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Coffee, Controversy, & California

Coffee, Controversy, & California

You may have heard or read in the news lately about a ruling by a California Superior Court judge that may require coffee to come with a warning label. We at Kona Coffee & Tea, find this ruling unfortunate and would like to take this opportunity to offer some clarification and education on this matter.


Back in 1986, California passed a proposition that mandates businesses with 10 or more employees to notify customers if any of their products contain chemicals from a list the state ruled to be cancer-causing. One of these chemicals is acrylamide. There are basically two types of acrylamide: one is a chemical compound and one is a natural occurrence in starchy cooked foods. To be 100% clear (and we’re all about 100% here in Kona) acrylamide in coffee is not an additive but naturally occurs in the browning/roasting process - anytime one browns food, via baking, frying, roasting etc., acrylamide forms naturally. Scientists believe the acrylamide in food is a product of the Maillard reaction. This reaction occurs when sugars and amino acids are heated above 248° F, or 120° C.

Kona Coffee & Tea's roaster PHOTO: Blake Wisz

Kona Coffee & Tea's roaster PHOTO: Blake Wisz


The American Cancer Society website states “There are currently no cancer types for which there is clearly an increased risk related to acrylamide intake.” ₁ One should also note that any link of acrylamide and cancer comes in lab studies where animals received doses “1000-10,000 times higher than the levels people might be exposed to in foods.” ₂ Coffee drinking has not been shown to increase your risk of cancer. In fact, it's linked with a reduced risk of developing some types of cancers. For example, in one study, people who increased their coffee intake by 2 cups per day had a 40% lower risk of liver cancer. ₃ Coffee drinking is also linked to a plethora of other health benefits, such as living longer and a reduced risk of many diseases. ⁴


  • Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of liver disease and liver cancer

  • Coffee can help prevent heart failure and heart disease

  • Coffee has been shown to lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease

  • Coffee has been much sited to help protect against type 2 diabetes


Coffee is high in antioxidants and caffeine. Antioxidants are known to help protect your body against free radical damage. Caffeine is the main ingredient that is believed to help coffee fight off Parkinson’s disease and other brain problems that come with aging.


Nothing beats sitting around with loved ones and enjoying a great, fresh cup of (Kona) coffee. We are not fond of seeing politics induce fear and anxiety where none is needed. Studies have shown that the health benefits of coffee outweigh any risk.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding our coffee, we’re here to assist in any way. If we do not have the answers, we will research and get back to you. We pride ourselves in staying up with the times. We sincerely hope you found this little blurb to be helpful in making an educated decision about what you pour in your cup.

Wishing you all much Aloha.

Mike KCTC Circle.png

CONTRIBUTOR: Mike 'EmJay' Cubbage

HOW I LIKE MY COFFEE:  Medium Roast Black
WHEN I'M NOT WRITING, I LIKE TO:  Swim. I enjoy living near large bodies of water. 

I've been involved in the coffee industry for about 16 years. I've been a barista for many years, then a trainer and consultant. I am big on sharing relevant knowledge that will help coffee lovers have the optimal coffee experience. Working with The Kona Coffee and Tea Company is like a dream come true. I can't say how rewarding it is to work with such a great product from seed to cup. From the very beginning, being part of the team here, I've felt like family and have been treated like family. The spirit of Aloha is strong as is their dedication to community and quality.

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