Message from President Tom
Letter from Mary Lou Moss
Starbucks Cold Brew
Feral Pig Pilot Project
Are You Taking Care of Your Underground Herd?
Whats Kona Worth?
Beetles and Bugs
International Coffee Industry Problems
Recipe: Kona Coffee Pot Roast
Write to Us
Editor – Clare Wilson
Message from President Tom
Hello Fellow KCFA Members and Friends,
Less than 2 weeks before our Harvest Fundraiser, Celebrating 100% Kona Coffee on August 13. I think what I like best about KCFA is that we celebrate 100% Kona Coffee. We dont mind there being other coffees in the world or that some coffees are blended to produce a better product. We are fortunate that we have a heritage crop that makes for a stand-alone, superior coffee.
The reason there are geographical origin designated crops is because there are instances of products from other areas being counterfeited for the original. That devalues the original and makes it more difficult for the origin designated product to sell. The origin crop needs to be protected for the good of the consumer and the grower and essentially for the heritage community. Hence KCFA, whose guiding principle is to promote and protect the Kona Coffee farmer interest and the heritage of the crop itself. One of these methods is to seek legal protection. I believe that blending Kona Coffee and marketing it in such a way as it is being sold today is akin to counterfeit.
The results of our legislature efforts which have been costly in time and money have been marginal. We have gone from a legal one bean blend to a 10% Kona Blend with intentionally confusing labeling in 20 plus years of battling with government and business leaders. Outside of consumers we only have ourselves, which is basically why KCFA was organized.
The last attempt to reform the Hawaii Coffee Labeling Law was introduced by the then Chair of the Ag Committee, Sen. Ruderman of Puna, who, on his bills defeat was shortly thereafter removed from his chairmanship . This is what I remember of the head of the Honolulu Hotel and Restaurant Association testimony in the regard to that bill, Everything is fine and good for business with the present law and the only ones who want to change it are a few farmers who sell their coffee on the internet, or something to that effect. This is why we have approximately tripled our Public Relations Budget this year. We decided we have to alter our target and go directly to the consumer and to the community. This too takes money and the efforts of the Board of Directors who represent you, the farmer, and ultimately the Kona Community.
We need your help to do this and to make it easier for you we organized this Fundraising Gala. Please come and purchase your ticket now. If you cant come, make a donation to support our important causehere
Thanking you in advance,
Tom Butler,KCFA President
Letter from Mary Lou Moss
Aloha Kona Coffee Farmers,
I don’t think the saying “out of sight, out of mind” is true. I miss Hawaii every day. I think of Hawaii, KCFA and the best friends I’ve ever had, every day.
Chuck and I have been very fortunate to have found a gorgeous home a little over an hour southwest of Seattle, 2 days after our arrival. We loved the rural, friendly, small town feeling in Kona so we chose a home in the Gig Harbor area. We don’t have a great waterview like we did in Kona, but we do have a peak a boo view of the water between Gig Harbor and Fox Island. We left Kona on May 13th, had an appointment with our realtor the next day and looked at houses for 2 days. The last house we looked at was the one that suited our needs to a “T”. We made an offer that day with 2 weeks closing time frame (well, our 45′ container full of our household goods was arriving in a little over 2 weeks and we wanted to avoid having to put it in storage). The sellers accepted our offer without any counter offers and we closed on time. We were thrilled and grateful.
Talk about a small world, Jeff & Carol Seel (Kona coffee farmers) live on Fox Island about 10 minutes from us. They have been so kind and welcoming to us here. You have no idea how great it was to see Kona coffee farmers here! Jeff & Carol live in Kona for 6 months and on Fox Island for 6 month.
We have been very busy getting settled and doing a little tweaking here and there to suite our needs. Chuck is busy setting up his office (he calls it “Command Center”) and his shop in the 3rd bay of the garage. I’ve been busy setting up my sewing room, waiting for a rainy day to start a sewing project. Along with the general duties of moving and getting settled, I’ve been able to spend time with my granddaughters and 2 sons who live in the area. We are appreciating easy access to a comprehensive set of medical resources.
I think we must have brought the warm weather with us to the Seattle area as there has not been any noticeable rain since we got here in May and we have had some record temperatures.
If any of you Kona coffee farmers find yourselves in the Seattle area, give us a call – it would be great to hear from you.
