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Kona coffee recognized as a brew of distinction

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 6:01 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2014

Pure Kona coffee has been named the winner of a rare award from the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium in Italy, or Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano, its name there.

Kona coffee farmer Colehour Bondera is in Italy and will accept the award Saturday at the Salone del Gusto food, sustainability and biodiversity event on behalf of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association. He is primarily in Italy representing Slow Food Hawaii at a corollary event called Terra Madre.

"This award opens the door for Kona coffee farmers and marketers to pursue the process towards an international seal of Protected Designation of Origin, such as the European Union offers at this regional level," he said via e-mail.

For instance, everyone is familiar with the "Parmesan" cheese that shakes or pours from a tube from the grocery store or a packet from the pizza delivery joint. However, the only cheese that can rightly be called Parmigiano-Reggiano is certified and marked with a seal that reads "Denominazione d'Origine Protetta," or DOP. The English counterpart is PDO, for Protected Designation of Origin, and the award opens the door for Kona coffee farmers and marketers to pursue just such a seal.

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association and the Kona Coffee Council have local seals of origin certification processes and stickers, but "international certification would open up markets in Europe and Japan where savvy consumers look for such," Bondera said.


Americans have consistently ranked Hawaii near the top as the most desirable state in which to live:

Year Rank
2010 2
2009 3
2007 3
2006 2
2005 3
2003 3
2002 3
2001 3
2000 7
1999 (a) 9
1998 (b) 7
1997 7

a: Tied with Virginia
b: Tied with Texas

Source: Harris Interactive

"This is also relevant at the national level for product recognition."

The award draws the U.S. into the realm of protected-origin products, he said. The consortium has recognized "our decades-long struggles to keep marketing under the Kona name to mean 100-percent Kona coffee, not other foreign coffee blends," and is "supporting this struggle via this award."

"For Kona coffee farmers, this recognition adds fuel to a long, distressing fight to get protection at our county, state and national levels from misuse of our name, especially with 10-percent blends."


More people would prefer to live in California than any other state, according to a new Harris Interactive poll in which Hawaii ranked second.

The rest of the top 10 were Florida, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, New York and Washington.

Some 2,620 respondents 18 and older were asked what state they would live in if they could choose any besides their current home.

Delving into the demographics, Hawaii was the No. 1 choice among those 46 to 64, and 65 and older, and was fourth among 34- to 45-year-olds.

From 1997 to 2000 Hawaii bounced between seventh and ninth, tying with Virginia and Texas in two of those years, and one can't help but wonder why.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at

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