HB280 – Letter to The Honorable Clarence K. Nishihara, Chairman, Senate Agriculture Committee


March 17, 2012

The Honorable Clarence K. Nishihara       Kona Coffee Farmers Association
Chairman, Senate Agriculture Committee                                   Legislative Committee
State Capitol, Room 204                        P.O Box 5436 Kailua-Kona, HI 96745
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Dear Senator Nishihara:

RE:  HB280, HD1/SD1 (Relating to Agriculture)

Thank you, for including us in the meeting yesterday on HB 280 with the Hawaii Coffee Company and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture in your offices.  We regret that we could not attend in person as discussing this complicated and highly charged issue over the phone proved difficult.  It might have been better if we all could have shared a cup of coffee.

We are aware that the Hawaii Coffee Company and those for whom they speak represent some of the largest commercial interests in Hawaii.  KCFA and other grass roots farming organizations also represent important people—the hundreds of families in Kona and throughout Hawaii who farm.  The suggestion by others in the meeting that KCFA is just some “50 people” whose views are not equal to those large commercial interests was disingenuous and insulting.

As is discussed in the attached memo sent before the meeting, we felt our March 15 teleconference with the Hawaii Coffee Company was productive.  We thought it brought us closer together on the issue of protecting the commercial value of Hawaii’s “origin” coffees.  We fully agree that guaranteeing the origin of Kona and Hawaii’s other unique coffees is vital to all our futures and the future of many Hawaiians.

We obviously differ on the best way to do that, but our views should not be dismissed because they differ from others who seem to claim their views are more important.  As we said at the very beginning of the meeting, we hoped that the discussion would not be a matter of only two sides and that we would try to find a middle ground.  Unfortunately we may all ehave run off a cliff.

We do not think, as the Department of Agriculture has repeatedly testified, that: “a voluntary certification program, and mandatory compliance with grading standards and origin documentation . . . will provide sufficient protection for Hawaii’s coffee industry.”   We are concerned that “documentation”, without HDOA’s oversight and “certification” of origin will just amount to enhanced record keeping and do little to guarantee origin.

Mandatory certification of at least “Prime” grade, for all wholesale quantities of green coffee shipped out of origin is a key component of HDOA’s current rules for certifying origin.  Jettisoning even this minimal quality assurance in favor of “voluntary certification” will, as it has before, enable fraud and erode the reputation of Kona and other Hawaiian origin coffees.   Quality assurance is a component of successful product origin regimes.  We are advised, for example, that the lack of a single quality standard in Puerto Rico has eroded buyer confidence there.

We also agree with others at the meeting that HDOA’s current grade certification procedures are too subjective, often ad hoc and not in compliance with HDOA’s own rules.  This has likely contributed to the frustration many feel with the grade certification process.  That is why we suggested a more objective way of determining “Prime” certification as a way to preserve the current minimum quality requirements of HDOA’s rules.

Though it fell to me to write this letter,  KCFA’s leadership has vetted and approved it.  KCFA agrees with many of the points and concerns HB280’s proponents have raised, but will be compelled to continue to oppose the bill if it does not include a more robust program to protect “origin” than has thus far been proposed.

Very Truly Yours,
KCFA Legislative Committee

S/  David S. Case
By:  David S. Case, Member

cc-Electronic Only:
Cea Smith, President, KCFA
Glenn Martinez, President, Hawaii Farmers Union United,
Senator Gilbert Kahele
Senator Josh Green, M.D.
Russell Kokubun, HDOA Chair
Wendy Clerinx, Advisor to the Governor
John Buckstead, Advisor to the Governor
Bruce Corker, Chair, KCFA Legislative Committee
Colehour Bondera, Member, KCFA Legislative Committee
Jim Wayman, President, Hawaii Coffee Co.
West Hawaii Today
Honolulu Star Advertiser
Associated Press

Enclosure (as stated)



TO:  Senator Clarence K. Nishihara,
Chairman, Hawaii State Senate
Committee on Agriculture

THROUGH:  Senator Gilbert Kahele
Vice-Chairman, Hawaii State Senate
Committee on Agriculture

FROM:  Legislative Committee, Kona Coffee Farmers Association (KCFA)


DATE:  March 16, 2012


At the conclusion of its March 13 hearing on HB280, HD1, the Senate Agriculture Committee deferred the Bill for decision until March 20.  The Chair advised the proponents and opponents of the Bill that he would make time to meet with them to see if a mutually acceptable HB280, SD1 could be drafted for the Committee’s approval.  Otherwise the Bill would die.

KCFA President Emeritus, Colehour Bondera, Legislative Committee Chair, Bruce Corker, and Committee Member, David Case, met with Hawaii Coffee Company President, Jim Wayman, by teleconference on March 15.  A diplomat might say that it was a “full and frank discussion” of the background, purpose and the language that the proponents have advanced in support of the Bill as well as questions and concerns KCFA has about it.


  1. HB 280’s Origin and Purpose


The Bill’s proponents, representing some of Hawaii’s largest coffee growers, processors and marketers, contend that the current mandatory certification of grade and origin in Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) §147-7(d) and the corresponding prohibitions under HRS §147-23(b) should be repealed. Instead they propose a program of mandatory documentation (but not certification) of origin with severe criminal penalties and voluntary certification of grade.  The proponents have developed these proposals in consultation with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), but for various reasons were not able to draft the legislation now being proposed until shortly before the Committee’s March 13 hearing.

