follow him faithfully across the property.

Trent Bateman and his wife Lisa have transformed this hillside into the center of their growing coffee empire. Their simple but elegant house, designed after the seaside Hulihee Palace in old Kona, overlooks the sprawling coffee fields below.

Mountain Thunder’s processing centers, warehouse, retail store and tourist café make clear the vision and scale that Trent sees in the future of 100% Kona Coffee. Cloud Forest Estate, which produces about 10,000 pounds of single vineyard estate grown coffee a year, represents the cuvee of his endeavors, a world class coffee chateau at the very top of its game. 

He produces a line of very fine high end skin care products made from coffee as well, and like most Kona coffee farmers, markets his products over the internet.  Buses filled with Japanese tourists stop by regularly, and business is brisk. Trent also maintains a full service café outlet in the lovely Mauna Lani Bay Hotel.

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is all about making the world aware of the virtues of buying 100% Kona coffee directly from the farmers who grow and produce it.

The cupping competition emphasizes the uniqueness of several hundred farmers growing, picking, processing, drying, roasting and marketing their own artisan coffee product.

A good way to start exploring Kona coffee is to order coffee from current and previous winners and runners up of the cupping competition. Coffee pioneer Terry Fitzgerald’s Da Kine Coffee Bean or Robert and Dawn Barnes Kona Rain Forest Farms are both legendary farms and former winners. Una Greenaway and Leon Rosner’s Kuaiwi Farm has the distinction of winning one year and placing 2nd two other years.

Single vineyard estate grown 100% Kona coffee makes for a perfect gift, unique and useful, delicious and special, reasonably priced, like giving someone a fine bottle of wine. It’s something any coffee drinker would enjoy and appreciate.

On a crisp Kona day the Holualoa Village Coffee and Art Stroll is in full swing. One of the key events in the 10 days of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, the sidewalks are filled with farmers selling their single vineyard estate coffee.

Crowds mingle amongst the coffee venders and the quaint art galleries in this lovely town in the hills above Kona. Here is where the tradition began, over 100 years ago, with Japanese coffee farmers and their families laying the roots for an enduring tradition of agricultural excellence.

From that day to this the interwoven fabric of small coffee farmers, from Holualoa and Captain Cook to Kealekekua and Honaunau, has created a thriving artisan culture of acclaimed boutique coffee estate chateaus ready to be discovered, embraced, and celebrated.

www.mountainthunder.com

www.konacoffeefest.com

www.kona-coffee-council.com

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joel Berliner

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who has written for The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Honolulu Advertiser, El Paso Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among many other publications.  He is excited to be back where his travel writing career began, at The Washington Times, where along with his wife, photographer extraordinaire Alison Reynolds, they will travel the globe in order to bring you The Good Life.

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