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How can you tell if your Kona Coffee is 100% unadulterated and pure?

How can you tell if your Kona Coffee is 100% unadulterated and pure?

Kona coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, costing anywhere from 45 dollars a pound for supermarket coffee, to upwards of 150 dollars a pound!  With something so expensive and valuable, there will undoubtably be copy cats and schemers attracted to the high margins.  When times get tough these characters will often cheat you out of 100% Kona Coffee!

So how can you tell if your coffee is 100% Kona?  One way is a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)!  This method works because every substance will emit a unique infrared spectrum.  By looking for unique signatures in the infrared spectrum we can tell very specific things about where the coffee is grown.  A FTIR reacts to the unique distribution of elements and compound found in the coffee bean to tell us where the coffee bean originated.   One way to think about this is to consider the different color flames which light up depending on what you light on fire.  Well I guess we're not all pyromaniacs, but those who have set things on fire for fun will know what i'm talking about.

So how unique is Kona coffee? In their article https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01173.x

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy for Kona Coffee Authentication "he calibration set of Kona coffee consisted of 10 different blends of Kona‐grown original coffee mixture from 14 different farms in Hawaii and a non‐Kona‐grown original coffee mixture from 3 different sampling sites in Hawaii. Derivative transformations (1st and 2nd), mathematical enhancements such as mean centering and variance scaling, multivariate regressions by partial least square (PLS), and principal components regression (PCR) were implemented to develop and enhance the calibration model. The calibration model was successfully validated using 9 synthetic blend sets of 100% Kona coffee mixture and its adulterant, 100% non‐Kona coffee mixture. There were distinct peak variations of ground and brewed coffee blends in the spectral “fingerprint” region between 800 and 1900 cm−1. "

So there are ways to figure out if your Coffee is really from Kona.  However, unless you have an FTIR sitting around, its probably better to buy your coffee from Kona farmers.