A bill strengthening labeling requirements for Hawaiian-grown coffee blends remains alive having met a critical deadline last week, but lawmakers are now considering a phased-in approach.
House Bill 1886, as currently written, would gradually increase the minimum percentage of Hawaii-grown coffee from 10% to 51% over a three-year period, rather than an immediate implementation to the higher minimum as initially proposed.
“We’re happy with that,” said Suzanne Shriner, president of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association.
The organization, which represents over 200 members in the Kona coffee region, submitted the amendment after consulting with the Hawaii Coffee Association, she said. Concerns were raised about the larger blending industry needing time to transition and whether the increase to 51% would reduce the value and market base of Kona coffee, which Shriner said “doesn’t make sense.”