Starbucks Cold Brew is the Worst Coffee Weve Tried in 2015
(An article from Phoenixnewstime.com. Ive included the entire article it is full of delightful sarcasm and unfortunately a lot of truth)
|Tasting notes: sadness, lies, and maybe a lil’ motor oil.|
Starbucks. Theres a lot to love about those guys. Theyve managed to combine milk, sugar, and something brown (maybe coffee?) in massively addictive ways. Theyve got more than 21,000 freakin stores, which makes them a pretty serious player in the global fast food market. Theyre also (arguably) responsible for bringing specialty coffee into the the mainstream American consciousness but in doing so, they seem to have completely lost their grip on the industry, and maybe on reality.
Cold Brew is just one new item on a growing list of questionable Starbucks offerings. And we can only imagine the decision-making process behind these truly ridiculous offerings.
The cameras fade in. Were inside the board room at Starbucks Headquarters. The scene is dark and musty, with lanterns lit along the walls like in a Masonic dungeon. The seats are filled by rumpled-suit wearing, hollow-faced men who have managed to move from one Starbucks to another for the past few decades without ever breathing air from the outside world.
At the head of the table sits The Supreme Leader of Coffee. The underlings toss ideas out to the group. What if we made something that was like our normal coffee, but we didnt burn it quite so much?, someone suggests. An uproar breaks out. Traitor!, cries one of the Rumple-Suits. Blasphemy!, spits another, Light-to-Medium Roasted beans? That nonsense is for heathens and Scandinavians and people who want to taste the coffee in their coffee.
The uproar continues, until The Supreme Leader silences the room with a glance. For a moment, he stares out into the room, wordlessly stroking the weird Seattle-style pet he keeps on his lap, which is probably, like, an albino snake or a hairless dog or a small, unnaturally docile human being. I like it, he says. Well call it Blonde Roast. But its a new thing, that we invented. No one has ever thought of this before. The room explodes in praise and wholehearted acceptance of this fresh, original idea that Starbucks came up with, not anyone else, ever.
What if we send our baristas to college? says one especially meak Rumple-Suit. Itd look great, from a public relations perspective. Anger glimmers in the Supreme Leaders eyes. Rage flows from within him, giving way to a cautious calm. Educate the employees, you say. I like this idea. Well provide those millennials with the illusion of Opportunity now, so that in a few years when their dreams have been dashed to the rocks, theyll have no choice but to stay in our service, forever! I know just the place that will trick them into thinking that we care, without actually allowing them the luxury of earning an education: well send them all to Arizona State University online! Once more, the room explodes in a mixture of applause and sadistic laughter.
Another underling finds the courage to chime in. I hear that the people like this Soda. Its sugar and water like what we sell, but without the addition of brown dye and artificial coffee flavoring. The room is hushed, fearfully waiting for the response of The Supreme Leader. After a very pregnant pause, he replies. Water with sugar. I like this new idea of ours. Well call it. fizzio. The word echoes throughout the room, casting a spell that causes many of the members to dissipate into smoke, never to be seen or heard from again. The Supreme Leader laughs maniacally. End scene.
|“Made in small batches and served until it’s gone.” Trust us, it can’t go soon enough.|
The marketing effort behind Starbucks’ newest” product has been impressive, and more than a little off-base. Their website is an excellent example of this. It starts, We use a unique craft-brewing process to to create a super smooth tasting coffee you won’t find anywhere else. Lets break this sentence down.
First, We use a unique craft-brewing process. This process is far from unique. As a matter of fact, the Japanese have been doing it for hundreds of years, and the method has become increasingly ubiquitous in shops across the United States over the past decade or two. Not unique. Not special. Not even remotely interesting, at this point.
Second, calling this method craft-brewing is kind of a stretch. Here are all of the items required to make cold brew: some sort of vessel, coarsely ground coffee, cold water, and some sort of strainer. Heres the procedure: put coffee in the vessel. Dump cold water on it. Let it sit for at least 12-24 hours. Strain. Weve MacGyver-ed it in a 5-gallon pickle bucket using a pillowcase as a strainer. Implying that this process requires any kind of skill is absolutely absurd.
The web page goes on. We carefully created a blend of coffee beans from Latin America and Africa. Thanks for the specifics, guys. Its not like Africa is agiant freakin continent, or anything.
Preparation Matters”. Then we coarsely ground our beans to slowly extract a consistent, full-body flavor. Proof-reading is key, yall. Sorry, but that pair of sentences is just the worst. Full-bodied! Its not body flavored! (We hope.)
This no-heat, lengthy approach produces a distinctly sweet, smooth coffee. See below.
