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February 2015- The Independent Voice

The Independent Voice
February 2015

Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association 
PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA                        

Message from the President
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee – $90/lb
EXPO Wrap Up
Can Coffee Protect One From Melanoma
KCFA Elects New Officers
Coffee Talk, February 12 – How to Prune
Legislative Update
From the Office Of Sen. Ruderman
Coffee Tasting/Wine Tasting
“Caffeinated” a Documentary about Coffee
Recipe: Valentines’ Day Coffee Bars
Editor- Clare Wilson

Message From the President
Hello Members and friends,
My name is Tom Butler and I have been the secretary for KCFA for the last several years. My last year as a KCFA officer (as term limits have been installed this year) I have agreed to serve as KCFA’s president.
I’ve been taking a lot of kidding from my friends about this terminology but this is not an office that you need to be a millionaire to be selected for.
I just got back from going to the Annual KCFA Expo and Trade Show at the Old Airport Beach Park and it may have been the best one yet. A last minute theme for the EXPO was “Growing Smarter”.  It could have been deemed so after the workshops and speakers were determined because it certainly was apt.
There were workshops on Web Sites, about Marketing and Foreign Sales and of course about the CBB and other bugs. One insect is the Little Fire Ant which is not so aptly named if you think it is a little problem. We were advised that the best protection from this devastation is prevention. Learn more about it by visiting our KCFA web site or Speaking of the KCFA web site, it is a great source of information and has received compliments for its color and easability. (I looked up this word. It is good to go for nerds of whom I am not) After listening to Dr. Lisa Keith and the research she and her team of PhDs are doing on the CBB infestation I think we all grew smarter. If you can’t get to her web site at Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) which she invited us to visit regarding CBB research, look for information about it on our KCFA web site. (ed. note- PBARC site link is not available at this time, we’ll post it when we get it from PBARC-sorry)
  It was great going person to person with our recent South Kona Council member Brenda Ford. We will miss her for representing coffee farmers throughout the state. She has worked tirelessly to change the inequitable geographical identity laws in Hawaii.
  It was gratifying to see like-minded farmers and friends of farmers at the KCFA EXPO. Thanks to all the volunteers, speakers and vendors that made it possible again.
  Tom Butler, President

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee — $90/lb
   Recently KCFA members forwarded two media articles that raise questions every Kona coffee farmer should think about.
  One is by Stephanie Strom in the New York Times (12/4/14) and concerns the marketing of high-end coffees.  An eye-catching sentence from the article reads, “Peet’s Coffee is selling a half-pound bag of scarce Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, one batch roasted on Wednesday and the second for roasting next week, for $45.”
   Jamaica Blue Mountain is selling for a one-pound equivalent of $90/lb, while Peet’s one-pound equivalent price for 100% Kona is $49.90.  Why the difference?
   It is not that Jamaica Blue Mountain provides a better taste in the cup than Kona—as we, and professional coffee tasters, can and do attest.  It is not a matter of supply—Jamaica Blue Mountain and Kona have roughly the same acreage and annual production levels.  Why then is Jamaica Blue Mountain selling at almost twice the price of Kona?
   The answer is suggested in the second article, “Coffee Industry Board to Crackdown on Counterfeit Blue Mountain Coffee,” Global Coffee Review (11/28/14). This article notes that Jamaica has legislation in place to ensure that only coffee grown in the Blue Mountains area can be sold with the “Jamaica Blue Mountain” name.  This origin name is protected in Jamaica and in the United States as a certification mark and in the European Union as a protected designation of origin.  Like Champagne and Tequila, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a geographical indication (GI) whose name is vigorously guarded in legal proceedings by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.  No deceptively labeled Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee blends are allowed.
   By contrast, for more than 23 years Hawaii has been the only region anywhere in the world to authorize by law the use of the name of one of its heritage specialty crops (Kona and other Hawaii-grown coffees) on packages with only 10% genuine content.
   Each year the supply-side of the coffee market is flooded with more than 5 million pounds of deceptively labeled Kona blends—whereas the Kona region produces only about 3 million pounds of genuine Kona coffee annually.
The Result:  The price of Kona coffee is lower than it should be, as compared to other high-end regional coffees like Jamaica Blue Mountain. Millions of dollars each year are lost by Kona coffee farmers because of cherry, green and roasted prices that are lower than they should be. The reputation of our crop continues to be damaged each time consumers are disappointed by the taste of what they are misled into believing is “Kona Coffee”, but is not.
 –Submitted by the Legislative Committee