KCFA was not invited to participate in this process and was unaware of the purpose and background of the legislation until the March 15 teleconference.  Based primarily on that teleconference, KCFA understands that mandatory certification of grade has become an obstacle to the effective marketing of Hawaiian coffee—particularly large quantities of green coffee, but also natural coffees and coffee with defects due to coffee berry borer damage. The proponents also voice concern that HDOA’s grade certification criteria are subjective and often ad hoc without any basis in HDOA’s rules.  These factors, coupled with reductions in the number of HDOA inspectors in 2009, have led to some delays in coffee inspection and certification resulting in significant financial and business uncertainty for coffee processors and marketers.

  1. KCFA’s Current Position


a.  Origin Documentation/Certification
KCFA is an organization generally representing small, family coffee and mixed crop farms of between 2 to 10 acres located in the historic Kona Coffee District of Hawaii County.  Ever since the notorious Kona Kai scandal, its members have relied on HDOA’s inspection and certification of both grade and origin to insure the high quality and corresponding market price of Kona coffee.  KCFA agrees that tougher, more consistent certification (not just “documentation”) of origin is essential to protect the statewide, Hawaiian coffee industry from counterfeiting of the sort that led to the Kona Kai affair.  We are concerned that merely “documenting” origin will be or become a mere matter of record keeping without active HDOA oversight (that is certification) of origin.

b.  Grade Certification
KCFA also agrees that HDOA’s current criteria for inspecting and grading coffee are often too subjective and susceptible to the inspectors’ ad hoc determinations that have no basis in HDOA’s rules.  For example, we know of situations where parchment has been down graded because it had been stored more than 8 months, even though it was stored in a climate controlled room and to the best of our knowledge was not otherwise defective under the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR).  See HAR §4-143-6(i), (j) and (k).

KCFA believes, however, that some certification as to quality is necessary to maintain Hawaiian “origin” coffee’s reputation and market value.  We believe that outright abandonment of any required HDOA grade determination will lead the consumers of Hawaii’s origin coffees to conclude that they are of inferior or at least uncertain quality.  A system requiring all “origin” coffees to be of at least “Prime” quality to be certified as to their specific Hawaiian origin would meet this concern.  See Hawaii Administrative Rule (HAR) §4-143-6(e), (f) and (g).  KCFA would propose, however, that this determination be made solely by visual and other more objective requirements than taste—eliminating the requirement that Prime coffee be brewed to be certified as is now required under HAR §4-143-6(e).

  1. Proposed HB280, SD1 Language


The language HB280’s proponents have informally advanced as currently drafted illustrates the difficulty of writing legislation to address complex problems in the rushed time frame of a legislative session.  That is particularly true as in this case when the legislation was introduced after the January 25, 2012 deadline for bill introduction and could not be sufficiently researched, vetted with a wider range of stakeholders and given a thorough and deliberate legal review.  The core of the proposal is new §147-11 (“Hawaii Coffee Counterfeiting”) to be added to “Part I” HRS Chapter 147 (dealing with the general rules relating to commodities), yet the definitions to be used in §147-11 are lodged in Part II of HRS Chapter 147, dealing with the “export” of those commodities.

Beyond that the definitions themselves define terms that either are not used in §147-11 (such as “Coffee Cherry” and “Coffee Parchment”) or terms used in §147-11 (such as “beans”) that are defined differently in the applicable regulations.  Compare HAR §4-143-3 defining “Bean” to mean only  “the seed of the fruit of the coffea arabica plant” and proposed HRS §147-21 defining “Hawaii grown coffee” to mean “beans grown in the State of Hawaii, to include unroasted seeds of the coffee plant in all its forms including coffee cherry(ies) and coffee parchment.”  Proposed §147-11 imposes criminal penalties for its violation.  The terms on which it relies should be carefully defined to avoid ambiguity as to their meaning that might frustrate prosecution.


KCFA is willing to work out a  mutual solution, but without surrendering the integrity of Hawaii’s origin coffees through self-directed quality certifications that are notoriously subject to abuse and deception as Kona Kai taught us.  KCFA supports the intent of HB280 and could support the legislation if it can be revised to provide for a more robust “certification” system to ensure the integrity of both the origin and the basic quality of Hawaii’s unique specialty coffees as well as successful prosecution for violating the statute.  If those purposes can be agreed upon, the Bill must be carefully drafted to achieve them.  KCFA proposes that it prepare the next draft of HB280, SD1 for consideration.

Corrected Botanigard-ES Application Cost Chart

The chart showing the approximate cost to spray coffee trees with Botanigard-ES and Spreader was incorrect due to a conversion factor error.
The corrected version is shown here.  Please accept our apologies for any confusion this may have caused.

