As an organic Kona Coffee Farmer who sells half of his crop as green beans to roasters out of State, I am appalled that the Governor caved in to big money interests—from a mainland mega conglomerate and CEO Wayman, that owns Paradise Beverages (and thus Royal Kona, Lion Coffee).
Sure, big coffee sellers are cheating already, but this will open the floodgates to selling anything as Kona, as any Kona as “Kona”—which currently means it MUST be “Prime or better”. The biggest trap all press people walk in regularly is set by Wayman in all of his comments and include:
(1) The contention that he “represents” 100’s of farmers. Nope, he BUYS from them. He represents his billionaire mainland boss who is only interested in profit, nothing else.
(2) He is persistent to belittle “the little farmers” and the press (as well as politicians such as Kokubun) swallow that without much critique nor analysis. 100’s of families make a living this way, not just Mr Wayman and his employees.
(3) Most importantly, and that’s where all people representing Hawaii in some form make a huge mistake—Kona Coffee is still (currently) considered one of the best coffees in the world, and is the Big Island’s (and Hawaii’s overall) signature product.
To water it down, to deflate its legitimacy, to degrade its quality and reputation would be a large loss to Hawaii. No wonder that mega growers in Maui don’t care about that—they are selling their less valuable product just fine. No wonder that some legislators want to equivocate “Kona” coffee with “Hawaii” coffee. Not all sparkling wine is genuine Champagne, not all brandy is Cognac—but connoisseurs sure know the difference. A shifty whiskey drummer would not care.
Wayman does not care because he makes his boss the most money with his 10% nonsense. The key solution to ALL of this is not to wipe out checks and balances, but to take the money coming in from inspections and hire another inspector. None of the “Big Boys” want that or would go for that because they want no inspections at all. That’s what you would do when quality means nothing and quantity, and the quickness of the buck you make, means everything. Shame on all involved in this!
With Best Regards and Cordial Aloha!
Dr. Hans F. Eckert, owner/operator
100% Certified Organic Kona Coffee
100% Certified Estate
100% Certified Aah-loha
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, U.S.A.