EXPO Wrap Up
   Once again Mary Lou Moss and her team of volunteers pulled off an exciting and rewarding EXPO. There were lots of faithful returning vendors and several new vendors this year. EXPO is truly a “One Stop Shopping” for the Kona coffee farmers. What more could a coffee farmer want??
   This year’s EXPO theme of “Growing Smarter” gave the farmers tools to develop more avenues to sell their Kona coffee. Not only did we see enthusiastic vendors, but we saw enthusiastic farmers who got information they wanted and needed from vendors, informational min-workshops and CBB updates from CBB scientist Lisa Keith.  The room was buzzing with farmers and vendors talking story.  One government agent said she made eight appointments to talk to farmers about how she can help them. Mary Lou said “Vendors are already asking when EXPO is for next year and new vendors are saying they want to participate next year – that’s a new one for me, they attended this years’ and said they want to be a vendor next year.  It just keeps getting better and better.”
–Submitted by Mary Lou Moss

Can Coffee Protect You from Melanoma?

TUESDAY, Jan. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Your morning coffee might do more than perk you up. Researchers suggest it also might help protect you against melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
   Coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from malignant melanoma, and their risk decreases somewhat with every cup they swallow, according to findings published Jan. 20 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
   “We found that four or more cups of coffee per day was associated with about a 20 percent reduced risk of malignant melanoma,” said lead author Erikka Loftfield, a doctoral student at Yale University School of Public Health who is completing her dissertation work at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
   Previous research has shown that coffee drinking could protect against less deadly forms of skin cancer, apparently by mitigating the damage to skin cells caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, the researchers said in background notes.
   They decided to see if this protection extended to melanoma, the leading cause of skin cancer death in the United States and the fifth most common cancer. In 2013, there were an estimated 77,000 new cases of melanoma and about 9,500 deaths from the cancer, according to the study.
   The researchers gathered data from a study run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and AARP. A food questionnaire was sent to 3.5 million AARP members living in six states: California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania; as well as two cities, Atlanta and Detroit.
   The questionnaire yielded coffee drinking info for nearly 447,400 white seniors in 1995 and 1996, and researchers followed up with the participants for about 10 years on average.
   All participants were cancer-free when they filled out the questionnaire, and the researchers adjusted for other factors that could influence melanoma risk. These included ultraviolet radiation exposure, body mass index, age, sex, physical activity, alcohol intake and smoking history.
   They found that people who drank the most coffee every day enjoyed a lower risk of melanoma, compared with those who drank little to no coffee.
    There was also a trend toward more protection with higher intake. People who drank one to three cups a day had about a 10 percent decreased risk of melanoma compared with those who drank none at all, while those who drank four or more cups had a 20 percent decreased risk.
  The study only uncovered an association between coffee consumption and melanoma risk; it didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
   Caffeine could be the reason for the apparent protection. The researchers found a significant decrease in melanoma risk only among those who drank caffeinated coffee, and previous studies have indicated that caffeine could protect skin cells against ultraviolet-B radiation, Loftfield said.
   However, most of the people in the study drank caffeinated coffee, which made it difficult to fully analyze the health benefits of decaf. There could be other compounds in coffee besides caffeine that also protect against skin cancer, including antioxidants. “We certainly cannot rule that out as a possibility,” Loftfield said.
   This isn’t the first study to look into the effect that coffee drinking might have on cancer risk, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
   “Coffee has been around the block several times in a variety of cancers, in terms of whether it increases or decreases risk,” he said, noting that the findings have been very mixed.
   Lichtenfeld said the researchers behind the new study made a good basic science case for the possibility that coffee might protect against skin cancer. However, because this study was not a clinical trial, it didn’t prove cause and effect.
   “As a result of that, one cannot conclude that in ‘real life’ coffee actually decreases the risk of melanoma,” he said.
   Even with these findings, Loftfield said people should not rely on coffee to protect them from melanoma. Sunscreen, long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat will do more than a mug of java ever could.
   “The main message really is that sun and [ultraviolet] radiation exposure are the major risk factors for melanoma,” she said. “It is important to study other factors to better understand the cause of this disease, but we must keep these major risk factors in mind.”
SOURCES: Erikka Loftfield, M.P.H., doctoral student, Yale School of Public Health and U.S. National Cancer Institute; Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., M.A.C.P., deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society; Jan. 20, 2015, Journal of the National Cancer Institute 
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

KCFA Elects New Officers
On January 12, 2015 the Annual KCFA General Membership Meeting was held at beautiful Kahaluu Beach Pavilion.  By a vote of the general Membership, the Board was expanded to 13 Directors.  Nominated and elected to the Board for 2015-2016 was Colehour Bondera, Chris Coleman, Bruce Corker, Anita Kelleher, Kurt Schweickhard, Randy Phillips, Judy Schuman and Allan Wang, joining incumbents Thomas Butler, Kally Goschke, Mary Lou Moss, Suzanne Shriner and Cecelia Smith.  Thomas Butler was elected President with Anita Kelleher elected as Vice-President, Bruce Corker elected Secretary and Kurt Schweickhard was elected as Treasurer. The General Membership also voted to accept Term Limits for Board Members with Directors serving 3 two year terms, and rolling off a Board position for a year and then being eligible again.  Term limits are considered a good standard by the Hawaii Alliance of NonProfits Organization (and others) to enhance a NonProfit Board’s group-dynamic.
Photos of the the day are  available here:
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

KCFA Presents: Coffee Talk! Pruning-Thursday, February 12,2015  9 am
          How to Begin???

