July 17, 2019
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June 2018- The Independent Voice

               The Independent Voice
 “Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association   
             June 2018

PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA
www.konacoffeefarmers.org    info@konacoffeefarmers.org

Volcano Emissions Injury to Plant Foliage
Volcanic Effect on Ka’u Coffee
Legislative Update
KCFA Supports Pahoa Evacuees

Brew and Roast Guide
Slow Food Nations Festival
Video on Rat Lungworm Disease
Thoughts on Coffee Terroir
No – Coffee does not Cause Cancer
What Do You Want to Learn?

Op/Ed – Distinguishing Coffee Grades
Response to OP/ED
Arabica Genome Sequenced
Coffee Tips
Recipe: Kona Coffee Mochi
Write to Us

Editor – Clare Wilson

Volcanic Emissions Injury to Plant Foliage
The excerpt below was modified from the UH CTAHR Volcanic Emissions – Potential Problems & Solutions Website.  More information about the effects of VOG on agricultural plants, water system, and livestock can be found at this site.

Excerpted from CTAHR’s “Volcanic Emissions Injury to Plant Foliage”
Volcanic emissions include SO2 (sulfur dioxide), HCl (hydrogen chloride) and other gases even when lava is not erupting. These acid-precursor gases can adversely affect plants directly or acidify rainfall with severe effect on soils and vegetation, especially near or downwind from the volcano. Volcanic ash emissions are deposited on everything near the volcano, including plants.

Integrated Management of Volcanic Emission to Prevent Injury to Plants

  • Flush leaves and flowers with fresh water after their exposure to acid rain or ash.
    • [Blowing ash off plants may be done before rinsing off with water.]
  • Treat acidified irrigation water to raise the pH.
  • Grow plants/seedlings under [non-porous] cover, in greenhouses where possible.
    • Selectively and temporarily cover valuable plants with fabric or plastic.
    • [Ash, etc. can then be rinsed off the cover and diverted away from the plants/seedlings.]
  • Grow SO2-resistant plants if possible. [I’m not aware any coffee plants of this nature.]
[Volcanic emissions can cause the plant’s stomata to remain open, causing water loss via excessive transpiration.] As a possible preventative measure, spray plants with anti-transpirant products to close their stomata or with bicarbonate solution to neutralize acidity. Note: preliminary field tests have shown some promise, but these measures must be more fully tested to scientifically validate their effects.

Water and Soil Testing Free of Charge for Those Affected

If you are from the vog affected areas (ie: Puna, Volcano, Pahala, Ocean View) and are concerned about lead in catchment water and/or heavy metals in soil, CTAHR will be conducting water and soil testing free of charge. You can submit samples for testing by the UH Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center (ADSC) through any Cooperative Extension Office. Funds are limited for these emergency services. Call your local office for additional information.

The diagnostic tests being offered are:

For more information visit these links:

More information about the effects of VOG on agricultural plants, water system, and livestock can be found the CTAHR’s website below:

Plants and VOG

Protecting your water systems

Information about SO2 levels and wind movement:

Ash Hazards:

Protect Yourself from VOG
 –Submitted by Andrea Kawabata-CTAHR

Volcanic Effect on Ka’u Coffee Plants

The question on everyone’s mind is “how Kilauea is impacting our crops”. Luis Aristizabal, noted CBB expert and farmer, is looking closely at this issue in his Pahala orchard.  He reports that new growing tissues are affected by the ashes. Small coffee plants and coffee trees that have been pruned are the most affected. Be on the lookout for burned tissue, and curling or deformation of new leaves.

Last week, Ka’u trees were white with ash.  Rainfall has cleaned some of the ashes from coffee trees, which is positive. However, if the ashes  keep falling, damages may increase in severity and area affected.  As of right now, damages may be classified as low in severity. However, some delay on growing tissues may occur. In order to quickly recuperate affected coffee trees and promote new tissue growth, fertilization with high Nitrogen is recommended. Foliar sprays with a calcium/nitrogen blend could also be recommended as calcium strengthens the plant cell walls.

