Where can you have President Obama's favorite coffee, Iron Chef Sakai's panini, and even learn how to roast and grind your own custom blend of coffee beans? At Pavaraga
on Bonita Road in the South Bay located in the same strip mall as the original TJ Oyster Bar and Thai House 2! Opened just a few weeks ago, this particular coffee brand is making a name for itself here in San Diego. Hand picked and hand crafted in Hawai'i, Pavaraga has an exclusive contract with Hawaiian Airlines to bring their products here!
The cafe has the aloha spirit right when you enter. You'll hear relaxing music playing and it is sort of like a coffee museum, with coffee roasters, filters and pictures of the history of the Pavaraga farm and brand throughout the cafe.
Pavaraga coffee can run you from a couple of dollars for a package to a couple of hundred dollars for their diamond collection shown here. Favorites of Prime Ministers, Premiers and celebrities are sold here.
Owner Leo Pavaraga Javar, is an expert in his family's business that has been yielding high quality coffee for almost a century. The word "barista" does not do him justice. Their products
not only include coffee and teas, but soaps, lotions, cosmetics and more.
A large framed picture of donkeys adorns one wall to inform customers of the family's recognition of the hard labor these animals provided in order to grow the farm to the empire it is today. I love that this place knows its roots. All the hubbub
surrounding this coffee and the family's involvement with charity and community is impressive too.
Watch this to see why I call it "sophisticated coffee".
I've never had coffee that came from that kind of contraption before! That's pretty sophisticated to me! I had the pleasure of doing a "Tour of Hawai'i" coffee tasting with my San Diego Filipino blogger friends recently. Leo took the time to explain each coffee and was really careful with the amounts of the "shots" he gave us so that non-coffee drinkers like me wouldn't go into caffeinated shock, hahaha. The first one we tasted was Halakea, a cold drip brew from the island of Kona region of the Big Island. Leo mentioned it takes a day of "dripping" in order to get a fair amount to serve to customers. The second one we tasted was Ka'Ele coffee fro the Ka'u region of the Big Island. The third one we tasted was from Kahiko, from the island of Oahu, where the President is from, thus his favorite. Next we had coffee from the Big Island and the last one was from a wild tree grown in Hawai'i. The tastes ranged from light to rich, most were bitter, some tasted like char from a grill. I liken coffee to beer, you develop a taste for it. Unfortunately, my palate doesn't take too kindly to straight black coffee. Leo gave us water in between shots to cleanse our taste buds. Others in the group who are coffee aficionados really liked the different flavors a lot! You can see the difference in color and even thickness in these two pictures.
Now the next round of tastings were more my style! We sipped a White Chocolate Ka'u brew, a Chocolate Haupia Frappe (which is non-dairy and gluten free), and tasted the Iron Chef Sakai turkey panini! I would order any of these on my next visit in a heartbeat! Really yummy! The pictures show the drinks in clear plastic cups, but know these are not the actual size of the servings. We merely had samples and the real servings come in much prettier cups!
Pavaraga also serves tea, ahh so refreshing in this hot weather we've been having lately! We had the liliko'i (passionfruit) iced tea, and Chinese white oolong Iron Goddess of Mercy
tea. Both were really good! To end our tasting, Leo served us Kona cookies and mini baklavas that came all the way from Dubai. This little cafe in Bonita took us on a tour of Hawai'i and internationally as well!
|Photo collage by Melanie Sunico|
Speaking of "experiences" Pavaraga offers a "Create your own Hawaiian Coffee" experience where you select, grind, roast and package your own coffee included with a tasting. In addition, there is a "Art of Latte" experience that includes five tastings and a lesson on how to make really cool latte designs including a souvenir mug. If I remember correctly, these were about an hour long and were $15 per person. $15! What an affordable, unique way to learn about coffee and have a fun time with your significant other and friends!
Pavaraga is a true farm to table product - clean, ecofriendly, pure, organic coffee. You can taste the family legacy and pride in their drinks, directly from Hawai'i, but right here in Bonita! Go see what the coffee buzz is all about!
Pictured here are my sister Melanie, me, Leo and Javier, our friendly server for the day!
Pavaraga hosted the San Diego Filipino Blogger Network for a complimentary tasting. All opinions are my own.
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