Number of Trees Botanigard-ES Spreader Approx. Cost
650 2 quarts 1 quarts $135
1300 3 quarts 2 quarts $215
1950 1 gallon 2 quarts $248
2600 1 gallon + 2 quarts 3 quarts $383
3250 1 gallon + 3 quarts 3 quarts $438
3900 2 gallons 1 gallon $497

March 2012 Newsletter

not final

March 2012 KCFA Newsletter Printable PDF

Message from President…
Welcome to the 2012 Kona Coffee Farmers Association year. Following six very successful years, the new Board of Directors is looking forward to continued achievements. We take our job as the voice of the Kona Coffee farmer seriously and to that end, we will persevere. It is an exciting and busy time with the State Legislature in session hearing many Bills that affect Kona coffee farmers. All of us need to participate in the legislative process to help protect the Kona coffee name and reputation.

Of particular importance as we get into the coffee season is the recent release of the CBB management video. This video which originated within and was initially funded by KCFA is making its mark and will no doubt increase our Education promise to coffee farmers. Yay!

Social Events is busy planning for our Kona Coffee Blossom Banquet scheduled for April 28th. Membership has lots of new ideas for this year and of course our Geographic Identity Committee has much to continue to do. Finally, the KCFA website is having a real make-over to be accomplished by May. After 5 years, the site has found its true needs and will reorganize to be up to date and highly functional.

Your Board of Directors for 2012 are:
Cecelia B Smith – President
Mary Lou Moss – Vice President and Fundraising/Social Events Chair
Thomas Butler- Secretary
Christy Carrico- Treasurer (Finance Chair)
And Board Members: Bruce Corker (Legislative Chair), Clare Wilson (PR
Chair), Colehour Bondera (Geographic Identity Chair), Louise Hanna
(Membership Chair) and Paul Uster (Education/Grants Chair).

A big MAHALO to all the Board and Committee Chairs who serve unselfishly and give of their free time as KCFA volunteers, so that all of our over 300 KCFA members will have their voices heard, especially as farming Kona coffee becomes more complicated due to the CBB invasion.

To our General Membership: If you want to contribute to any of the various KCFA activities, you are heartily encouraged to do so by contacting the various Chairs. We are stronger when we all hang together, as the voice of the Kona Coffee Farmer.

Aloha, Cea (Cecelia B Smith)

CBB IPM Video Released

KCFA was instrumental in the production of the Farmer-to-Farmer video about Integrated Beetle www.youtube.com/KonaCoffeeFarmers and will be out soon on DVD.

The beetle has spread at an alarming rate, reaching nearly every farm within a year of its official identification. Some untreated farms have reported bean damage of 80%. Kona has a uniquely dense coffee farm structure, where the beetle crosses boundaries with ease. Cooperation and education within the community is imperative to reduce everyone’s losses.

One of the key challenges has been disseminating accurate information for basic pest management. KCFA has led the way in this regard, hosting multiple workshops and working with the Department of Ag to get Botanigard legalized. This ten-minute video is the next step. It demonstrates the three main aspects of integrated CBB management: (1) Sanitation and Gleaning –removing cherries from the orchard in a timely manner; (2) Spraying the fungus—the only legal, effective pesticide for CBB; and (3) Trapping—helping identify trouble spots. Techniques for coffee mills are also highlighted. This video is groundbreaking community collaboration in a time of crisis. The Kohala Center and Kamehameha Schools were also involved as funders. Kamehameha Schools, landowner of 70% of Kona coffee farms, brought in noted videographer Gary Sprinkle to film the video and will be mailing DVDs to all their agricultural tenants. Andrea Kawabata of CTAHR was also involved. The video is available in both English and Spanish versions and KCFA will have copies available for pickup at events. Be sure to share the link with your neighbors and watch the video with your workers and harvesting crews.

Pruning for CBB Management Reminder

As you prune, remember to remove all mature or raisin cherry from your verticals. Just one bean can host 100 beetles and serves as a vector for next year’s infestation.

Fungus Recommendations Updated

Based on conversations with Colombian farmers, KCFA has updated our recommendations for Beauveria bassiana spraying. Spraying every 60 days, year round, along with proper sanitation has kept the pest in check at an under 5% loss rate on many South American farms. Farms with bad borders may need to spray “hot spots” more frequently. Download the latest IPM sheet from the KCFA website.

HDOA Quarantine Now Permanent

On January 30, the Board of Agriculture voted in Honolulu to make the quarantine on interisland shipment of Kona and Ka’u coffee permanent. KCFA was there to testify to the inadequacies of the Quarantine Rule. While we supported the need to limit the spread of CBB, KCFA testified as to how the rules were unclear, and favor large shippers of coffee. Organic or small producers have a higher barrier of entry into the state market. At this time, the primary method of quarantine treatment is Fumigation at Kona Trans, which is not feasible for small shipments of coffee. The alternative, Heat Treatment (or parroasting) method has the potential to alter cup flavors as chemical changes begin to occur in the bean.
The third method, Freeze Treatment, has recently been approved. But freezing must be done in the presence of HDOA. The Plant Quarantine Branch (PQB) will not accept treatment on the farm. Freezing can be done in the PQB’s airport office if there is space available in the HDOA freezer. Contact them at 326-1077 if you wish to ship interisland.

Processors Estimated CBB Losses

Jim Wayman testified to the Board of Ag on the insect damage seen by large processors this past season. Hawaii Coffee Company lost $0.5 million due to failure of Kona green to meet Prime grade. He estimated the green coffee loss at $6 million region-wide, and a roasted value loss of $18 million. He noted that their conversion rates of cherry used to be 5.5 lbs cherry for 1 lb certifiable green, which dropped to 7.8 lbs cherry in 2011.
Another large processor noted to a KCFA member that he had not seen Extra Fancy pass grade from October 2011 onward. Coincidentally, the large Processors are now pushing for the removal of the green certification system. This can only be to the detriment of Kona’s quality and reputation.

