Paying More for a Cup of Kona

Bad news for Kona Coffee lovers. A rapidly spreading infestation of invasive bugs means you’ll be paying more per cup next time you’re in Hawaii.

For the past couple of years, it’s been a constant battle between these tiny coffee berry borer beetles and farmers on the Big Island. The problem’s only getting worse, too, as each beetle lays up to 19 eggs. Not much long after, those female eggs are laying 19 more.

It’s a constant cycle that’s been eating away at this world-renowned coffee. Many have been wondering if this will be the cause of a coffee shortage in Hawaii, or worse yet, the end of this Hawaii-grown commodity. According to Hawaii News Now, when the pests arrived in 2010, only 10-percent of farms were infested. Today, 100-percent of Kona farms are infested, with 28-percent damaged.

Kona Coffee has a long history in the islands. In the 19th century, coffee from Spain and Brazil were planted on Oahu. The cuttings were then taken to Kona on the Big Island, where it remains the product we see today. It’s scary to think that a crop that took more than a century to build could be easily wiped out in much less than that.

Hawaii’s sundry stores and gift shops are well stocked with this prized coffee. It’s one of the most popular souvenirs for tourists to take home or send to family and friends. Many hotel rooms are also stocked with complimentary packs of coffee, too. Hopefully the next post I write will pour a cup of better news for coffee lovers. Until then, get your Kona Coffee fix while you can!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher