The Kona Coffee Farmers Association was founded in 2006 to promote and protect 100-percent Kona coffee. It currently has about 250 farmers, and a number of supporting members.
The goal is to help all member farmers succeed in their businesses, as well as seek greater legal protection of the Kona coffee name.
Counterfeiting is the biggest challenge. There’s far more Kona coffee sold in the world than could possibly be grown on Hawaii island.
Introduction of foreign coffee strains is another problem. Authentic Kona coffee is grown on a tree varietal known as Kona Typica. This specific varietal birthed the world-famous reputation that made Kona coffee famous.
“It’s really sweet and mild, a little bit nutty. Some people taste chocolate,” said the association’s president, Suzanne Shriner, who says there’s a big difference in flavor when compared to blends.
“For the 10-percent, you can’t even taste the Kona anymore. We like to see our farmers supported. That 100-percent Kona puts more income back to the farmers, back into the local community rather than going elsewhere,” she said.
About 20 Kona Coffee Farmers Association farms will be featured at the Made in Hawaii Festival this weekend. All produce 100-percent Kona coffee, grown on small estates.
Visit the Made in Hawaii Festival, Aug. 17 to 19, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena and Exhibition Hall, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.