Huge Savings on CBB Products
KCFA negotiated reduced prices on Beauveria bassiana products and a spreader that members need to fight CBB infestation. Because KCFA represents about 300 farms, we are able to get better than retail prices. A chart at the end of the newsletter gives the prices for all available products.
These prices are available only to current (paid thru 2012) KCFA members. Order now on the KCFA web site to get these prices.
Go to:
http://www.konacoffeefarmers.org and Login to your member account, go to the Store and order the products you will need for the season.
Re-orders in April and later may be higher due to shipping costs. As long as the storage temperature does not stay above 85-degrees F., fungal spores will remain active for 12 months, according to BioWorks, the major distributor.
Figure how much spray you need for your farm for the season and buy it now. You may wish to get together with friends to split larger quantities to save money.
To follow the CBB guidelines, developed by Suzanne Shriner, Bob Smith and the CBB Taskforce, you need 7 ounces of Mycotrol-O* or Botanigard per acre, per spray. You need 3 ounces of Ecospreader per acre, per spray.
If you have 5 acres of coffee trees, that’s 35 ounces of Beauveria bassiana and 15 ounces of spreader per spray.
Guidelines are to spray bi-monthly or more often if CBB infestation is heavy (15% or more cherry loss, but you be the judge). To spray bi-monthly from March 2012 to February 2013 is 6 sprays. The total Beauveraia bassiana product for 6 sprays of 5 acres is 210 ounces or 3.28 gallons. Rounding up is 3 gallons, 1 quart of Beauveraia bassiana product. The total spreader needed for 6 sprays is 1.4 gallons.

Chart for the calculations of the amount of products and approximate cost for 6 sprays per season, based on number of trees:

Mycotrol-O quart (organic) $73.65 $86.46 17.4%
Botanigard-ES quart $55.00 $72.00 30.9%
Botanigard-ES gallon $198.50 $247.00 24.4%
Ecospreader gallon $99.75 $186.96 87.4%
of Trees
Botanigard-ES Spreader Approx.
650 3 quarts 2 quarts $215
1300 1 gallon + 1 quart 1 gallon $353
1950 1 gallon + 3 quarts 1 gallon + 1 quart $490
2600 2 gallons + 1 quart 1 gallon + 3 quarts $630
3250 3 gallons 2 gallons $800
3900 3 gallons + 2 quarts 2 gallons + 2quarts $960

For more information on CBB treatments, consult the KCFA web site and the videos on YouTube:
Buy now and save!

* Mycotrol-O is approved for organic farms. The spores are exactly the same as those in Botanigard, but it has a vegetable oil base that is approved for organic use.

Legislative Update

HB1827—After testimony in opposition from dozens of KCFA members, this ill-conceived and poorly drafted bill was “deferred” by the House Agriculture Committee on February 3 and died in committee. This bill, among other things, would have authorized entry on to farms without notice or a warrant; authorized the destruction of coffee trees with CBB; and authorized the imposition of a lien on the farm property to recover the costs of destroying the coffee. Many thanks go to all of you who sent testimony requesting the defeat of this bill.

HB280—This bill would abolish the statutory system of HDOA inspection and certification of green coffee that has protected the “Kona” reputation for more than a decade. This inspection and certification system was put in place after the Kona Kai coffee counterfeiting scandal of the mid-1990s. If you would like a reminder of the dangers created by a system of “voluntary” certification that are demonstrated by the Kona Kai scandal, use the following link to read the 2001 article entitled “We Was Robbed!” by Donald Schoenholt (president of Gillies Coffee Co. in New York City and a KCFA member) — http://www.teaandcoffee.net/0401/special2.htm The Kona Kai scandal was an embarrassment to the entire State of Hawaii—and especially to the Kona region. “Voluntary” certification is an invitation to counterfeiting and fraud.

HB280 has been sponsored and supported by the Honolulu 10% Blenders and their processor allies. To see who they are—go the Hawaii State Legislature website, enter “HB280” in the box at the top of the page for “Bill Status/Measure Status”, and then on the page for HB280 click on the links to the testimony. Unfortunately, HB280 has already passed two House committees and will likely be considered next by the Senate Agriculture Committee. This is a very bad bill for the integrity of Kona coffee. Please call or email Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Clarence Nishihara (808-586-6970 / sennishihara@Capitol.hawaii.gov ) and urge him to kill HB280.

SPECIAL THANKS—KCFA Legislative Committee member David Case spent almost 3 weeks in Honolulu in late January and early February during which time he met with legislators and representatives of the Abercrombie Administration—and gave testimony on coffee related measures before Legislative committees and the Board of Agriculture. David put in yeoman’s work and did a superb job on behalf of the KCFA. Mahalo, David

Save the Date and Save Your Money!!

The Kona Coffee Cherry Blossom Banquet is coming on Saturday, April 28th at the King Kamehameha Hotel.
The auction items are coming in and are very exciting. We will be keeping an updated listing of the fabulous auction items again this year on our website. Check it out. Adding more every week!

