How Coffee Farmers in Hawaii Fought Counterfeit Kona Beans

Coffee farmers in the Kona region of Hawaii struggled with counterfeit beans being sold as authentic Kona coffee. Through a class-action lawsuit and novel chemical testing of the beans’ isotope signatures, the farmers were able to win settlements totaling over $41 million against distributors and retailers misleadingly using the Kona name. The chemical tests helped prove the origins of beans by analyzing their unique isotope ratios absorbed from Hawaiian soils and climate. This legal victory aimed to deter others from selling fake Kona coffee and convince companies to more accurately label products’ true Kona bean percentages.

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