Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What the heck is a “Kona Blend”?

Aloha kakahiaka!  (Good morning in Hawai’ian)  Here in Ruidoso, New Mexico we just say “howdy.”  Happy Tuesday morning and greetings to all you coffee fiends.   That’s fiends not friends.  I know how you really feel about coffee!  The purpose of this blog is to unite coffee lovers, especially lovers of Kona coffee, and perhaps learn a little about coffee and all the benefits of coffee at the same time.  Here’s how caffeine works: You get drowsy when adenosine (a nitrogen base attached to a five-carbon sugar) binds to adenosine receptors in your brain. When caffeine gets in your system, it competes with adenosine to bind to the receptors, frequently binding before the adenosine. The pituitary gland recognizes the extra adenosine in bloodstream and senses an imbalance. In response, it produces adrenaline (the hormone for the fight-or-flight response) and bumps up the amount of dopamine (the “happiness chemical”), giving you a “caffeine-high.”
Kona coffee growers want Hawaii's labeling law modified to provide more details on packages of coffee blends that contain Kona-grown beans.  The Kona Coffee Farmers Association wants the state Legislature to consider a bill it has drafted that would also identify where the remainder of the blend is grown.  If the association is successful an example of a package label would read, "90 percent Panamanian coffee, 10 percent Kona coffee."
It is about truth-in-labeling and protecting the integrity of a world-famous Hawaii product. Hawaii is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown. Coffee aficionados pay a premium for coffee grown in farms in the Kona district, known for its rich volcanic soil and tropical climate.  Not giving consumers all the information about where coffee is grown dilutes the perception of Kona's quality.
When the 10 percent blend law was introduced in 1991, there was a provision mandating disclosing the origin of all coffee in the blend but pressure from Honolulu coffee blenders resulted in making it voluntary, which none of the major blenders have opted to do.
Modifying the law to restore mandatory disclosure would just be one small step for the farmers. Several years ago there was a failed effort to increase the minimum percentage of Hawaii-grown coffee in blends to at least 75 percent. The farmers would prefer only blends that are mostly Kona bear that name. The name Kona should not be used on any product that's not mostly Kona.  When people talk about wines, you can't buy a Napa wine when it's only 10 percent Napa.
Hawaii's coffee blend labeling law is an offshoot of regulations put in place after a scandal in the 1990s when inexpensive coffee beans grown in Latin America were being passed off and sold as pure Kona coffee. It only applies to blends sold in Hawaii.
You can be sure that PANIOLA 100% Kona Cowboy Coffee is, as it says, 100% Kona!
Do you want FREE coffee?  The first reader of these blogs who comes to the Kona Cowboy Coffee Company’s Cowboy Coffee Saloon at upcoming events will get a free, that’s FREE bag of CAFÉ PINON de Nuevo Mexico…our newest fusion coffee made with a proprietary blend of central American coffees and real New Mexico pine nuts!

The purpose of this blog is to unite Kona coffee lovers and perhaps learn a little about coffee and all the benefits of coffee at the same time.  You can find the Kona Coffee Fiends group on Facebook and we’d appreciate it if Facebook users would “LIKE” the Kona Cowboy Coffee Company page at www.facebook.com/pages/Kona-Cowboy-Coffee-Company/222070817858553.  Just copy and paste to your browser.  You can also find us on Twitter at @jackshuster. 

You know you’re a coffee fiend when the nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.  So enjoy your coffee, make it Kona, and remember, Kona is the home of the Hawaiian cowboy…and we had cowboys in Kona before there were cowboys in Texas!

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