20-hours. Thats how long your barista gently slow-steeps the coffee in cool water. Our barista is working a 20-hour shift? Should slow-steeps really be used as an action verb?
The result. A delicious cup of cold brew coffee that is balanced and smooth, with hints of citrus and chocolate.
Our notes for this coffee are just a little differentfrom Starbucks’ when we tried it, we got kind of an engine-exhaust aroma, with notes of “rubber tires”, “making out with a smoker”, and “sadness”. We agree that, when executed correctly, cold-brewed coffee can be a really sweet, complex flavor experience (distinctly sweet and smooth, to borrow a line from the Starbucks site). But thats contingent on starting with good coffee. Cold brewing really dredges out all the flavors in a bean, so if theres anything icky in there, itll only get amplified in the cup. We tried two sips in earnest, desperately searching for the citrus and chocolate we were promised.
Instead, we found only stomach-curdling despair in that cup.
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TULSI GABBARD DEFENDS BAN ON GMO COFFEE
On July 23 U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard gave a speech to the House of Representatives defending Hawaii Countys ordinance banning cultivation of GMO coffee and taroand supporting the rights of local communities. Ms. Gabbard is the representative for Kona and the rest of Hawaiis Second Congressional District. Her speech was in opposition to HR 1599, a bill that would pre-empt state and local laws that already require labeling of genetically modified foods. In reference to the dangers of pre-emption, Rep. Gabbard noted that
HR 1599 could override the rights of local communities to make such decisions to protect their health and safety, and guide the growth of their agricultural industries. This legislation could overturn a ban on the cultivation of genetically-engineered coffee passed by Hawaii Island constituents potentially damaging the global reputation of Hawaiis famous and unique Kona coffee, the only domestic coffee industry in our country. It could negate a ban on the cultivation of genetically-engineered taro, endangering a main staple and a culturally significant plant for indigenous Native Hawaiians.
The concern is for protecting Hawaii County Ordinance No. 80-154, enacted in 2008 with support from the KCFA and Konas coffee farming community. The concern then, and the concern now, is that cultivation of genetically modified coffee here could lead to the loss of market access for Kona coffee in Japan and Europe.
Despite opposition, HR 1599 was passed in the House of Representatives 275-150, and now moves to the senate for consideration. Click here to see the full text of Rep. Gabbards speech.
Gabbards support for the economic interests of Kona coffee farmers is recognized and very much appreciated.
UNITED NATIONS CASE STUDY OF KONA COFFEE
On July 13 members of the Legislative Committee and KCFA President Tom Butler met with University of Hawaii researcher John Woodill to provide coffee farmer input for a case study of the potential benefits of providing Geographical Indication (GI) protections to Kona Coffee. This Kona Coffee study is one of ten GI case studies worldwide sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA), an agency of the United Nations.
In addition to other input, we offered two principal suggestions during the meeting:
- That Kona Coffee would benefit greatly from GI protections similar to those currently provided to Champagne, Idaho Potatoes, Napa Valley Wine, Washington State Apples
- That UH should reverse its inexplicable decision not to include consideration of the adverse effects of Kona Coffee Blends on the economic interests of farmers and the reputation of our heritage crop. A principal purpose of GI status is to prevent precisely the type of deception and profiteering caused by Kona Coffee Blends. Ignoring the effects of Kona Coffee Blends would be inconsistent with the purposes of the FAO project.
–Submitted by the Legislative Committee.
Coqui frog on an anthurium leaf– rare daylight sighting- about the size of a half dollar
Feral Pig Pilot Project
Im sure most of you have your own stories about feral pigs on your property. The following article is about still another study of the impact and management of the pigs. It will be interesting to see what methods of pig control the USDA will determine are effective.
From the Hawaii Tribune Herald, July 30, 2015
Five Big Island farmers signed up to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture better understand and manage the impacts feral swine are having on natural resources and human health and safety.
In April, USDAs Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Hawaii and the U.S. territory of Guam would join Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi in a new conservation pilot program aimed at addressing feral pig management.
If selected, participants will have to agree to monitor for feral swine damage for at least three years, take steps to control the feral animals, restore damage to natural resources created by the pigs, and provide annual reports to NRCS.
Funds for the program, a figure that was not disclosed, are being provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to address three primary purposes, including determining the impacts upon the natural resources, developing a management plan to address identified feral pig impacts, and evaluating the effectiveness of practices in reducing the impacts to natural resources, according to a release.
To read the entire article click on the following link:
–Submitted by Christine Coleman
How Well are You Taking Care of Your Underground Herd?
