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Revel roasts for Kawa; Kokomo knows authentic shave ice

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Revel in the roast

Joe Renck's Revel Roasting ( coffee roastery is nearing its second year in business. Currently available online and at Kawa Coffee (2427 N. Union Blvd.,, Renck's beans hail from California-based importers Royal and he roasts them on a Sonofresco roaster, in two-pound batches.

"In the Springs, I probably have the smallest batch size," he says, "so that gives me a little bit more [flexibility] as far as being able to provide a custom roasting style." He's the sole proprietor of Revel — every batch, he roasts himself.

Renck fell in love with the service industry during a 2.5-year stint as a server at The Mona Lisa. He tried his hand at real estate, but found it wasn't to his liking, so he went to work for Kawa Coffee, where he still works. He calls roasting the perfect combination of his love for the service industry and for coffee. During his four years at Kawa, he says he learned as much as he could about the process, until he felt confident enough to start his own outfit in January 2015.

At the moment, Renck has yet to make any direct-to-farm connections or go all Fair Trade, but he says he hopes to shift over as Revel grows.

Snow in Hawaii

After being open for just over a year, Kokomo Sno Shave Ice ( just took home bronze in this year's Best Dessert category. But Liz and Ryan Hocking didn't start their shave ice truck looking to win awards. When the couple and their six kids opened up shop late last summer, they were just looking for a taste of home. Though both are from Colorado, they have family in Texas and Utah, places where Hawaiian-style shave ice is a summer standard: not to be confused with hard-and-crunchy snow cones.

"The main thing is shaving the ice from a solid block of ice," says Liz. "That's how you get the soft snow consistency."

Before they opened, the Hockings had zero foodservice experience. "I've been a stay at home mom, and this was something very new and outside of our comfort zone," says Liz. To do the concept justice, they did extensive research on the treat and the business, reaching out to companies in Hawaii for information. Liz says that everything from the ice to the flavor syrups to the add-ons is Hawaiian authentic.

"We tried a bunch of flavors and brands and making our own before we opened officially, and we decided to ultimately go with a couple of companies from Hawaii," says Liz. "They seem to taste the strongest and the best." As for toppings and add-ons, Liz always suggests customers get the snow-cap: a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk on top.

The truck can be found most days at Cottonwood Creek Park, with hours, closures and special events announced on Facebook.

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