Live Coffee Berry Borer is still high in the AB position in many coffee fields in Kau, which means the the ashes are not affecting this pest. Additional observations need to be conducted to see real impact of ashes in coffee plants and in CBB.  Acid water (rain fall) may affect the coffee plants as well.  More data is coming as we continue to observe the impact.
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Legislative Update 
THE PETITION circulated by the Legislative Committee at the EXPO on April 6 has been mailed to Governor David Ige, with copies to West Hawaii Today, Honolulu Civil Beat and the Associated Press.  The petition was signed by 139 supporters of Hawaii’s coffee farmers.   It asks the Governor to publicly support now–and in the 2019 Legislative Session–measures to protect against damage to the economic interests of Hawaii coffee farmers and against damage to the reputation of Hawaii-grown coffee caused by deception and fraud in the labeling of coffee products using Hawaii-origin names. Specifically, the request is for support from the Governor for a 51% minimum for Hawaii coffee blends; label identification of the origin and percentage of foreign coffee in the blends; and disclosure of the percentage of Hawaii-grown coffee in ready-to-drink (“RTD”) coffee products using Hawaii-origin names.

KONA HILLS ISSUES—HR197 and HCR227: These 2 identical resolutions were introduced by Rep. Richard Creagan and called for a coffee industry study group focusing on the plans of Kona Hills LLC to develop a 2,000,000-tree coffee farm in Kealakekua. Both resolutions were favorably passed out of the House Agriculture Committee on March 23 and sent to the House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Luke of Oahu. The resolutions were killed in the backroom without debate or a vote when the chair refused to schedule hearings.

HAWAII STATE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION RESOLUTIONS:  On May 27 at its biennial convention (this year held at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort on the Kona Coast) the Democratic Party of Hawaii adopted the following resolutions of interest to coffee farmers:
Resolution #2018-04 “Calling for the Hawai’i State Legislative Committee Chairs of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i to be Held Accountable”, citing HB256 (Coffee Labeling Reform) as an example of the need for accountability for legislative committee chairs who without a hearing or public vote kill bills supported by the Democratic Party.
Resolution #2018-02 “Urging the State Legislature to Implement a Video Conference System for Facilitating State Legislative Testimony from the Neighbor Islands, Including East and West Hawai’i Island”.
The Convention’s Resolutions Committee also advised that Resolution BUS/AG 2016-03 “Calling for Truthful Labeling of Hawaii-Grown Coffee” remains in effect and applies to the 2019 Legislative Session.  This 2016 State Convention resolution asks Democratic Party legislators to support legislation requiring a minimum of 51% genuine content for Hawaii coffee blends.
–Submitted by the Legislative Committee

KCFA’s Pahoa Help Event Success!

(L-R: Mark and Connie Dubay, Irieta Hinman, Louise Hanna and Armando Rodriguez)

The KCFA’s Pahoa Help Event, spearheaded by Board Member Armando Rodriguez and assisted by Board Member Mark Dubay and his wife Connie, former Board Member Louise Hanna and volunteer Irieta Hinman offered 100% Kona coffee and snacks to the volcano evacuees at the Pahoa Community Center on Friday, June 1st.

As Mark observed “Some folks are still coming in for shelter, others leaving after finding a place to go. With more evacuations it is likely it will get busier here”.

Our heartfelt thanks to the following for their donations to this KCFA event:
Janelle Gomes – Coffee Donation
Clare Wilson-Coffee Donation
Dennis and Jamie McManus – Cash Donation
Kay Dixon – Loan of 4 Pump Pots
Suzanne Shriner – Coffee Donation
Cecelia. Smith – Coffee and Snack Donation
Kodo Miyaoka – Coffee Donation
Bruce Corker – Coffee Donation
Don Davis – Cash Donation
Irieta Hinman – Cups and Volunteer Time
Chris Coleman – Donation of Extension Cords and Coffee and Cups
Kelly Shaw, DDS – Donation of Toothbrushes and Dental Floss
Mark and Connie Dubay – Apples and Volunteer Time
Louise Hanna – Muffins and Volunteer Time
Armando Rodriguez – Volunteer Time
Our volunteer effort will continue and you will be kept informed on how we can continue to help our fellow islanders. Mahalo.
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

A Brew & Roast Guide

This article:  https://tinyurl.com/yd5sowwt  explains acidity in coffee – what it is, how it affects your cup of coffee, how roasting and how brewing affects acidity. Lots of information and some cool links.
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Slow Food Nations Festival

Aloha KCFA Members:
For the second year in a row, KCFA will be an Exhibitor in mid-July at the Slow Food Nations festival in Denver, CO. Take a look at the website: https://slowfoodnations.org/festival-2018/.  See KCFA listed as a participant in the Taste Marketplace section.

Remember that Slow Food USA has granted Pure Kona Coffee their Ark of Tastedesignation (https://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark-item/pure-kona-coffee), so people around the country and the world recognize Kona coffee through this important determination.  At the event, a coffee panel will include at least one KCFA voice to share our perspective and experience with Slow Food coffee issues as well.

