posted by admin on May 5
Protecting its food origins is a fairly new concept in the USA and sadly the government is lying low in enforcements of existing spotty laws. Unlike e.g. Champagne or Burgundy wine from France, Parma ham from Italy, Kobe beef from Japan, the American Twinky, Cheddar and Coke is protected by trade name but not based on its appellation/regional origin. As long as there is no food contamination, blatant mislabeling, or obvious fraud happening, the US consumers has to carefully check the source of any food by themselves. Take for example Konafrom Hawaii. Served in the White House and also added to the menus of US space flights, it is one of the most valued American food products. Easily commanding $20-30 per pound, its fame is based on the superb taste and intense hand labor it requires in the cultivation process. The financial temptations for many merchants are huge to utilize the magic of the Kona name to sell any other s but the 100% Kona under this label. Most people who buy luxury foods are not doing so on a regular base and they wouldn’t know the difference the counterfeiter calculate.
Various clues can help to verify the origin however, and the consumer can avoid being taken for a ride:
Is there a website on thelabel? Does the company have a contact phone number? Are they based in Kona, Hawaii? If it is a local farm, you can most likely speak to the owners directly or even visit the farm yourself. If it is from a big roaster, they will have bought Hawaii State certified coffee from a large processor or farm in Kona. Or from a coffee broker, who would also only buy state certified Kona coffee. Both can give you a run-down of the procedure and even fax you copies of the certification papers and the seal numbers of Kona bags. Buying fake Kona coffee at a roadside stand in Hawaii may happen of course. But Kona itself is a very small community with two roads only and the other hardworking local coffee farmers would quickly put an end to it.
When to be suspicious and rather not buy; cute label or not:
- . 100% Kona coffee with a SALE sign attached.
- . 100% Kona coffee for less than $15 per pound. Less would not be enough to recoup the labor costs.
- . Kona coffee without the 100% in front of it.
- . Kona coffee with artificial flavors, e.g. vanilla, hazelnut, raspberry, because they cover the unique and expensive flavor of Kona coffee for a reason.
- . Five pound bag ‘deals’ from obscure roasters on EBAY.
- . Local gas stations suddenly serving Kona coffee by the cup for a buck.
- . Hawaiian hotels or restaurants rarely serve 100% Kona. Even that nearly all of them say “Kona” on the menu, but serve cheap and flavored blends. Inquire before ordering.
- . When you search a roasters address from their label on Google Earth, but you only find e.g. a golf course in Florida.
- . Kona Roast