Excerpt : What do soil organisms do?
Healthy soil is a jungle of rapacious organisms devouring everything in sight (including each other), processing their prey or food through their innards, and then excreting it. The value of these creatures to farmers lies in:
- Cycling nutrients.
- Enhancing soil structure, which improves water and air movement.
- Controlling disease and enhancing plant growth.
Whats Kona Worth?
Kona Coffee Cherry and Parchment Prices
Again this year the Kona Coffee Farmers Association will be assisting coffee farmers to find the best prices for Kona coffee cherry and parchment.
Economic markets operate most efficiently with full knowledge of the prices being offered by buyers and being accepted by sellers. True price competition is dependent on the availability of accurate information about current prices.
During the 2015 harvest, the KCFA will be posting prices offered by buyers for Kona cherry and parchment. The information will be updated weekly on the KCFA website. Also, we will post selected roasted Kona coffee retail prices (such as Peets and Starbucksboth currently at $49.90/one pound equivalent; and Royal Kona Peaberrycurrently at $54.74/one pound equivalent) for the information of Kona farmers who sell retail roasted coffee.
To do this, we will need your help. When you become aware of prices being paid by middlemen/buyers in Kona, on the Mainland, or elsewhereeither from postings or actual salessend (in total confidence) the name of the buyer, the price per pound, and the date of the information toWhatIsKonaWorth@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org .
Beginning the week of August 17, go to www.konacoffeefarmers.org and follow the link from the home page to review prices.
HELP US BRING TRUE PRICE COMPETITON TO KONA COFFEE
–Submitted by the Branding Committee
Beetles and Bugs
A novel approach to pest control
from The Economist
The coffee-berry borer is a pesky beetle. It is thought to destroy $500m-worth of unpicked coffee beans a year, thus diminishing the incomes of some 20m farmers. The borer spends most of its life as a larva, buried inside a coffee berry, feeding on the beans within. To do so, it has to defy the toxic effects of caffeine. This is a substance which, though pleasing to people, is fatal to insectsexcept, for reasons hitherto unknown, to the coffee-berry borer. But those reasons are unknown no longer. A team of researchers led by Eoin Brodie of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Fernando Vega of the United States Department of Agriculture had a suspicion the answer lay not with the beetle itself, but with the bacteria in its gut. As they outline in Nature Communications, that suspicion has proved correct.
The teams hypothesis was that the borers gut bacteria are shielding it by eating any caffeine it has ingested before the poison can be absorbed through the insects gut wall. Experiments on a laboratory-reared strain of the borer suggested this hypothesis was probably true. Initially, the larvaes droppings were caffeine-free. When the lab-reared insects were dosed with antibiotics, this changed. Caffeine started appearing in their droppings, and the animals themselves began, as it were, dropping off the perch. Over the course of an experiment lasting 44 days after their guts had been sterilised (a period that let the insects complete an entire life cycle of egg, larva, pupa and adult), the population of the experimental colonies fell by 95%and even those larvae that did not die had trouble pupating. Clearly, immunity to caffeine was being conferred by bacteria. The question was, which ones?
To answer that, Dr Brodie and Dr Vega turned to wild beetles. They collected samples from seven coffee-growing countries and combed through the insects gut floras, looking for features in common. By constructing what was, in effect, a Venn diagram of microbes from these populations, and also those from their lab-bred strain, they were able to focus on the bacterial species found in all of them.
They tried growing each of these on a medium whose only source of carbon and nitrogen for metabolism was caffeine. Some of the bugs were able to survive on this diet, others were not. Of the survivors, the most abundant in beetle guts was Pseudomonas fulva. This species, a genetic analysis showed, is blessed with an enzyme called caffeine demethylase, which converts caffeine into something that can be dealt with by normal metabolic enzymes.
Kill P. fulva, then, and you would probably kill the borer. But that is easier said than done. Even if spraying coffee plantations with antibiotics were feasible and would do the job (by no means certain, for the larvae would have to ingest sufficient antibiotic for the purpose), it would be undesirable. The profligate use of antibiotics encourages resistance, thus making them less effective for saving human lives.
There might, though, be another way of getting at P. fulva. This would be to craft a type of virus, known as a bacteriophage, specific to the bugan approach already being investigated for the treatment of human illness caused by a different species of Pseudomonas.