A Coffee Talk presentation of pruning will be held on the farm with Bob Smith and Bob Nelson @ Lehu’ula Farm in Kainaliu* on Thursday February 12, 2015 at 9:00 AM.
Free to Members and $10 for non-members.  Come and learn the science about this important aspect of Coffee Farming. Understand the value of pruning correctly to encourage a healthy tree and healthy crop.  For newbies and any farmer who wants a refresher course. Starts Promptly! Come early to sign in.
*turn makai at the Kona Joe sign and drive down and look for KCFA signs

Legislative Update
 —HB387 and SB594: 
The Legislature has responded to the call of the Hawaii County Council (see Resolution 501-14, unanimously adopted on October 15, 2014) to reform Hawaii’s 10% coffee blend law.  To read Resolution 501-14, click here
Representative Richard Creagan (Kona/Ka’u), along with 8 other co-sponsors, has introduced HB387.  This bill provides for a minimum 51% genuine content in Hawaii coffee blends and clear disclosure of the origin of non-Hawaii-Grown coffee in a blend.  The bill accurately indicates that use of an origin name like “Kona” or “Maui” or “Ka’u” in the name of a blend is inherently deceptive with less than 51% genuine content.  To read HB387, click here
 Hawaii County Senator Russell Ruderman (Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee) has introduced SB594.  The Senate bill is substantively identical to the Creagan bill, except for a requirement of a minimum of 80% genuine content in Hawaii coffee blends, rather than 51%.  Six other Senators have joined Sen. Ruderman as co-sponsors of the bill. To read SB594, click here

 We will need written testimony.  When committee hearings are scheduled, we will need each KCFA member and Kona Coffee supporter to submit written testimony giving reasons for support of the bills. Often there is 48 hours (or less) advance notice of hearings—so please respond promptly when you get email notices for testimony.  For a list of ideas for possible points to cover in your written testimony— read this.
 Coffee farmers owe a big thanks to each of the Hawaii County Legislators who co-sponsored these bills:  Rep. Richard Creagan, Rep. Nicole Lowen, Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Joy San Buenaventura, Sen. Russell Rederman, Sen. Josh Green, and Sen. Lorraine Inouye.
 —The Petition–1600 signatures with more to come!!
 Our Petition has more than 1600 thoughtful signers—and every day more coffee farmers and supporters of Kona Coffee add their names.
 Many thanks to each of you who have signed.  If you have not yet signed, please take the 30 seconds it takes to do so. This is important.  And please urge your family members, friends, neighbors, and coffee customers to sign.  Our customers are often the most vehement supporters of protecting the reputation of Kona Coffee. 
   To sign the Petition click here
 Also, be aware that there is a “tourism interest” reflected in the petition.  Many of the signers are mainland and foreign residents who have visited Hawaii and who express dismay that Hawaii law authorizes deceptive use of the names “Kona”, “Maui”, “Ka’u” on packages of 90% foreign-grown coffee. People don’t like to be deceived.  This practice is bad for Hawaii tourism.  Tourists like going places where they are treated fairly, not cheated.  The straightforward and simple changes in SB387 and SB594 are consistent with, and important to, the State’s efforts to build the goodwill and affection of visitors.  If you know people connected with tourism, encourage them to join the petition and make this point in their comments.
 –Submitted by the Legislative Committee

Letter from the Office of Senator Ruderman
Mahalo for your continuing support this session and involvement in introducing bills.  Below is a bill that our office believes may be of interest to you and/or your organization.  Several of the bills have been already scheduled for hearing, in which case you may want to rally your team to submit testimony for support as soon as possible. Please monitor the status of each bill by going to their individual webpage – You may want to consider the Chair of the referred committee to encourage them to schedule the bill.
Coffee; Labeling; Geographic or Regional Origins; Percentage of Content Requirement; Hawaii-grown Coffee
Requires a specific listing of the geographic origins of various Hawaii-grown coffees and the geographic or regional origins of the various coffees not grown in Hawaii that are included in a coffee blend to be listed on the front panel of a label. Increases the minimum percentage requirement for coffee blends to use geographic origin in labeling or advertising to 80 per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin. Effective January 1, 2016.
If you need assistance submitting testimony online or for outer island folks, video testimony, contact the Public Access Room at:
All Bills Introduced by Senator Ruderman:
All bills introduced this session here:
Best,K. Raina Whiting
Legislative Aide Office of Senator Russell E. Ruderman Senatorial District 2 – Puna-Ka’u Phone: (808) 586-6852 Fax: (808) 586-689

