Kona Coffee & Tea’s Kailua-Kona café just became Blue Zones approved by offering new healthier menu options and being committed to cultivating a place of community. The Blue Zones Project is a community and worldwide well-being improvement initiative to help make healthy choices easier in Hawai`i and communities around the world.
In 2005, Dan Buettner wrote the National Geographic cover story, “The Secrets of a Long Life” where he identified the five regions - Okinawa (Japan), Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Icaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California) – as Blue Zones. He studied the cluster of villages with the longest life spans and wrote a book called The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Blue Zones is a project that is helping communities make healthy choices, and help people live longer with a higher quality of life.
Some of our new menu items, developed by Cherie Griffore, include papaya yogurt and house granola, a veggie sandwich, and avocado toast. PHOTOS: Chance Ortiz
Here on Hawai`i Island, our community has adopted this project and we are well on our way to living longer, more healthy lives. With the leadership of LeeAnn Heely and Kirstin Kahaloa, our community has signed up many restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and worksites to follow the Blue Zones pledge.
When we upgraded our new Kona Coffee & Tea menu we wanted to give our customers many healthy options, so we followed the Blue Zones guidelines. We kept the ingredients nice and simple using clean choices to add Himalayan salt, healthy fats, and natural sweeteners. We use Sharwil avocados and apple bananas from our farm just a few miles away, so our customers are getting the freshest, most nutritious produce that was just picked. We also only serve single-estate 100% Kona coffee grown, milled and roasted just a few miles away.
One of the Blue Zones Project (BZP) Guidelines is Wine after 5 so, you can relax and unwind. We serve wines by the glass, and our local brewery Ola Brew’s IPA and White Pineapple Cider. We also offer 15% off all drinks during our Happy Hour which is daily from 3 to 6.
Blue Zones Project promotes “the Power of 9…the nine secrets of longevity”:
Move naturally - do things that make you move constantly
Purpose - knowing your purpose could add 7 years to your life
Downshift - take a few moments each day to relax
80% rule - stop eating when you’re 80% full
Plant slant - more veggies, more life!
Wine @ 5 - moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers
Belong - belonging to a faith-based community can add 4-14 years more life expectancy
Loved ones first - put your family first: parents, grandparents, life partner
Right tribe - the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.
At Kona Coffee & Tea, we also offer different workshops to promote community engagement, reduce stress, and learn new skill sets.
Mahalo to everyone who came out to celebrate the Blue Zones approval of our café. PHOTOS: Blue Zones Project
We also strive to promote healthy choices and habits for our customers and our `aina at Kona Coffee & Tea. Our used coffee grounds go back to our farm to be disbursed as a natural fertilizer. We donate our avocado seeds to Waiho’olu’u Ola, a local company that uses them to dye clothes without any harsh chemicals. We are also developing recipes that will use our coffee cherry pulp and papaya seeds.
We’re grateful for the recognition and excited about our new partnership with this international organization. We continue to strive for healthy, sustainable choices in all areas of our operation and happy to make changes that benefit our community and our island.
CONTRIBUTOR: Cherie "Chun Li" Griffore
HOW I LIKE MY COFFEE: Iced Macadamia Nut Milk Mocha (it’s like a chocolate covered macnut)
FAVORITE WINES AT THE CAFE: The Alianca Vinho Verde and the Concannon Cabernet are my favorites to enjoy on the lanai at sunset.
I was so fortunate to be born and raised in Hawai’i, growing up adventuring riding bikes and playing in the rain, I’ve always been close to nature and had a fearless can-do attitude. Always smiling and willing to help - I have strong ties to our community, our culture, and our environment. Being the Events Manager at Kona Coffee & Tea has given me a place to do workshops for our community, especially our children. Getting to work for a locally-owned and operated business, plus partnering up with other local businesses and non-profits to connect our community is amazing. I love it a latte!