I’m Joan Obra, daughter of Rusty’s Hawaiian founders Rusty and Lorie Obra. Thanks for considering our award-winning coffee and inspiration — because encouraging your big dreams is how we honor my late father.
Years ago, when Rusty was dying, we didn’t know whether to continue our Hawaiian coffee farm, mill and roastery. Dad hadn’t fulfilled his retirement goals: to make some of the world’s best beans in the Ka‘u District, on the southern side of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Mom would have to carry on alone. My brother, Rusty Jr. was in New Jersey and I was in California. We worried about her outlook. Of the two, Dad was far more optimistic. He even welcomed visitors warmly and cracked jokes in the last weeks of his life. Astonished, I asked how he could be so happy. He gave me this parting advice: “Have a positive attitude, be thankful and have faith.”
With his guidance in mind, Mom took a big risk and didn’t just continue Rusty’s Hawaiian. She vowed to realize his vision. Her determination caught the eye of some of the best minds in the specialty-coffee industry. And after lots of advice and experimentation, Rusty’s Hawaiian became known as one of the world’s top coffee producers. You can see our full list of awards by clicking here.
Along the way, my husband Ralph and I joined her in Hawaii. We discovered something far more important than how to make great coffee: We learned to believe in ourselves, push past fear, and find joy in difficult circumstances. In short, we no longer were repeating Rusty’s advice to ourselves. We’d made his words our own.
When you drink our coffee, let it be a powerful, tangible reminder of what’s possible when you believe in yourself. My parents were tea drinkers who had no farming experience, but they moved to Hawaii anyway. And after Dad died, Mom’s perseverance enabled her to make some of the best coffee in the world.
Thanks again for taking the time to inquire about our coffee. We’re happy to meet you and would be delighted to make coffee for you.
With deep gratitude,
Co-Owner, Rusty’s Hawaiian