A little over a week ago the bill strengthening labeling requirements for Hawaii-grown coffee blends was deferred. This is disappointing, because it was getting further along without opposition than previous attempts. Committees hear a bill, and if approved, the bill continues along to the next committee before it can become law. Similar bills have been introduced and killed for almost 20 years.
As a reminder, only 10% of Kona coffee is required in order for a coffee to be called a Kona blend. The image I used for this post is a visual of approximately what 10% looks like. Imagine all the white space filled with coffees from anywhere else in the world, but this could be called a Kona blend.
Bill HB1886 would require that a Hawaii Coffee Blend (or a blend identified as any regional coffee — Kona or otherwise — grown in Hawai’i) contain at least 51% of the coffee in the package and actually be grown in the region specified on the label. Further, HB1886 requires that the “non-Hawai’i grown” coffee also be identified on the label so consumers are fully informed as to the product they are purchasing.
Here’s a video about 100% Kona vs. Kona blends.
Here are a few articles from West Hawaii Today that relate to Bill HB1886: (1) “It’s Not Just a Kona Problem,” Jan. 31, 2020 and (2) “Bill calling for Kona coffee percentage increase stalls,” Feb. 29, 2020.
Last year I wrote a post about a lawsuit against fake Kona coffee. It’s not the same as the blending issue, but it’s related and has to do with consumer deception: https://beaskneesfarm.com/2019/03/10/kona-coffee-farmers-suing-over-fake-kona-coffee/