We first met in Kindergarten class at Konawaena Elementary. Both of our parents worked at Konawaena as teachers so naturally we always hung out and played sports together. We never took anything too seriously, especially our homework. Like some families in Kona, our parents were tied into the coffee farming lifestyle. We are considered the fourth generation to grow up in Hawaii around the Kona Coffee industry.
Eventually we graduated and moved away to college and there was one thing we both learned at college, how to have a good time while entertaining friends and family around the grill. Different seasonings and spices were always used. We came back from college and continue to host our college traditions of entertaining around the grill.
But when we moved back, things had changed, a newly invasive Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) was starting to devastate small and big farms alike. This left our family farms with a surplus of unsellable coffee because of the damaged beans that were affected by the CBB. With all the unsellable coffee, we decided to try and find another use for coffee other than drinking. This is the moment when Coffee Met Spice! We decided to take the unused coffee, grind it up and add a variation of spices designed to enhance flavor.
Over time we continually tweaked it and had our family and friends critique it over the years. In time, people became to love the flavors and wanted more of the product for themselves and to give away to friends and family. They were coming to the parties just to enjoy our coffee rubs. But we couldn’t keep up with the demand because of our day jobs and so we created Absolute Aloha!
Once the buzz set in with the product, we sat down and formulated a business plan with a few goals in mind:
1. Have fun with the product.
2. Never forget where we come from.
3. Give back to the farmers that are struggling with the CBB.
4. Use only the best quality 100% Kona Coffee.
If it weren’t for the CBB, coffee would have never met spice and Absolute Aloha would not be here today which is why we feel so strongly about giving back and never forgetting where it all started.
We hope you will join us in our fight against the CBB to help our farms, the farms of our neighbors, and the people of our community. We hope you enjoy our rubs and continue the tradition of cooking to bring friends and family together for good food and good laughs!
-Steven Yamamoto & Keolalani Oka