Coffee lovers enjoy sips, sweets at inaugural Okinawa Coffee Festival
October 5, 2016
Green tea is the hot beverage of choice for many Japanese, but on Okinawa, coffee is king.
Okinawans have been drinking more coffee than tea for centuries, according to locals, so the island was an ideal setting for a coffee celebration.
Coffee connoisseurs packed Garaman Hall in Ginoza on Sunday for the inaugural Okinawa Coffee Festival, and sampled “organic” coffee brewed from beans grown in the mountains of northern Okinawa.
“This festival’s key words are passion and learning, not only enjoying,” organizer Ogosji Tomoya said of the event that brought people together from various parts of the coffee industry to share experiences at workshops and seminars. “Every shop has a passion and specialty, and our goal is to share that with you.”
Okinawan coffee has a pleasant aroma and an earthy acidic taste that comes, according to one local coffee farmer, from wet coffee beans lying on the ground as they dry.
Festival-goers could also sample coffee from Costa Rica, Kenya, and Honduras.
“A Film About Coffee,” which played at the festival, showed the production of coffee on farms in Honduras and Rwanda. The movie featured coffee farmers, buyers, roasters and baristas talking about the crop’s economic and environmental implications on Okinawa and abroad.
American Josiah Moreno, who attended the event with his wife and three kids, said the family came to check out the different types of coffee.
“I’ve been to a coffee festival before — this one is more compact but still it is good to get something on the island,” he said in between sips of festival-brew samples.
The festival had plenty of sweet food to wash down with the coffee, including crepes, Okinawan chocolate and pastries.
Festival organizers, overwhelmed by the large crowd at the inaugural event, plan to move it to a larger venue next year.