It’s been a perennial question for Hawaii lawmakers: how to protect coffee products grown in Hawaii from cheap imitators composed mostly of coffee grown elsewhere but still sold with labels like “Kona blend.”
Now, two bills — House Bill 1886 and House Bill 1897 — are moving through the Legislature that would tighten label requirements for coffee products bearing Hawaii place names like Kona. To be labelled with a place name like “Kona,” “Ka’u” or another region, the product would have to contain at least 51% coffee from the region.
The law now lets coffee sellers get by with a scant 10%.
One bill applies to roasted coffee, the other to ready-to-drink beverages like refrigerated iced-coffee drinks.