Lawmakers in Hawaii passed measures creating standards for coffee, the state’s high-value crop.

Lawmakers in Hawaii passed measures creating standards for coffee, the state’s high-value crop.

May 06 - 2024

Coffee Geography Magazine

HB-2298, a new bill passed requires Hawaii-grown and processed coffee to contain no less than 51% Hawaii-origin coffee beginning in July 2027. The legislation said existing law allows coffee blends identified as being from the Kona, Kau and Kauai coffee growing regions to contain only small amounts of beans from these places. This deceives consumers and harms coffee growers, it said. 

“This initiative is about protecting Kona’s world-renowned coffee and ensuring that local farmers receive the prices they deserve for their products, and that dollars stay in Hawaiʻi’s economy,” said Lowen, who represents North Kona, South Kohala and portions of Kailua-Kona. “The percentage of Kona coffee required for it to be labeled Kona should be 100%, but given that this is the first progress made on this in more than 30 years, it’s a huge win.”


The measure is aimed at protecting coffee products that originate in the state, combating deceptive labeling and ensuring products that bear Hawaiʻi regional names contain at least a majority of product from that region. 

“By gradually implementing an increase in minimum standards, this bill protects the integrity of all regional coffee brands in Hawai‘i, like Kona and Ka‘ū, and supports our local farmers,” said Big Island state Rep. Kirstin Kahaloa, who represents Hōnaunau, Nāpō‘opo‘o, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Keauhou, Hōlualoa and portions of Kailua-Kona.

kona coffee region

Act 222 was put in place in 2022, requesting the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture conduct a study on the impact of coffee labeling laws on coffee farmers and determine the economically ideal proportion of Kona beans in products marketed as Kona coffee.

The state Agriculture Department on Jan. 18 submitted its final report on the economic study on changes in coffee labeling law, which highlights that increasing the minimum amount of Kona coffee from 10% to either 51% or 100% would be advantageous for local farmers, with a higher increase providing the most benefit.

Additionally, the report anticipates that proposed labeling changes could result in a price increase for Kona coffee while seeing minimal impact on quantities grown or sold. 

“For too long, we have allowed products that are not Kona coffee to use the Kona coffee name and reputation for profit at the expense of farmers,” said Big Island state Rep. ‘Jeanné Kapela, who represents Mountain View, Glenwood, Fern Forest, Volcano, Pāhala, Punalu‘u, Nā‘ālehu, Wai‘ōhinu, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, Ho‘okena and portions of Kea‘au and Kurtistown.