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Expanding on something good

February 3, 2014 - 2:04pm

Kona Coffee & Tea Co. has expanded its operations to the heart of Kailua-Kona.

Malia Bolton, whose family owns and operates the Kona company, recently opened the Kona Coffee & Tea Co. Village Cafe on Palani Road with the hope of bringing the community together. A grand opening for the cafe, which occupies the former Starbucks location in Kona Coast Shopping Center, is slated for Feb. 14.

“We want to bring alive a community gathering place — a spot that the community can make their own,” Bolton told West Hawaii Today recently. “It will also showcase Kona coffee, the roots that created the business and has helped me hone a passion for this place.”

On a recent Friday, the cafe was filled with people young and old either studying, working or just catching-up with one another. The Village Cafe provides a fresh, bright, open layout that still feels comfortable and cozy while being just feet away from the hustle and bustle of Kailua-Kona traffic. It also features Wi-Fi for those seeking connectivity over a cup of Kona coffee or Mamake tea.

Among the offerings currently available are hot and iced Kona coffee and local teas, smoothies and shakes, as well as pastries made by a chef in Ocean View. That’s in addition to the various locally crafted products such as postcards, Hawaii Balsamics vinegars, Volcano Island Honey honey, Luscious Hawaiian Gourmet Products jelly and lilikoi butter, and Big Island Bee Co. Honua Honey sticks.

In the coming weeks, Bolton said, she plans to introduce evening food and wine/beer pairings she called “quality bites” that would start after 6 p.m. She plans to work with local breweries for beers but will likely pursue wine from out-of-state wineries that are single-estate and family owned.

Bolton’s family began planting coffee in 1996 with 20 acres on Hualalai’s flanks. After two years, the family added an additional 20 acres. In 2003, Kona Coffee & Tea Co. entered its brew into the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, earning first place.

That winter, the family opened its first Kona Coffee & Tea Co. location near the Queen Kaahumanu Highway Tesoro gas station. The 2,000-square-foot location, where the Boltons roast all of their coffee, will remain open and continue to serve as the Kona Coffee & Tea Co. Harbor Cafe.

Today, Bolton said, the family operates two coffee farms on Hualalai. That includes 130 acres at Waiono Meadows and 8.5 acres, which is organic, at Malia Ohana.

In the summer of 2012, Bolton said she heard Starbucks was moving and began contacting the shopping center’s managers. By February 2013, Bolton said she had the keys and began renovations and upgrades that included expanding the outdoor lanai by 11 feet, as well as adding windows to brighten up the store. She soft-opened the shop Jan. 7.

The Kona Coffee & Tea Co. Village Cafe, located at 74-5588 Palani Road, is open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. For more information, call 327-6577.

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