To meet our Mission (to promote and protect Kona coffee), we will be educating, sampling and selling KCFA coffee to attendees to help pay for booth (and travel) expenses.

This is a request for members to donate green coffee to make this a huge success!  Please bring your coffee donation prior to the next KCFA Board meeting, on June 18 at 2:30pm at the CTAHR office in Kainaliu across from the Aloha Theater.  Colehour Bondera will be there to receive, and to provide you with a receipt of your donation, in case a County grant happens and allows for you to receive payment for the donation (grant has been applied for but not decided as of this time).

We need our committed members to help us now so that we can prepare for the trip, which has departure on July 11.  So this is the final opportunity for an easy place and time to meet — again please bring any amount (every 5lbs. helps!) of green Kona coffee that you can share — we appreciate your support.

Please contact Colehour if you cannot make it and need to set up another drop-off for any donation, or if you have any questions.
Colehour Bondera, for Slow Food Nations Committee (808-640-1643 cell/text)

Video on Rat Lungworm Disease
A new video on Rat Lungworm disease prevention is available online.
Randy Hamasaki
County Extension Agent
Email: rth@hawaii.edu
The CTAHR Farm Food Safety Team, in collaboration with Hawai‘i State Departments of Health and Agriculture, has released a new video on Rat Lung Worm (RLW) disease prevention. It describes common slugs and snails found in Hawai‘i that may carry the parasite, explains how to find them in the garden and what sort of conditions they like, and gives tips on how to make the environment less appealing for them. Some things to do include cutting back vegetation so the pests have less places to hide, creating raised beds, and not leaving pet food out overnight. It also describes methods of deterring, trapping, physically removing, and killing slugs and snails. This is a potentially scary disease, but this video offers practical and down-to-earth advice that can help.
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Thoughts on Coffee Terroir
This article discusses the effect of terroir on coffee:
Included are comments from Skip Bittenbender and his findings on the terroir of coffee in Hawaii.
 –Submitted by Christine Coleman

No – Coffee Does Not Cause Cancer
California’s coffee shops will soon be required to display a cancer warning sign due to a recent state court ruling.  How does this happen after all the studies indicating that coffee is good for one’s health? It is the result of Proposition 65 and a California organization that successfully files lawsuits based on the proposition’s requirements. Specifically that: “Proposition 65, requires that businesses notify residents about exposure to chemicals identified by the state as dangerous that are found in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or as they are released in the environment.”  Acrylamide is found in coffee (and many other cooked foods) and California has classified it as carcinogenic. Follow this link to read more: https://coffeestrategies-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/coffeestrategies.com/2018/05/20/no-california-coffee-does-not-cause-cancer/amp/
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

What Do You Want to Learn?
Over the past number of years, your Association has sponsored workshops on learning how to prune coffee trees, how to select the right verticals for successful growth, the  ABC’s of controlling CBB’s and many more classes.

Sometimes we think we have run through all the interesting topics, only to hold an oldie but goodie and have lots of people come to listen and learn.  The question is:  what do YOU want to learn about the coffee business and industry?  What do you think would be a good topic for someone to discuss in an informal setting so all could participate and learn?

Below is a list of the classes we have held in the last several years to whet your imagination.  You can ask for a repeat of a class from before or come up with a completely new topic.  One of my favorites of old was the design and production of coffee labels for my bags.  What’s yours?

Beetles and Bugs
CBB and Your Farm’s Health
CBB Observations 1. Multiple Applications of Botanigard/Mycotrol are required for control. 2. Fungus Works! 
CBB Pesticide Application Workshop
CBB Update Workshop
Coffee Berry Borer Integrated Pest Management 
Coffee Pruning Workshop
Coffee Talk: Q & A-general questions
Coffee tasting/cupping related to various processing methods
Colombia Coffee Federation – How they protect the Colombian Coffee name
Efficient Application Rate for bassiana
Farm tours to compare processing methods
KSBE Land Asset Managers
Life after Click and Ship
Fertilizer Applicator
Little Fire Ant
Moisture Meter Reading
On Farm- Coffee Talk with HDOA Entomologist 
Pruning Workshop
Soil Health
Roasting Workshop
Selecting Workshop-Choosing New Growth
Deck drying Workshop-how to maintain
Small Farm Processing
Storage of parchment and green coffee
The Relationship between Soil and Trees, USDA – ARS CBB Research Funding
Tool Sharpening and Pruning Workshop
Update Trapping CBB- Is It Worth It?
What makes an Effective Web site? How to use Social media
Workshop on Coffee Fermentation with Commercial Yeasts
Email info@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org with your thoughts. Thank you!
–submitted by Jim Monk, KCFA Treasurer

