The Evolution of Kailua Town Coffee Roasters

Kailua Town Coffee Roasters was started by Brad and Donna Sultzer in 2010. Through his love for a great cup of coffee, Brad began his hobby of roasting with a 5lb roasting machine in his garage.

As the smell of freshly roasted coffee drifted through the neighborhood, friends started to stop by and ask if there was any coffee to spare. With the interest from friends and neighbors came the idea of creating a business. The beginning goal was simple: to create a cup of coffee that didn’t need creamers, sweeteners, or additional flavors to be enjoyable and delicious.

By the end of the first year, they had developed three custom coffee blends that are still the backbone of Kailua Town Coffee Roasters today:  dripespresso, and cold brew.  

Demand grew enough that the 5lb roaster could not keep up. In came the 25lb San Franciscan Roaster, known for its high-quality components and artisan-quality roasting results. With the upgrade in equipment, an upgrade in space became a necessity. 

Brad and Donna teamed up with a friend and owner of Morning Brew Cafe to install the roasting machine inside their Kailua location. Over the next 10 years, Brad and Donna worked hard to build the Kailua Town Coffee Roasters brand. They had pallets of various green coffee beans in 100-150 lb burlap bags delivered to their house, which they blended to fill 25lb bags to bring to their roaster.  They drove to Morning Brew at 3 am two to three times a week to begin a 12-batch roast. The process took 3-4 hours and produced 250 lbs of roasted coffee.  Then, they took the roasted beans back home to pack, seal, and prep for delivery. 

During these years, they continued adding more roasting options, doubling their product line. In late 2019, Brad decided to move the business and roaster into the Aikahi Shopping Center to eliminate some of the logistical concerns and move all operations under one roof. However, after a decade of business, in 2020, Brad and Donna were ready to retire, and one of the loyal neighborhood customers decided to buy the business—Patrick Williams.

When the pandemic caused a lockdown in 2020, Patrick, whose work experience had centered around planes and the military, took full advantage and immersed himself in learning all he could about the business, the clients, and the coffee. To aid in his learning, he also hired the passionate and talented Glenn Tunaley to be his head roaster. Glenn had already known Brad and Donna from his years as a barista at Morning Brew. He had always been interested in the roasting process and had built a relationship with Brad and Donna, helping them with anything he could.

The Inner Workings of the 25 lb San Franciscan Roaster

Patrick kept true to the original business premise that everyone should be able to enjoy a high-quality cup of coffee at an affordable price.

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Since the islands have opened back up and business has continued to grow, Patrick was able to purchase a second SF25 Roasting Machine and expand the product line of blends with Glenn’s superior roasting skills. Patrick has even collaborated with Manoa Chocolate Company to add chocolate-covered coffee beans to his repertoire. 

Kailua Town Coffee Roasters is pleased to offer coffee from Kauai, Big Island, Maui, and Oahu and hand-selected beans from various countries worldwide. Patrick is passionate about contributing to the Hawaiian community and integrating the culture and nature of the islands where he can. Thus far, Kailua Town Coffee Roasters has teamed up with the Boy Scouts for holiday fundraising, PlanIt Branding for a beach clean up, Big Wave Babes to provide coffee for their retreats, burlap bag donations to local farms for sustainable weed control, and has plans for more environmental collaborations in the near future.