Coffee Tasting Compared to Wine Tasting
This is an interesting article that discusses the problems of available coffee information compared to wine and goes on to explain what to taste for in coffee and how to do it. The full article can be found here:
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

”Caffeinated” to Debut this Month

“Caffeinated,” a feature-length documentary that explores the transformative journey of coffee from seed to cup, is scheduled to debut at the Santa Barbara (Calif.) International Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 31. Filmmakers Vishal Solanki and Hanh Nguyen say a screening at the SCAA Event in Seattle is to follow in April.
Solanki and Nguyen are putting the finishing touches on the movie, which draws from more than 160 interviews with coffee professionals throughout the world. While the original intention was merely to visit several major U.S. coffee markets to explore coffee under the “farm-to-table” lens, the project eventually took on a life of its own, pulling Solanki and Nguyen to farms, mills and warehouses in producing countries, as well as high-end roasteries and shops throughout consuming countries in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“The final product is about an eighth of what we have shot,” says Nguyen, who grew up drinking Vietnamese coffee and worked a short time as a barista in Los Angeles in training for the movie. “It’s hard to let all that content go.”

Solanki says the movie’s scope and direction changed dramatically after the pair hooked up with Intelligentsia green buyer Geoff Watts and SCAA Symposium director Peter Giuliano, whose enthusiasm was infectious as they helped the filmmakers reach subjects across the globe.
“Geoff and Peter were instrumental in this project — we were not trying to be influenced by the industry, but at the same time we would try to reach out and get as much information from people as possible,” says Solanki. “We approached all of the subjects individually, and naturally on certain level they would connect to one another. Everybody had their own individual take on what coffee is and means, and if you do a venn diagram, you start to see a lot of overlapping.”
To be clear, “Caffeinated” is not merely an ode to specialty coffee and the many people behind its existence. Solanki says sources were not shy in voicing some of their personal or industry-wide concerns — climate adaptation and farmers living in poverty among them — regarding the future of coffee.
On a personal level, both Nguyen and Solanki say the making of the movie led to a kind of profound reverence for the global coffee community.
“What happened was every person we met had so much unbelievable experience in the industry,” Solanki says. “Some of these people have been very successful or made a decent living in coffee, but at the same time, they were so humble and so knowledgeable. It changed everything we knew about coffee.”
Solanki recalls being at the ticket counter with Nguyen at LAX en route to a Honduras Cup of Excellence event. An agent told Solanki his passport was too worn and humorlessly advised he simply “get a new passport.” Unable to use their tickets, a defeated Solanki and Nguyen headed out for some Korean barbecue.
As they were dining, Honduran Coffee Institute IHCAFE representatives hopped in their cars and raced to immigration office in San Pedro Sula, and even contacted the Honduran Vice President should the passport dispute not be settled.
The filmmakers eventually boarded a later flight, barely making the Cup of Excellence in time. But the reaction of IHCAFE made an indelible impression. Says Solanki, “That was just one of the many experiences that really opened our eyes to how serious coffee is — how important it is to so many people, or even a whole country.”
Solanki and Nguyen plan to follow the Santa Barbara festival with numerous other screenings throughout the world, with a larger goal of securing wider distribution. For screenings and other updates, check out the “Caffeinated” Facebook page.
–Submitted by Anita Kelleher

Kona Coffee Nanaimo Bars
For Valentines’ Day

Photo by Allison Cay Parker

Author Notes: The city of Nanaimo (pronounced “nuh-NYE-mo”) is known as “The Harbour City” of British Columbia.  – Allison Cay Parker
Serves 16 squares
For the bottom layer

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped and lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

For the middle and top layers

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 teaspoons all-natural coconut flavoring (not oil)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Hawaiian Kona coffee, brewed to double strength
  • 1/4 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans, coarsely chopped
  1. For the bottom layer: Melt butter, sugar, and cocoa in the top of a double boiler. Add egg and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, macadamia nuts, and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8- by 8-inch pan and chill in the refrigerator before proceeding to the next step.
  2. For the middle layer: Beat together the butter, cream, cornstarch, salt, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar until well combined, light, and fluffy. Add coconut flavoring and mix thoroughly. Spread over bottom layer and chill again.
  3. For the top layer: Melt chocolate and butter, together with the coffee, over low heat. Cool to room temperature. Once cool, pour over the middle layer. Top with the crushed espresso beans and chill once more. When the top layer has set, cut into squares and serve.