In practice, more than one type of phage would probably be needed, for if P. fulva were knocked out, another caffeine-consuming bacterium in the beetles gut might end up replacing it. But, regardless of the details, this study has introduced a novel way of thinking about pest control. Many plants use poisons to protect themselves from insects. Sometimes, such plants are crops. Being able to circumvent these natural insecticides is an important part of becoming abundant enough to constitute a pest. It is possible other agronomists who have been seeking to understand how critters do this have been looking in the wrong placeie, at the critters themselves, rather than among the bacteria in their guts.
–Submitted by Bryce Decker
Problems in the International Coffee Industry
The following excerpts are from a BBC.com article titled Coffee in Crisis: The Bitter End of Our Favourite Drink?
For the entire article click on this link:
As we sip our lattes and espressos and read the daily headlines, climate change can seem like a distant threat. But travel a few thousand miles to the source of your caffeine fix, and the turbulence is all too real.
Where farmers once enjoyed stable, mild conditions, the temperature now seesaws between cold that stunts growth, and heat that dries the berries before they can be harvested. Then there are the hurricanes and landslides; sometimes, the mud can swallow up plantations. As one farmer put it: The weather is very strange. Strange things come that we didnt see before.
Some worry that our efforts to combat these challenges will only create further environmental devastation. Others suggest that the only solution is to change the beloved flavour of the drink itself. Whatever the answers, savour your espresso while you can: we may be facing the end of coffee as we know it.
The problem arises, in part, from the refinement of our palette. There are two main breeds of commercial coffee: the more aromatic Coffea Arabica, and the more bitter Coffea Robusta variety. Thanks to its complex flavours, Arabica is by far the worlds favourite, accounting for about 70% of the coffee we drink.
Those genteel qualities that we favour come at the price of the plants physical strength, however: it is far more sensitive to stress than its more robust cousin. As BBC Magazine recently explained, almost all the commercial Arabica plants have been bred from a very small stock taken from the mountains of Ethiopia giving it very little genetic diversity and making it particularly vulnerable to climate change. The plant grows best between a very narrow range of relatively mild temperatures 18 to 22C and needs gentle, regular rainfall. It needs a very particular climate that you can only find in a few locations around the globe, says Christian Bunn at the Humboldt University in Berlin. That makes it very different from other crops, like corn plants bred for thousands of years to adapt to many different environments.
When Oxfam questioned coffee producers in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda, they complained that hotter, drier seasons were causing the plants to drop their flowers before they had turned to fruit. Even when the plants blossomed, the beans were shrivelled and small. Further stresses come from the fact that the coffee plants enemies can thrive in hotter weather including pests such as leaf miners, coffee berry borers, mealy bugs and diseases like leaf rust, all of which ravage crops. During one of the most recent epidemics,Central America saw its harvests drop by 20% in 2013, after an onset of leaf rust and such events may be more common as the climate warms even more.
All of which paints a bleak picture for the future. Using the latest figures for climate change across the globe, Bunns calculations predict that the land suited to farming Arabica could drop by as much as 50% by 2050. Classic coffee-producing regions, such as Vietnam, India and most of Central America, will be hit particularly hard.
The consequences will be serious for farmers and coffee lovers alike. For one thing, we can expect coffee to become more of a luxury, with prices shooting up by around 25% by 2050
The Coffee and Climate initiative is helping more than a dozen different coffee producers to join forces and share notes on the best ways to deal with the oncoming challenges. One option, for instance, is to graft Arabica strains to the roots of Robusta plants, making a hybrid that is more resistant to drought while retaining the preferred aromatic flavour. Alternatively, selective breeding could help produce a variety that combines the best of both Robusta and Arabica. Its something people are working on, but were not sure when the new strains will be available, adds Magrach.
—Submitted by Christine Coleman
Kona Coffee Pot Roast
- 1 (4 to 5 lb.) chuck roast
- 4 garlic cloves
- Salt & pepper
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 2 T salad oil
- 2 cups brewed Kona coffee
- 3 cups water
What To Do:
- The day before, cut slits in the meat and insert garlic cloves slivers. Place roast in a shallow bowl and top with onion slices. Pour vinegar over meat, cover and refrigerate overnight; turn a few times.
- The next day, remove the meat and pat dry. Heat oil in a large roaster and brown meat on both sides. Add coffee and water. Bake at 325 deg. F for 2 to 4 hours until fork-tender.
- If desired add potatoes, carrots and onions around roast the last 45 minutes of cooking.
–Submitted by the Editor
Please Write To Us!
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! >> Write 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.orgwith SUBJECT: Commentary.