Is It Real Kona Coffee?

Here at Buy Organic Coffee we commonly promote coffee from Colombia. However, we always note that there are all sorts of good coffees throughout the world. Our point regarding coffee from Colombia is that there is more uniformly excellent Arabic coffee in Colombia that anywhere else in the world. One of world’s great coffees comes from the Hawaiian Islands, Kona coffee. While Hawaii produces about 2.4 million pounds of Kona a year, Colombia produces about 1,491 million pounds of Arabic coffee a year. Like Colombian coffee, Kona is unique and commands a higher-than-average price. This invites imitation and so the question arises, is it real Kona coffee?

Copycat Kona

As noted in an article in The New York Times, there are lots of folks selling cheaper types of coffee and calling it Kona. A recent lawsuit helped Kona growers with their fight against counterfeit beans. We have written about how great coffee is commonly grown in rich volcanic soil. Volcanic ash is an excellent fertilizer. It also includes lots of unique minerals in greater quantities than normal soil, Thus, one can find higher levels and unique ratios of things like barium to nickel or strontium to zinc. A recent lawsuit, settled out of court, used this approach to show that several large companies were marketing non-Kona coffee as Kona.

Is It Real Kona Coffee

How Expensive Is Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is very good. It is also produced in much lower quantities than coffees from Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, and other big producing countries. This relative rarity helps keep the price up in the $50 a pound range. In addition, Kona coffee is grown on small farms with lots of manual labor, making it more expensive to produce than coffee from mechanized operations. The point is that anyone who can fool the public into thinking that an average coffee with an average wholesale price is Kona, can make out like a bandit! The recent lawsuit may have helped deter the former amount of copycat Kona being sold as the settlement ran in the $41 million range!

What Does a Coffee Brand Name Mean?

As a rule, customers trust certain brands of products that they buy. This is generally because these products are of consistently high quality. Such is the case with coffee from Colombia and with Kona coffee. As noted in the Times article, Swiss cheese and French fries are generic terms and do not tell us that the product came from Switzerland or France. However, when someone buys Kona coffee they are expecting coffee that was grown in the Hawaiian Islands in the specific regions where Kona coffee comes from. The testing done in the lawsuit helps confirm the uniqueness of Kona coffee. However, like with Colombian coffee, Kona is grown by folks whose families have work on the same farms in a coffee culture more than a century old. Nobody is banning other folks from selling coffee. What they are doing is making sure that when someone gets Kona coffee they are getting the real thing and not a cheaper imitation that cheapens the public’s sense of what Kona coffee is all about. The same applies when you see Juan Valdez on the package and can be assured that your coffee is from Colombia.

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