We had the good fortune of connecting with Madeleine Longoria Garcia & Brittany Horn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Madeleine & Brittany, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Community. Before starting Pacific Coffee Research in 2017, we spent several years working, living, and being involved with the local community of Kailua-Kona in various ways. We got to know the local coffee industry in our town, around Hawaiʻi Island, and across other islands. We spent time meeting folks and building relationships with those who have been here much longer than we have. As newcomers to Hawaiʻi Island, it was our responsibility to get to know the people here and give them the time to get to know us. It’s because of that time and energy, that we were able to hit the ground running when building this business. Support from the community is why we’ve been able to get this far and why we even started Pacific Coffee Research – we want to contribute and act as a resource of information and professional services. Our community and the relationships we have are the reason we’ve been able to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. Now, that community extends far beyond Hawai’i and to a massive network and support system across the United States and even in other countries. It’s been so exciting and rewarding to have folks cheering us on from our own backyards and thousands of miles away. All of that is because we believe in the importance and power of building community.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Pacific Coffee Research is a women-owned & operated coffee company on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. At the core of our values and mission is the sharing of knowledge & information with our broader community in hopes of building a stronger and more resilient industry. Knowledge builds equity and creates opportunity, which is why we built a business around sharing knowledge & why we engage in continuous learning. When we started PCR in August 2017, our goal was to offer a full range of support services that engage the coffee community from seed to cup; from post-harvest quality consulting with producers to roasting workshops, barista training, and sensory courses. Our goal has always been to provide valuable education and information to coffee producers, processors, roasters, buyers, consumers, and visitors to build a thriving Hawaiʻi coffee industry.
We are Hawaiʻi’s only active Specialty Coffee Association Premier Training Campus and Hawaiʻi Island’s only Coffee Quality Institute cupping lab. With these accolades, we offer Coffee Skills Program certification courses, custom workshops and corporate training events. We offer a unique insight into the Hawaiʻi coffee industry for visitors to the Hawaiian islands through coffee tasting workshops, coffee farm tours, and agricultural education. Additionally, we work with local cafes and restaurants to serve high-quality coffee in their outlets through our comprehensive wholesale program which includes skills training, equipment maintenance, and access to special lots of locally roasted coffee.
We got here with the support of our community – as stated earlier, community has been one of the most important things in the establishment and continued success of Pacific Coffee Research. While we’ve hit a few bumps in the road, we’ve always had the support of so many folks along the way, which makes it easier and more reassuring that we’re on the right path.
I think one of the most important lessons we’ve learned is to take time away from business work. It can be really difficult to step away from work when it’s something you’ve created and something that heavily relies on your energy input, but it’s necessary to step away from those tasks to recharge and attack projects with renewed energy at a later time. We seek a healthy work-life balance and encourage everyone on our team to take time away when needed, to focus on their well-being, and prioritize peace of mind through healthy habits. This job should not be life-consuming and we, as business owners, remind ourselves of that, too.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As residents of Hawaiʻi Island, we’ve hosted our fair share of guests – from friends to relatives to professional connections! A week-long visit to this island would include a long day trip to Volcanoes National Park for hiking and late-night lava views (only if there is lava in the crater or a lava flow nearby!) and possibly camping overnight in the park. We’d also take them to South Point for some cliff jumping and a hike to Papakōlea Beach, with a stop at a nearby shoreline to do a quick beach clean-up where plastics from all around the world accumulate. We would spend time in Kailua-Kona town, eating local poke, sushi, and jumping in the water at La’aloa Beach. One of our favorite snorkel spots is Honaunau and we’d definitely spend a day there to check out the turtles, dolphins, and tons of fish that inhabit the area! One of my favorite parts of the island is the Hāmākua coast drive from Waimea to Hilo – with lots of delicious spots to eat in Hilo, including delicious mochi at Two Ladies Kitchen and fresh filling meals at The Booch Bar. On the drive back to Kona from Hilo, we’d stop at Mauna Kea for spectacular sunset views and some evening stargazing (it’s one of the best places in the world to stargaze). We’d drink local coffee everyday, either brewed at home before a day of adventures or on a stop at one of our favorite shops around Kona: HiCO Coffee, Green Flash, Pink Mocha.
One of the great things about this island is that there are countless things to do and places to see – even after living here for 7 years, we haven’t seen it all 🙂 At the same time, there is so much to appreciate in simply sitting and taking in all the beauty that surrounds us everyday. From the singing birds and chirping frogs that fill our airspace to the wild pheasants and turkeys that roam our neighborhood roads and the banana plants and avocado trees that feed us for free; there is a lot to appreciate here in our everyday lives.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our third business partner, Werner Thie, deserves a huge shout out. Without him, none of this would have been possible. Without his guidance, we would have stumbled many times. Without Werner and Beatrice Thie’s generosity, we wouldn’t be in the amazing space where we’re currently HQ’d. A huge thank you and shout out to them.
Ashley Teshima, Lauren Thormodsgard, Alla Kostenko