EXPO Coffee Tasting: “Obviously People Can’t Tell the Difference”
The Blind Tasting
At this year’s Coffee EXPO, KCFA Board member and EXPO Committee Chair Karen Zulkowski organized a blind tasting experiment to see if EXPO attendees could distinguish between three grades of coffee. The three grades were placed in pots designated as pots Number 1, Number 2 and Number 3—with no indication of which grade was in which pot.  One of the pots was coffee brewed from “Extra Fancy” grade beans; another was from “Hawaii No. 1” grade beans; and the third was from “Beetle Damaged [Off Grade]” beans.  The supplier of the coffees has estimated that the “Off Grade” contained about 40% defects.  The volunteer tasters were asked to indicate which grade they thought was in each of the three numbered pots.  79 people participated in the tasting.

After having tallied the results of the tasting, Karen Zulkowski observed, “Obviously people can’t tell the difference.”  The results were very close to a random outcome—59% thought the “Extra Fancy” was either “Off Grade” or “Hawaii No. 1”; 54% thought the “Off Grade” was either “Extra Fancy” or “Hawaii No. 1”; and 69% thought the “Hawaii No. 1” was either “Extra Fancy” or “Off Grade”.

The participants in the tasting were not unsophisticated with respect to the taste of coffee.  They were coffee growers and others who appreciate coffee enough to attend the EXPO and volunteer to participate in the tasting.  And yet they not able to “tell the difference”—and clearly found the taste of the “Off Grade” to be acceptable.

What is the Lesson??
The EXPO blind coffee tasting results indicate that a majority of the participants judged the “Off Grade” (with about 40% defects) to provide an acceptable flavor—and to be either the best or second best tasting coffee of the three offerings.

“Hawaii No. 3” grade coffee allows up to 35% defects, but the State’s administrative rules do not permit the use of the “Kona” name (or the name of other Hawaii coffee growing regions) in labeling this grade.

By contrast, the 10% blenders over the years have demonstrated that acceptably flavored coffee carrying the “Kona” name will bring premium prices and high profits—even if 90% of the content is foreign commodity coffee to which no grade standards whatsoever apply.

The Lesson:  Given the EXPO tasting results, Hawaii coffee farmers should be asking that the HDOA amend the Administrative Rules to allow the use of the name “Kona” (and other Hawaii regional names) for what can now be designated only as “Hawaii No. 3”.  When Kona coffee well above the 35% defect limit has been demonstrated to provide acceptable (or better) taste, farmers should benefit economically from using the “Kona” name (and other Hawaii regional names) on the label of “No. 3” coffee.  If the blenders are able to use the “Kona” name on packages containing 90% foreign coffee, we should be permitted to market acceptably flavored genuine Kona coffee with the “Kona” name on the label.
–Op/Ed Article–Submitted by Bruce Corker

Here are the actual tasting results:
A total of 79 people participated
4 people couldn’t taste a difference
28 people got all 3 correct
Scores by pot number:
Pot Number 1 was Extra fancy      
Thought was Extra fancy                 41%                
Thought Beetle damaged                26%
 Thought was #1                            33%
Pot Number 2 was Beetle damaged   
Thought was Beetle damaged          46%             
Thought was Ex fancy                      17%
Thought was #1                              37%
Pot Number 3 was #1                    
Thought was #1                             31%             
Thought was Ex fancy                      47%
Thought was Beetle damaged          22%

Response to OP/ED 

The Expo tasting was not scientific not did it compare to an official “cupping” by any means.  We weren’t measuring the grounds and we were using different brands of coffee makers.  It shouldn’t be used as anything more than a curious moment.  To set policy based on a casual tasting is to set a bad precedent regarding our prized Kona.  As an industry, we need to keep our eye on selling the best coffee we can.  Some Kona can sell for up to $100 per pound green.  Why then should we fight to sell that small percentage of 3x coffee that is worth $4 per pound.  Farms are not economically sustainable at the lowest common denominator.  We need to aim higher.  We MUST aim higher.

Quality matters.  Simple to say that.  Harder to live it.  Day in, day out. In our fields, in our processing mills, in our roasteries.  Reducing quality by allowing a high number of defects is a fool’s errand.  It dumbs down our flavor profile at the exact moment in history when our green and roasted coffee is valued the most by our buyers.   If we lower our standards to the level of a “blend”, we risk killing our highly prized (and top dollar) 100% Kona markets in exchange for what… selling off-grade?

