Cameron and Caleb Satterfield know a thing or two about coffee.
The 29-year-old twins started roasting their own beans several years ago in their apartment in Beijing, China. They moved to the country after graduating from Kauai High School and found the coffee scene to be lacking, so they took matters into their own hands. Thus, the idea of Aloha Roastery, which has locations in Koloa and Lihue, was originally born.
Their inaugural coffee shop started in China, where they moved to help a pastor and ended up staying longer, working as teachers. They simultaneously learned how to roast coffee beans by combing through online resources, reading books and learning from baristas.
“Everything is really transparent right now. If you want to learn something you can,” Cameron Satterfield said.
They launched their business and sold wholesale coffee beans out of a warehouse before opening a full-service cafe. When they decided to return home to Kauai, they sold their business in China and set up the island’s first Aloha Roastery cafe in Koloa about two years ago.
The Lihue shop, which opened in April and is located off Hardy Street, across Kuhio Highway from McDonald’s, offers an assortment of coffee, espresso shots and lattes.
They also have freshly roasted beans for sale, as well as bakery items made by Cameron Satterfield’s wife, Sibyl, who each morning prepares croissants, cruffins, blueberry muffins and all kinds of goodies that pair perfectly with coffee.
The signature trait that continues to set the business apart is that the Satterfields roast their own beans in each of the shops. The beans arrive green, straight from the farm, so the Satterfields like to call what they offer “farm to cup.”
“A lot of coffee shops you don’t even know what you’re drinking,” said Cameron Satterfield, adding that after beans are roasted, it takes about two weeks before they start to lose their flavorful freshness.
Aloha Roastery also only uses specialty-grade, top-notch coffee that’s always “single-origin,” meaning there is no cross-contamination of farms.
The beans are harvested from different parts of the world, including Central and South America, and Sumatra. They arrive in shipments of about 300 pounds every two months, and are regularly roasted in small batches. After they’re roasted, the beans develop a unique taste, which differs depending on where they’re plucked, and can have hints of various nutty flavors as well as chocolate.
The new Lihue digs has many of the same characteristics as the original Koloa site. Minimalistic décor with soft, wood tones, plenty of white space, cozy spots to sit, and a streamlined menu are among the features.
One notable quality that the Satterfields said is different about their Lihue shop is that it attracts more residents — about 90 percent of their customers are kama‘aina, many hoofing it from businesses and offices nearby.
“Everyone’s been really receptive to it,” Caleb Satterfield said.
The brothers, who are both known to work up to 12 hours a day, agreed that while starting a business on Kauai is not for the faint of heart, putting in the time to ensure that a quality product is created is a formula for success.
“The first year is the hardest,” Caleb Satterfield said.
But it’s clear that this duo worked through the kinks of that inaugural year and have since established a following, as customers have been regularly streaming into both locations throughout the day.
“Other places rely on syrup,” said Ryan Valhuerdi, a friend and employee of the Satterfields. “Just their coffee alone tastes good.”
Aloha Roastery in Lihue is open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Aloha Roastery on Koloa Road is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Coco Zickos, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.