Kona coffee industry had right to be steamed
The Ironman triathlon brewed a pot of trouble when it introduced a non-native species in Hawaii's premium bean district.
KONA coffee farmers probably would not have been in such a big huff if the Ironman triathlon had merely chosen another brew as its official cup o' joe.
But when the event's official decided to introduce a Guatemala bean on their home turf, that was too much.
After all, Kona's claim to fame, besides generic tourism, is its premium, world-class coffee, grown no more than a few miles up in the hills from where the race is staged. And after all, Kona has welcomed the contest when other communities have shined on it.
As the Star-Bulletin's "The Buzz" columnist Erika Engle reported, the Guatemala incident poured on insult to possible economic injury and the industry representatives weren't about to let that quietly percolate. They steamed forward like milk in a latte and let the event's organizers know of their discontent.
To their credit, the organizers owned up to their miscue, apologized and pulled the non-native species off retailer shelves and coffee shop menus.
Appeased, industry representatives say, like their coffee, there is no steeping bitterness, noting that the triathlon did the right thing even though it likely cost the organization money.
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