“Approximately 2.7 million pounds of Kona coffee is harvested each year, compared to 20 billion pounds of green coffee—approximately 0.01% of worldwide coffee production,” says the complaint for this class action. Yes, Kona coffee is special and in limited supply. The complaint claims that the Magnum Exotics label “Kona Blend Coffee” does not contain enough real Kona coffee to merit the name.
Two classes have been proposed for this action. The Nationwide Class is all persons in all states who bought any of the Magnum Exotics Kona Blend Coffee products with actionable representations during the statutes of limitations. The New York Class is all persons in the state of New York who bought any of the Magnum Exotics Kona Blend Coffee products with actionable representations during the statutes of limitations.
Real Kona coffee is grown in the Kona District on the Big Island of Hawaii. The particular taste of Kona coffee comes from the area’s humidity and rainfall, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and its volcanic soil and elevation.
Magnum Exotics Kona Blend Coffee is made by L&K Coffee Co., LLC. The complaint quotes the label and the company’s website, which stress the inclusion of Kona coffee in the product with these representations:
The imagery for the product is tropical beaches, hummingbirds and toucans, and hibiscus flowers. The complaint claims that all of these representations lead “a reasonable consumer” to expect that the product contains a “non-insignificant amount” of Kona coffee. However, the complaint claims, this is false.
How is this demonstrated? The complaint says, “Kona coffee can be distinguished by elemental and isotopic analysis, which tests for the concentration ratios of various chemical elements identified as markers for authenticity.” The ratios are those between strontium and zinc, barium and nickel, cobalt and zinc, and manganese and nickel.
The complaint publishes two scatter plot graphs. The first shows the concentration ratios of strontium to zinc and barium to nickel, in both authentic Kona samples and Magnum Exotics Kona Blend. The second show the concentration ratios of cobalt to zinc and manganese to nickel, also in both authentic Kona samples and Magnum Exotics Kona Blend.
Both of these scatter plot graphs show a strong concentration of blue dots for the Kona samples and red diamonds for the Magnum Exotics products that are well outside of that concentration.
Thus, for example, the complaint says that “[a]uthentic Kona has an average of less than forty time as much manganese as nickel while the [Magnum Exotics] Products’ samples range as high as one hundred forty-five times as much manganese as nickel…”
The complaint claims negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and violations of state consumer protection laws, among other things.