If any of you have an item that you would like to donate to our silent or live auction, please get in touch with Mary Lou Moss @ 896-4175/329-4035 or Marylou@cuppakona.com. Also, consider asking your customers if they would like to donate to our organization. KCFA has one fundraiser each year and the money goes for educational purposes. We would like to buy a projector & screen (like the kind Paul Uster loaned us for the EXPO).

A Note from the Membership Committee

All Members who have not paid their 2012 Annual Dues, will be dropped
from the KCFA email List on April 1, 2012. Your KCFA Annual Dues give you all the possible current news on Kona Coffee and is the voice of the Kona Coffee Farmer. If you agree, then renew today! Thank you. For Member “username” and “password” info, email: info@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org with subject: Member Info ☺

2012 KCFA Committee Descriptions

Standing Committees

Education Description:   Facilitate information exchange to enable Kona farmers’ improvement of the quality, yield, and profitability of their 100% Kona coffee product(s). Educate the coffee-consuming public about the opportunities, issues, and threats to this heritage industry.
Grants Description:  Seek and procure external funding for KCFA initiatives. As available, develop a grant agricultural scholarship program for North and South Kona district residents.


Description: To oversee and support the financial well-being of the KCFA, in a way that supports our mission and ensures our financial future

Fundraising/Social Events
Description: Implement and oversee the fundraising events with the goal of bringing money into the organizations as well as bringing a sense of ownership to the members.  2012 Objective:  Want members to understand that the fundraising events we engage in trickle down to them in the form of better educational seminars, better legislative efforts, better hand out materials to tourists, and better bonding at social events.

Geographic Identity
Description:  To protect the geographical identity of 100% Kona coffee through collaborative alliances, marketing, legal action, and legislation from local to international levels. 2012 Objective:  To finalize the founding of American Origin Products Association (AOPA), to participate in efforts of oriGIn in the USA and internationally, and to attend the Terra Madre in Italy to connect with other GI groups and to pass on the annual award Kona coffee received in 2010.

Description: Protect Kona Coffee interests in the Legislature: End 10% Kona Blends; Reduce Mainland Counterfeiting of Kona coffee.
2012 Objective:  In addition to the above, active involvement in the 2012 elections with candidate questionnaires and candidate forums.

Description:  Purpose is to seek (increase our numbers), embrace (recognize), involve (as volunteers), and serve (listen to their voice) our members.

Description:  Purpose is to keep current with P&D issues and to continue to act as the interface for KCFA members. 2012 Objective:  To remain active and to continue to inform KCFA members.

Description- To keep public informed and improve KCFA image

Ad Hoc Committees

Description:  Explore with UH and/or commercial interests analytical techniques that discriminate 100% Kona Coffees from non-100% Kona Coffees.


Description: To review related questions as they come in to the KCFA. 2012 Objective is to continue.

Description:  To keep all KCFA members, and the public up-to-date via the website. 2012 Objective is to re-vamp the website.

any questions may be emailed to the individual Committee Chair or info@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org

KCFA Kona Coffee Label Shirt

KCFA Kona Coffee Label Shirt

Close up of actual shirt pattern designed by Debbie Donald

(Each shirt size will have a different visual of the labels as the cloth is 30 inches wide. So the less material on one vs. more material on larger sizes will create a different presentation.)


The limited edition Kona Coffee Label shirt is now available!  Custom designed by Debbie Donald of Mokulele Farms, the shirt features the coffee labels of fifteen of our KCFA farmers.  Also in the design one can find the KCFA logo, honu, and coffee sprigs.

This shirt was produced by the renowned Tori Richard company of Honolulu, using their trademarked Tori Richard Cotton Lawn® fabric.  This fabric is prized for its performance in warm climates, light weight, resistance to creasing, and its subtle luster. The feel is luxurious.

These aloha shirts are now on sale at the KCFA online store for $65. Individual farmers will also be selling them on their websites:  CuppaKonaCoffee – Chuck & Mary Lou Moss; Daily Fix Coffee – Sandra Scarr; Green Gecko Coffee – Lawton Allenby; Hualalai Mauka Farms – Marion Solomon; Kona Perfect Coffee and Hoogasian Flowers – Harold Hoogasian; Kona Rainforest Coffee – Dawn & Robert Barnes; Lyman Kona Coffee Farms – Hans & Marcia Eckert; Mokulele Farms – Debbie Donald & Paul Uster; Mountain Thunder – Trent & Lisa Bateman; Rancho Aloha – Bruce & Lisa Corker; Smithfarms- Bob & Cea Smith; Sweet Spirit Farms – Deb Sims.

Limited amount of shirts and sizes available, so do not hesitate if you want one.

We have all sizes available now!

February 2012 Newsletter

Message from President Bondera
Aloha Kona Coffee Community Members:

As outgoing President of KCFA, the main issues at hand are to both reflect on what we have done so far, and more-so to see where we are now and how we can best move forward! Essentially we must work together since together we (Kona coffee farmers) make up a small community. Our group must strive toward the vital component of our effort, which is to put INTEGRITY before and above financial return, and our ethical integrity can and should drive all of our decisions on our own farms, within KCFA, and in my opinion in all aspects of life!

