100% Kona Coffee Preferred Over Kona Blend Coffee (Kona Coffee Blends)
Lower priced Kona Coffee Blends Compete With Pure Kona Coffee
A major controversy has been going on for more than a decade regarding the blending of cheaper imported coffees with Kona coffee and selling it as a Kona Blend, Kona Style, or other names that represent the coffee using the Kona name though typically contain only about 10% Kona coffee.
Of the more than 700 coffee farms in Kona along with many small and medium-sized roasters there are just a few very big Hawaii-based roasters that blend their coffee with South American and Central American coffees. These large roasters purchase coffee from several hundred Kona coffee farms.
According to Hawaii State law the Kona blends must contain at least 10% Kona coffee by weight and are subject to labeling rules that require the percentage to be clearly stated on the bag. The law also applies to the marketing and advertising of Hawaiian coffee.
Many Kona coffee estates that offer only 100% pure Kona coffee have complained that the sale of Kona coffee blends confuses consumers and degrades the Kona coffee brand by representing inferior coffees as Kona coffees.
Others counter that the consumers who seek out the pure Kona coffee are a different group than those who prefer the lower priced Kona coffee blends, and that if there was no blending the market would be flooded with the much higher priced 100% Kona coffee, ultimately harming the farmer’s interests.
This issue will certainly continue to be debated among Hawaii’s coffee farmers, roasters, and regulators.
While many farmers have called for the banning of all labeling of coffee as Kona coffee unless it is 100% Kona coffee, to date the legislation drafted regarding this issue has only insisted on a minimum of 10% Kona coffee and has focused on better labeling to provide consumers with knowledge and allow them to choose if they want to buy a Kona coffee blend rather than pure Kona coffee.