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Hawaii Coffee Association hired Oritain to manage coffee origin and traceability

Hawaii Coffee Association hired Oritain to manage coffee origin and traceability

May 31 - 2022

Coffee Geography Magazine


The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) has signed an agreement with product traceability company Oritain to build a statewide “origin fingerprint” database to verify the origins of Hawaii- grown coffee. Oritain uses scientific testing to measure a product’s stable isotopes and trace elements and verify its origin. The methodology originated in the criminal forensic field and has since been peer- reviewed in scientific journals over the last two decades.

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“This partnership will allow us to sample green and roasted coffee to prove its origin,” notes Chris Manfredi, HCA executive director. “The effort will build Hawaii coffee traceability and integrity. It is designed to thwart counterfeiting and build marketability. It’s important to the industry and consumers to know where coffee is grown and in the case of counterfeiting, where it is not grown. Coffee counterfeiting is the bane of Hawaii-grown coffee. It represents unfair competition to Hawaii’s growers. It undermines our pricing and the generations of growers who have contributed to the exceptional quality associated with Hawaii’s brands.”

Chris Manfredi, HCA executive director

Chris Manfredi, HCA executive director

How it Works: A product’s origin can be identified by measuring the chemical compositions of plants and animals that vary naturally in the environment. As something is grown, reared or made, it absorbs a unique ratio of elements and isotopes depending on the local temperature, altitude, precipitation, soil conditions, fertilizer and farm practices. It runs this data through their statistical models to produce an ‘Origin Fingerprint’ that it then uses to test subsequent samples as they move through the supply chain. Any samples that are inconsistent with the Origin Fingerprint, has likely been adulterated. “Hawaii coffee industry is excited about this project and its possibilities for the future.” adds Manfredi.

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“It will build product trust and boost marketability.” Oritain CEO, Grant Cochrane, said. “Hawaii-grown coffee has earned a world-renowned reputation for its specialty status, farming practices and flavor profile. It is coffee that is unrivalled from anywhere else in the world. However, with such a strong reputation, brings a temptation to cheat by substituting coffee from other origins and labelling it has Hawaiian. This partnership marks a significant step in deterring this type of behavior by protecting the integrity and reputation of an important specialty crop.”

Grant Cochrane, Oritain CEO

Grant Cochrane, Oritain CEO

Oritain is a world leader in using forensic science to trace the origin of products. It works with Mother Nature and doesn’t rely on barcodes, packaging or other tracer systems. Everything that is grown, reared, or made, is a product of its environment, absorbing a unique ratio of elements and nutrients depending on where in the world it comes from. This is what Oritain analyses, using a unique combination of forensic science and statistics to accurately verify the origin of products.

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The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaii-grown coffees.