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Photos taken on Saturday before the crowds and before the flower lei were placed on the graves.

The Rising Sun Farm of Ka’u reached the pinnacle of the specialty coffee world by earning the 2010 Coffee of the Year award in the Hawaii-USA category at the prestigious Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Roasters Guild international cupping competition at the SCAA’s 22nd annual expo.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, “mouth-feel,” acidity, sweetness and aftertaste. Participating coffees are cupped blind by a panel of highly qualified experts.

This marks the fourth consecutive year Ka’u coffees have earned international acclaim in the prestigious competition and the second time Rising Sun has earned a top spot.

Competing against 134 exceptional coffees assembled from such legendary coffee origins as Columbia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru, the Rising Sun earned an impressive 87.563 score.

The seven-acre farm, operated by Will & Grace Tabios of Na’alehu is located at 1900-foot elevation on lands upland of the town of Pahala where the family cultivates Guatemalan Typica and Bourbon varietals. Will & Grace’s winning coffee was produced by the labor-intensive “pulped natural” method which produces pleasantly sweet, bright, citrus and floral flavors.

Rising Sun coffee is available at Alan Wong’s famous King Street restaurant in Honolulu, Will and Grace’s store in Naalehu or by calling (808) 557-4441.

The SCAA is the world’s largest coffee trade association dedicated to supporting a vibrant specialty coffee community. For more information, visit www.scaa.org

Dramatic enhancements were unveiled recently at Kā‘anapali Ali‘i, situated on Kā‘anapali Beach in Maui.

A second freshwater swimming pool, a new whirlpool spa, and an expanded children’s pool were added to the Alii’s popular center courtyard.  Plus a new pool pavilion with flat screen TVs and earth-toned lounge furniture has become an instant gathering place.  The cool shade of this indoor-outdoor pavilion offers an alternative to the sundeck and the beach.

The resort also invested in and just opened a new state-of-the-art Fitness Center located across from the porte cochere.  Large picture windows open up views of the scenic West Maui Mountains and the Kaanapali Kai Golf Course; there’s cardio equipment outfitted with TVs; flat screen TVs strategically placed around the fitness area, the latest in strength equipment, and a serene yoga and stretching area.

In partnership with The Westin Maui, the much-anticipated Ali’i Spa has opened with spa treatment rooms and professional spa services. In addition, guests will find a second freshwater swimming pool, a new whirlpool spa, and an expanded Children’s Pool, that opened just before the Holidays.

What to expect at the Alii Spa?  Ooh … there are a menu of pleasures!  Choose a sports massage (50 minutes for $150), a full body massage using heat and your choice of aromatherapy (from 25 minutes for $75), or the uniquely Hawaiian “Pohaku” hot stone massage (from 50 minutes for $145) that combines a full body massage with the use of hot basalt stones to melt muscular tension.

Facials at the Alii Spa are designed for both men and women utilizing organic ingredients including fruit, vegetable and herbal skincare products.  Selections include the Signature Aromatherapy Facial (50 minutes for $135) and the Royal Pure Skin Facial (80 minutes for $180) that includes a deep purifying and pampering treatment.

Kā‘anapali Ali‘i offers luxury beachfront rentals that is an excellent choice for families and couples offerings lot of amenities, services and facilities.

Reservations 1-866-966-5790 or visit the website.

Images courtesy of Kā‘anapali Ali‘i

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