Kona Farmers Demand Origin Transparency

Could this finally spell the end to that 10% Kona / 90% filler “good Hawaiian coffee” that grandma demands every Christmas?

Via HuffPo:

Kona coffee growers want Hawaii’s labeling law modified to provide more details on packages of coffee blends that contain Hawaii-grown beans.

Currently, coffee blends sold in the state that contain Hawaii-grown coffee must disclose what percentage is grown in the islands, and it must be at least 10 percent. The Kona Coffee Farmers Association said Thursday that it wants the state Legislature to consider a bill it has drafted that would also identify where the remainder of the blend is grown.

If the association is successful an example of a package label would read, “90 percent Panamanian coffee, 10 percent Kona coffee.”

The state senator from Kona said Thursday he plans to introduce the bill at the end of the month. “I respect the local community and Kona coffee is a big issue for us,” state Sen. Josh Green, D-Milolii-Waimea, said.

Next year buy Grandma Tu-Tu something from that big haole Pete Licata.

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  2. says

    while i do think it’s important for there to be truth-in-labeling, those in the industry (especially in the Hawaiian coffee industry) also know that Kona-based processors take advantage of the region’s distinction at the expense of other coffee growing areas in Hawaii. for example, it’s not uncommon for a Kona mill/roastery to buy coffee from Ka’u or Puna, process it and stamp the Kona name on the bag so they can command a premium for it. in other words, if they’re so concerned with TRUTH in labeling, why not be honest and protect the integrity of all Hawaiian coffees through full disclosure? seems like they’re really trying to keep other exceptional growing regions out of the spotlight… sounds like product insecurity to me!
    the most important issue, for me, is to simply buy direct from the producer/farmer. in general, if you’re going to shell out the money for a high-quality Hawaiian coffee anyway, you might as well do some research and go directly to the source. investigate, ask questions, talk to the people (they actually speak English!) and find out how much they really know about their product and coffee in general. i’ve been sadly disappointed with the lack of knowledge most farms in Hawaii have regarding their product. most baristas in moderately respectable cafes understand more about coffee than many of the producers/processors/sellers of Hawaiian coffee.
    recently, a friend turned me onto these guys: http://www.bigislandcoffeeroasters.com
    sincere, intelligible and just plain nice people that really seem to be working hard to provide quality Hawaiian coffee at a reasonable price. i like that they focus on single estates too. i used to think most of the island’s coffees were pretty much the same. they’re showing me otherwise. recommended: Ka’u and Puna

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