Taste is subjective.  My father, a longtime Kona grower, lets his coffee sit in the pot overnight and then reheats it in the microwave the next morning.  It tastes fine to him.  I don’t judge him for his tastes, which have been shaped by a long career drinking  government-issue military coffee.  But he is the first to tell you that quality matters.  And he definitely has a vested interest in getting the most value for his crop.  The global market tells us what they want for Kona. It’s not 3x. It’s high quality.  We need to listen.

Suzanne Shriner, KCFA President

Coffea Arabica Genome Sequenced

“In 2017, UC Davis geneticists sequenced the Coffea arabica genome and released it to the public for the first time. Coffea arabica is a species responsible for 70 percent of global coffee production.”
“Plant material from —UCG-17 Geisha—was used for developing the C. arabica genome sequence.”
“We anticipate that functional analysis of the genes identified by the C. arabica sequencing will lead to development of new, disease-resistant coffee varieties with enhanced flavor and aroma characteristics,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, senior general manager for Suntory Global Innovation Center Limited.
Here is the link to the article:  https://www.comunicaffe.com/arabica-genome-will-be-crucial-for-developing-disease-resistant-varieties/
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

Coffee Tips 

From 2016
Q: My coffee trees are yellow even though I have fertilized them.  Help!
A:  How much fertilizer are you using? A single coffee tree needs a POUND of fertilizer per tree, not a simple handful.  The fertilizer needs to be scattered broadly around the entire circumference of the tree-out to the edge of the leaves. A healthy tree is a green tree.

2018-Addendum: The tree could be unhealthy due to circumstances beyond your control; for instance it could be growing on a rock, it could have a poorly developed root system or it could be growing in a poorly drained area etc.
 –Submitted by Bob Smith

From 2015
10 Smart uses for Used Coffee Grounds
(Reprinted from The 2015 Farmers’ Almanac)
Before you empty the coffee pot’s grounds into the trash, consider these ten household uses for them!

  1. As an exfoliant. The rough texture of the coffee grounds can be used on your skin as a scrub.
  2. Clean your garbage disposal. Coffee grounds clean and deodorize your garbage disposal. Just put the damp grounds in, run the cold water, and turn the disposal on. Note: do this only on occasion to refresh the disposal. It’s not recommended to run coffee grounds through daily.
  3. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants. Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil.
  4. Neutralize refrigerator odors. Placing coffee grounds in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold, if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.
  5. Sweeping or vacuuming compound around the fireplace or wood stove.Sprinkling damp coffee grounds around the fireplace or wood stove will assist in reducing dust and ashes in your hearth, making them easier to sweep or vacuum up.
  6. Dye Easter eggs or paper crafts. Soaking with coffee grounds can be used to give an “antique” sepia appearance to watercolor paper or Easter eggs
  7. Blind bake a pie shell. Believe it or not, you can even use coffee grounds as the weight when you blind bake a pie crust. Just be sure to use a large enough piece of parchment paper or foil so the coffee grounds don’t come into actual contact with the pie crust.
  8. Scour pots and pans. The gentle abrasive of coffee grounds can help in the kitchen to remove stubborn caked on food from your pots and pans.
  9. Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of coffee grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.
  10. Steroids for your carrot crop. Carrots love coffee grounds. They will grow larger and sweeter and the plants will have a greater yield. Just trowel the grounds in around the immature shoots.
    –Submitted by Christine Coleman

A Tip from Mary Lou

Erasing coffee cup stains from your beloved coffee mug can be difficult   Try mixing 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons of water to form a paste and rubbing on the stain. This alkaline solution removes dark acidic stains left in your cup from your 100% Kona coffee
–Submitted by Mary Lou Moss

Recipes Wanted! If any of you have coffee recipes that you would like to share, please submit them to the editor: clare@huahuafarm.com

Recipe: Kona Coffee Mochi 
Vivian Leolani Ontai won first place in the 2013 Kona Coffee Festival with this great recipe for mochi made with 100% Kona coffee.


1/2 cup butter
1lb box mochiko (rice flour)
2 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups 100% Kona Coffee
1 cup half and half
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter; cool. Combine mochiko, sugar and baking powder. Combine remaining ingredients and stir in the mochiko mixture; mix well. Pour into 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Bake for one hour and cool.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! >> Write to us. We welcome Letters to the Editor up to 150 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length.  Include your name and email address >> Email: info@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org with SUBJECT: Commentary.