That said, in the past year we have been able to work with the HDOA, with CTAHR, with Kamehameha Schools, with legislative members, as well as with many individuals at the ground level towards our mission of both promoting and protecting Kona coffee and the realities of Kona coffee farmers. At the national (American Origin Products Association) and international (oriGIn) levels the Kona coffee and KCFA names are getting the attention they deserve and we should maintain those efforts since the world is a small place as many of us are aware.

As is clear from a pest problem such as CBB, political borders do not leave one farm unaffected while another suffers, and it is vital that we all work together to maintain the QUALITY of our geographically indicated product – Kona coffee – and try as we may to keep the quality and integrity of reaching that quality to the highest standards.

Let us all continue to work together and recognize the importance of supporting the range of views and understanding that if we are not in an area that we must show appreciation for what is accomplished even if we would have done it differently. None of us can do it all, and we each can instead volunteer where we are the most affective…

My efforts will continue to retain the integrity of the Kona coffee name, and thereby support that recognition worldwide, starting right here at home on my families’ organic farm in Honaunau…

Colehour Bondera

Coffee Origin Disclosure Bill Introduced

On January 19, at KCFA’s request Kona’s State Senator Josh Green introduced the Coffee Origin Disclosure Bill as Senate Bill No. 2097. The bill was assigned to the Senate Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee. Although urged to give an early hearing to the bill in emails from many KCFA members, the committee chair, Senator Rosalyn Baker of Maui, has stated that she will not hold a hearing. We continue to urge her to change that position and encourage KCFA members to send emails doing the same. The following is an outline of points in support of the bill drafted by KCFA member David Case who has been meeting with legislators in Honolulu about the need for origin disclosure:

(KCFA Briefing Points)
a—Requiring labels to tell consumers what is in the package is the most basic of the elements of consumer protection and fair marketing.
b—Most victims of the deception of 10% Blends are tourists. It should be a concern to the tourist industry and to the state as a whole if tourists come to believe they are being conned and deceived in Hawaii—contrary to the aloha spirit. The common reaction of visitors when given an explanation of what a “Kona Coffee Blend” is: “Does the State of Hawaii really allow them to do that?”
c—Hawaii is the only region anywhere in the world that by law authorizes the use of the name of one of its specialty agriculture products with only 10% genuine content.

QUESTION: What is the economic significance of Kona and other Hawaiian specialty “origin” coffees?
ANSWER: Kona coffee is the livelihood for hundreds of family farms on The Big Island. Other specialty coffees are of growing economic significance on Maui and Oahu. These are small businesses that are vital to Hawaii’s economy.
Coffee is a labor-intensive crop.
Annual labor costs alone on a 5 to 10 acre farm can run $25,000 to $50,000. This is money paid to local workers that stays in Hawaii and is multiplied many times supporting suppliers of other goods and services. Coffee also requires lots of other resources like fertilizer and other agricultural products. Kona coffee (and other origin coffees) are premium crops and are not economic to grow on small farms unless they fetch premium prices.
Lumping “origin” coffee with generic “blend” coffee eliminates the significance of origin coffee.
Maintaining the integrity of all origin coffee is essential to maintaining Hawaii’s small farm economy.
QUESTION: JBM Coffee generally sells for 25-35% more than 100% Kona in specialty coffee shops. Why? JMB acreage is comparable to Kona’s—and our coffee is of equal or better quality.
ANSWER: Jamaica protects the JBM name with truth labeling requirements and enforcement.
Hawaii does not, and in fact allows the “Kona Coffee” market to be flooded with faux Kona (i.e., 10% in Hawaii and no enforcement or protection at all by Hawaii on the Mainland).
QUESTION: Won’t farmers lose sales to blenders if consumers see “Contains: 90% Panamanian Coffee, 10% Kona Coffee” on the label and stop buying blends?
ANSWER: No, if just 2 out of 10 consumers who previously bought 10% Kona blends (most of whom believed they were buying “Kona coffee”) read the disclosure and switch to real 100% Kona, at least DOUBLE the amount of Kona sold. (If 100 tourists bought 1 lb each of 10% “Kona Blend” they would buy only 10 lbs of Kona coffee. If just 20 of those tourists bought a pound of 100% Kona instead, sales of Kona to the same 100 people would double to 20 lbs). And that would be true even if the other 80 decided to spend their money on pineapples instead of coffee.
3– CONCLUSION SB 2097′s labeling requirements protect the coffee consumer and promote Hawaii’s small farm coffee economy.

KFCA elects officers for 2012

Following Coffee EXPO, KFCA held its annual meeting and elected the following officers to serve during 2012:

President Cecelia Smith
Vice President Mary Lou Moss
Secretary Tom Butler
Treasurer Christy Carrico

Other Board members are Colehour Bondera, Bruce Corker, Paul Uster, Clare Wilson, and Louise Hanna.

Mahalo to outgoing President Colehour for his excellent guidance during 2011. Welcome to new Board members Cecelia Smith and Louise Hanna!


From Bob and Cea Smith
Thank you dear Christine Sheppard for being our stalwart Independent Voice Editor. Your sharp mind and wit along with your devotion to The Cause has helped the KCFA go so much further that it would otherwise. You will be sorely missed!
Mahalo nui loa, Christine.

