Pairing Kona Coffee with Rum Cakes: A Match Made in Heaven - Part 2

Pairing Suggestions for Small Businesses

Coffee shops have become popular over the last decade, and more consumers are becoming particular in choosing their favorite spots based on certain criterias. Besides the ambiance and accessibility of the place, a lot of their choices depend on the quality and variety of coffee and pastries available for order. Kona Coffee and Hawaiian rum cakes are a great menu to consider adding, considering their unique and flavorful profiles.

But there’s so many various types of rum cakes and roasts of Kona coffee to consider that it can get overwhelming to even begin choosing between all the choices. In order to help, here’s a walkthrough of the different rum cakes, as well as the various grades and roasts available for Kona coffee beans:

Grades and Roasts to Consider

A classic is the Macadamia Nut Rum Cake, made with chopped macadamia nuts and rum. It is highly suggested to use Hawaiian craft rum, since it has a distinctive flavor profile compared to other rums in the market. For a more tropical taste to showcase the Hawaiian spirit, Pineapple Rum Cake is the perfect choice to add to the roster.

Another wonderful choice is Lilikoi Rum Cake, made with Hawaiian passion fruit that’s sure to impart a refreshingly exotic taste bomb inside your mouth. But if this may be too extreme, maybe it's best to consider a Kona coffee infused Rum Cake for a safer option.

When it comes to Kona coffee beans, they are graded based on their qualitative characteristics, just like how meat is. The criteria that differentiate the coffee beans are based on the following: size, shape, moisture content, number of defects. The grades tell a lot about the beans, especially since the processing of these beans are done largely manually and with painstaking care.

The beans are ranked from highest to lowest; Kona Extra Fancy, Kona Fancy, Kona Number 1, Kona Prime, and Kona Peaberry. Afterwards, they are roasted as light, medium, medium dark, and dark. It’s important that light roasts tend to have more acidity and caffeine, and as the bean is roasted further until dark it develops a fuller body with more bitter tones and smoky flavor.

For classic rum cakes, it’s best to pair it with dark roasted Kona coffee. The bitterness from the dark coffee is leveled with the sweetness of the cake, the macadamias further highlighting the nutty undertones of Kona coffee. The characteristically rich and silky texture of dark roast brews, coupled with the softness of the rum cake, creates a luxurious mouthfeel experience.

Medium dark roasts are highly suggested with Pineapple Rum Cake. Since medium dark roasts have more body and are less acidic, it is less likely to clash with the slightly acidic tartness of the pineapple. The medium dark brew also helps in keeping the sweetness at bay, creating and exciting balance.

The Benefits for Small Businesses

While there’s no questioning that Kona coffee and rum cakes create truly harmonious flavor combinations, there are multiple business benefits to consider as well. Let’s have a quick look at some of the benefits that you could reap by pairing Kona coffee with rum cakes!

Increased Sales

Pairing items together — commonly referred to as cross-selling — increases sales in two ways. First of all, it increases the average order value which in turn leads to a higher customer lifetime value (CLV) in the long run.

Secondly, it also boosts sales by attracting more customers to your business. Those who are only interested in rum cake will still check out your Kona coffee if they see the bundle (and vice versa).

As a bonus, you’ll also get more freedom when it comes to pricing. It can be hard to compete on price when you’re only selling a single product but, by pairing two products together, you’re able to dodge most of the competition — therefore avoiding a race to the bottom.

Creating a Unique Selling Point

Combining two complementary products like Kona coffee and rum cakes make your offering feel more unique. This unique selling point or USP helps you stand out from the competition and make your business more memorable in the minds of consumers.

This is especially important for businesses who are trying to operate in competitive markets, open shops in crowded areas, or go up against well-established companies in the space. A strong USP also helps you justify higher prices which ties into the previous benefit.

Positive Customer Reviews and Repeat Business

Leveraging flavor synergies like Kona coffee with rum cakes isn’t just going to boost your bottom line but it’ll also improve customer perception. After all, people are more likely to leave positive reviews on a store that sold them a delicious product combination rather than a single item.

You’re also doubling your odds of receiving positive reviews since customers just have to be impressed by one of the two items. Even if they think the rum cakes were just average, they might still be compelled to leave a review for the excellent coffee (or the other way around).


Whether you go for Macadamia or Lilikoi, there’s no question that pairing rum cakes with your Kona coffee can benefit both your business and its customers. Trying this combination out won’t disappoint you since you’ll likely see a boost in sales, better reviews, and more returning customers!

If you’re not sure where to source your rum cakes from, feel free to check out our catalog of award-winning rum cakes! We even sell a variety pack so you can easily cross-test multiple flavors and see which one has the best synergy with your Kona coffee!