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Kona Coffee

You might be surprised to hear just how much Kona coffee is actually in your "Kona blend."

If you know someone who’s taken a DNA test, found out they were a sliver Mongolian and then proclaimed themselves a direct descendant of Genghis Khan — that is sort of like the marketing of some Kona coffee blends.

The reason is that certain packaged coffee need only be 10 percent Kona to be marketed as a “Kona blend,” so long as the percentage of coffee derived from the Kona Coffee Belt on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii is clearly disclosed on the label.

One Hawaiian lawmaker would like to see that changed and has proposed legislation that would raise the threshold from 10 percent to 51 percent, thus allowing only majority-Kona coffee products to be marketed using the Kona name.

In addition, state Rep. Richard Creagan is seeking to extend the labeling guidelines to canned or bottled ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee products, a fast-expanding industry but one that is not required to specify the amount of Kona coffee on the label of its Kona blends.

“The big guys want to have the cache of having the Kona name on something and we don’t know how much Kona coffee is in them or, frankly, if there is any Kona coffee (in them),” Creagan told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Find more of our coverage on coffee here.

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