Bob and Cea Smith

(I’m sure I speak for all of us in agreeing completely with Bob and Cea’s letter – Christine is a treasure)

. . . . . . . . .

From Page Trygstad
Aloha Fellow Members,

To the point, KCFA represents the interests of small Kona coffee farmers. The problem is that the board members cannot do all of the work alone. I understand that we are all small business owners and farmers. Those are seven day a week
jobs. That said, KCFA needs the time and support of all farmer members to accomplish its and your goals. By attending a board meeting you have the opportunity to share your experience, strength and hope. By attending CTHAR, HDOA meetings, the annual KCFA meeting you can learn and share knowledge with others. By taking two hours of time out of your busy routine to set up chairs and tables for the annual meeting, including travel time, you further the KCFA efforts to represent us all.

We, as members, all have things that we would like to see improved in the Kona coffee industry. The board members cannot do all the work alone. KCFA needs greater member participation, thinking, ideas, and effort.

There is an origin and labeling bill before the legislature introduced by Senator  Green at the request of KCFA but it is not likely to even get a public hearing because of the processors/blenders influence and political cash, both of which we do not have. There is a proposed bill to charge an “inspection fee” on all imported green beans brought into Hawaii for the 10% “Kona” blends that will likely never even see introduction into the legislature because of actions and a failure of
support at both the legislative and executive levels of government. The “inspection fee” money would be used to combat the CBB. All of us have various degrees of connections to politicians and bureaucrats or connections to connections who
personally know politicians and bureaucrats, KCFA needs that knowledge.

Not every idea is something that KCFA can support or go after right now but the ideas need to be expressed and heard. They may bring about thinking to solve other issues or be a future opportunity. Nothing changes if no one participates.  The big money processors/blenders win every time. You, we, have the power to create change.

What will you do, what will you do???

Page Trygstad

. . . . . . . . .

From Christine Sheppard
Thoughts on the Trade Expo:
The FIFTH annual KCFA Trade Expo has just been held. When Mary Lou Moss brought this concept to Ken and I six years ago we thought it worth a try, but, given how many Kona farmers are reluctant or too busy to come to events, we
expected only a limited success. Now, five hugely successful expos have brought vendors and farmers together to share ideas, find out whats needed, find out whats out there to help. Ken contacted dozens of vendors and persuaded them to
give the Expo a shot. Almost every one of the original vendors has been back each year, and joined by organizations both state and federal. The workshops get better each year; the participation of CTAHR, and now the Chair of the HDoA gives our farming community of all crops a chance to hear and be heard at the
highest level in our State.

KCFA is truly a huge benefit to coffee farmers and the agricultural community of Hawaii, just with this one annual event. And this year’s focus on the Coffee Berry Borer is yet another example of the bold action KCFA takes to combat problems and lead towards solutions.

Christine Sheppard

. . . . . . . . .

From Mike Garrett, Sussex, NJ
Dear Kona Coffee growers,

I am a Christmas tree farmer from rural northwestern NJ.

A few years ago, I vacationed on the Big Island. While traveling, I often enjoy visiting different types of farms. So while on your island I toured some coffee plantations. I was introduced to your wonderful Kona coffee.

I have since ordered 100% Kona delivered to my home several times. It’s a real treat.

This is my concern…

I often see packaging in local stores and on-line that claims to be Kona coffee. Upon reading the fine-print, I realize that it is just 10% Kona and is “blended” with 90% of “who knows what?”

I’ve tried these blends and quite frankly they bear no resemblance to real 100% Kona. If this is the first taste of Kona that someone experiences, I very much doubt that they would ever bother purchasing Kona coffee (of any kind) ever again.

I respect the hard work that Kona growers do in producing one of the world’s best coffees. I find it disheartening that any Kona grower would jeopardize the future of your industry by willingly selling to any company that intends to blend Kona with an inferior product. It is reprehensible that they would then use your valued Kona name on their packaging. It is deceptive advertising at the very least.

I’m sure that your organization already understands the seriousness of this threat to Kona coffee growers. I hope that there are legal avenues that you can pursue to
protect your interests.

As for me, I’ll just continue to enjoy 100% Kona coffee!

Best Regards and Good Luck,
Mike Garrett
Shale Hills Farm
Sussex, NJ 07461

Sherri Johns – Cupping Expert

Cupping Workshops
On Wednesday January 25th and Thursday January 26th, Kona Coffee Festival Judge and cupping expert Sherri Johns conducted four marvelous hands-on  (lips-on?) workshops on Cupping for Quality at the Hula Daddy visitor center kitchen. There were 42 participants, including the general public. Sherri talked about the how and why of cupping, including the importance of cupping your own coffee so you can correct your processing and have a product that tastes clean and sweet and lets the flavors, sparkle, and body of your coffee shine through. She talked about how other elements such as storage and roasting impact coffee quality positively and negatively. She discussed the equipment needed and the process of cupping, and explained how to evaluate and record observations on a simple scoring sheet. Then the  participants got down to tasting. There were at least 2 flights per workshop, and participants learned the nuances of sniffing, slurping, spitting, and notetaking.
Sherri stepped participants through a discussion on each (blinded) coffee the participants had brought. There was a lot of interaction and discussion of each coffee. The process made cupping un-mysterious, and it was a lot of fun. All went home more knowledgeable, and with a gentle little caffeine buzz.

