Hawaii Coffee to service military ships
By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Hawaii Coffee Co., maker of Lion and Royal Kona Coffee, has received a deal initially worth between $50,000 to $70,000 to provide local coffee to military ships visiting the state.
Under the arrangement announced yesterday, Y. Hata & Co. will distribute the coffee to visiting U.S. and allied ships as well as 14 military dining halls in Hawai'i. Hawaii Coffee's Lion 100 percent Molokai Coffee and Royal Kona 100 percent Kona Coffee were selected by the military following a taste test of Hawai'i coffees at Pearl Harbor in January. The company's first order of 14,000 pounds of coffee is expected to ship this week.
"We're just pleased and proud to have won that competition and to have that business," said Jim Wayman, president of Honolulu-based Hawaii Coffee.
Although Hawai'i coffee already is distributed through local military commissaries, yesterday's deal marks the first time Hawai'i-grown coffee will be served in military dining halls and ships in the state, said John Tisue, a marketing and logistics specialist with the Defense Logistics Agency.
The initiative serves two purposes providing service personnel with high-quality coffee and supporting domestic coffee farmers, Tisue said.
"We are in Hawai'i where some of the best coffee is grown," he said. "We would like to support American agriculture and American farmers and Hawai'i whenever we can."
In January, farmers in Hawai'i and Puerto Rico won a $2 million agreement to sell coffee to East Coast military installations. Hawai'i's goal is to eventually sell about 800,000 pounds of coffee or 10 percent of the state's production, to the U.S. government each year, according to Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative.
Reach Sean Hao at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8093.