KCFA says many mahalos to Sherri for generously donating her time, to the Patersons’ and their great staff at Hula Daddy for the use of their facility and the hours of work they put in being facilitators, and to Bargreen Ellingson Foodservice Supply for providing a generous discount on the cupping bowls.

5th Annual Coffee EXPO

EXPO Vendor- Emmerich Grosch

This was the best EXPO ever thanks to Mary Lou Moss and Paul Uster, event chairs and all of the 27 other volunteers. The caliber of attendees was far above previous years including many people from outside the KCFA family, demonstrating the high interest in the various subjects presented. The interest in the EXPO indicates that our visibility and contribution to the coffee industry on our island continue to grow.

Presentations included Colehour Bondera welcoming attendees and providing a summary of the past year, Cupping for Quality with Sherri Johns, Bruce Corker speaking on the proposed origin disclosure bill, Andrea Kawabata providing the current status on CBB, Suzanne Shriner, Andrea Kawabata, and Bob Smith discussing the best methods of mitigating the CBB problem and finally a sneak preview of an excellent video prepared by Suzanne and Andrea on “Controlling the Coffee Berry Borer”.

There were 30 vendors and service agencies providing information and displaying equipment and supplies. The many attendees kept these vendors busy. Thanks to all of them for taking the time to spend the day with us.

Free Video “Controlling the Coffee Berry Borer”
Detailed information on the best practices for controlling CBB is presented in an excellent video produced by Suzanne Shriner and Andrea Kawabata with enormous support from Kamehameha Schools.
To get this important, educational video to as many Kona coffee farmers as possible, KCFA will be receiving 350 to hand out, Kamehameha Schools will be mailing copies to every coffee leaseholder and Greenwell Farms has committed to mailing out 300 copies to cherry farmers. We plan to blanket everybody with disks like AOL did in the early 90s. A Spanish version will be available to help educate the farm workers and managers. The video will also be available on YouTube.

EXPO Mahalo
A huge Mahalo to all the volunteers who made the EXPO such an impressive success!
Mary Lou Moss & Paul Uster, Event Chairs
Andrea Kawabata
Bob Kraus
Bob Smith
Brooks Wakefield
Bruce Corker
Carol Weaver
Cea Smith
Chuck Moss
Clare Wilson
Colehour Bondera
Craig Smith
Fran McClure
Karen Kemp
Kathy Gedeon
Kathy Wood
Lilly Kong
Louise Hanna
Maria de Silva
Mary Lake
Michelle Joven
Ray Anders
Ron Lake
Sherri Johns
Susan Dursin
Suzanne Shriner
Tom Butler
Tony Ambut

Logo Merchandise Expo Specials through February
The following items are available at the EXPO price through February. Order on our Website www.konacoffeefarmers.org
KCFA ball caps, regularly $18, special for $15.
We have all sizes available in the GET REAL long sleeved men’s shirt. Regularly $25, special $20
Map shirts, all sizes available for both men & women – regularly $18
for men & $16 for women, all priced at $15
Limited quantities available for the brown short sleeved shirt in both men & women sizes.
The Coffee label shirts supply has been restocked so all sizes are available for $65.
EXPO shirts – 5th Annual Expo – small, medium & xl sizes available $13 each. Nice shirts, nice quality.

Editor- Clare Wilson

2012 KCFA Expo – January 27, 2012

Photos thanks to KCFA Member, Bob Krauss!
note: photos appear in random order

KCFA Supporting Business Member Seal Program

As a buyer of the Kona Coffee Farmer Association’s 100% Kona Seals, a Supporting Business Member must agree to the following:

  • To use the KCFA seals (right) only on bags of roasted 100% Kona Coffee, grown in the North and South Kona District of Hawaii Island, also known as the Kona Coffee Belt.
  • To voluntarily keep records to validate use of the seals only for 100% Kona Coffee.
  • To acknowledge that the Kona Coffee Farmers Association reserves the right to revoke use of the KCFA 100% seal if the KCFA Board determines there has been misuse.
  • Supporting Business members who have purchased seals may use a photo image on their web page to promote and advertise 100% Kona Coffee and the KCFA. All other uses will require review by the KCFA Branding Committee and the KCFA Board of Directors to determine if the use is within its guidelines. A request outlining the nature of the use will need to be submitted to the KCFA Board of Directors for review.
  • To use of a photo image of the KCFA Seal on coffee labels, a request outlining the nature of the use will need to be submitted to the KCFA Branding Committee and the KCFA Board of Directors for review. If agreed, for a one time fee of $125, KCFA Members may have the Seal pre-printed as part of their labels.

Kona Coffee Farmers and Supporting Business Member Seal

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association authorizes the use of newly designed certification seals (above) by KCFA Farmers and by Supporting Business members who voluntarily keep an audit trail to support KCFA’s standards of authenticity and excellence and attest to the following:

  • All coffee using the seal must be grown within the borders of North and South Kona Districts, also known as the
    Kona Coffee Belt, Hawaii Island.
  • The coffee must meet the State of Hawaii’s Green Coffee Grading Standards as adopted under Chapter 147, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
  • As a Supporting Member, the participating business agrees that the KCFA Seal will only be displayed on packages containing roasted 100% Kona Coffee.