Social Encore: Impressed Juice opens downtown
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
School is out and you can certainly feel the summer heat creeping in. That means the beaches will be soon be filled with people in boardshorts and bikinis. If you are looking for an extra boost to help get you beach-body ready this summer, consider juicing as part of your diet regimen.
One way to do so is by visiting downtown Honolulu’s Impressed Juice at the Mercury Bar on Chaplain Lane.
Impressed Juice co-owners Kale Furuya and Taleson Larrow started the cold-pressed juice business several months ago in hopes of helping others get healthy. Furuya comes from a family of sommeliers — his dad is Honolulu Star-Advertiser wine columnist Chuck Furuya — and was exposed to the farm-to-table concept at a very early age.
When he started college, Furuya decided to learn about botany tropical plant and soil sciences. Wanting an experience outside of the classroom, he started to look into traveling around the world to work on different farms.
After watching Bill Maher on HBO as he interviewed “Juno” star Elle Page, he was intrigued to learn about an eco-village in Oregon. Inspired by Page’s story, Furuya signed up to work at the same village. Soon after his arrival, he discovered the eco-villagers believed in following vegan and vegetarian diets. They were also into juicing.
“The first three weeks, it was sort of heavy to get used to,” said Furuya. “But the great thing about it was that I felt amazing.”
As he continued with his travels, Furuya noticed juicing was getting a lot more popular. He thought it would be a perfect fit to create a businesses that worked with local farms and capitalized on his knowledge of juicing. Furuya shared his idea with Larrow, who previously discovered the benefits of juicing as well.
“My grandfather had leukemia, and he and my grandma decided to take a holistic approach when it came to treatment,” said Larrow. “They used Gerson therapy and were juicing and ate healthier, and because of that he lived a lot longer.”
Impressed Juice Hawaii uses a two-ton hydraulic cold-press juicer. Furuya and Larrow said the juicer uses a slow process that extracts nutrients from the fiber of the fruit, which allows the juice to retain nutrients and enzymes of the fruit since the process does not involve heat or oxidation.
“It’s not just a juice, its like a liquid vitamin,” said Larrow. “When you drink it, it absorbs right into your blood stream and right into your body.”
Coming from a family with accrued palates, Furuya said he remembers as a child going to farms and wine tasting opportunities with his parents.
“I remember when my dad would bring me to the farms and ask me, ‘What do you taste?’ As time went on, I started to build my taste and palate.”
When he first started to create the initial blends, Furuya’s mother encouraged him to treat his blends as if he were tasting wine and create tasting notes. Juicing each vegetable and fruit individually, Furuya would mix the juices and formulate a way to even out the flavors.
“For example, if I were to use pineapple, I would then need to add something like greens and cucumber to mellow out the bitterness,” Furuya said.
Impressed Juice strongly believes in supporting local farmers, and most of the produce the company uses is grown in Hawaii. “From farm, to the bottle, to the people,” is the company’s motto, and they back it up by working with D. Otani Produce, ‘Nalo Farms and Fields of Aloha to purchase their produce.
Impressed Juice also uses mason jars and PET plastic bottles to store and sell their juices. They encourage customers to create less of an impact on the environment and bring back containers to re-use on their next visit. Their Sugarland Cooler (a mixture of watermelon, basil, mint, and lime) is my personal favorite to beat the heat this summer.
The company not only sells juices, but delicious food as well. The Paʻiʻai Bowl is something different and will really make you rethink how to eat taro. The bowl was inspired when Furuya worked on a farm on the Big Island and would eat a bowl of poi and granola for breakfast.
Impressed Juice’s Paʻiʻai bowl uses locally made paʻiʻai and is topped with granola, toasted coconut flakes, honey, pineapple and strawberries. On Fridays, they embrace the Aloha Friday spirit and usually have Hawaiian-inspired bowls like chicken luau stew or dried aku and picked onion with paʻiʻai.
“Taro is low in glycemic index, which gives you a long lasting type of energy,” said Larrow. “It is a great complex carbohydrate and makes you realize why it was such a great staple for Hawaiians and their diet.”
Furuya and Larrow are also working on a complex and comprehensive cleanse that will debut in July, using juices, coconut water and paʻiʻai.
“The cleanse will recommend the person to drink the juices and hydration water,” said Larrow. “Then we would recommend one meal of raw fruits and vegetables a day (and a) half a pound of paʻiʻai. The customer will be able to get (all of that) from us.
“We are here not only selling juice but we want to really educate people about the quality of life people can start to have with these juices. When people start to experience the quality of these juice, it will change their lives.”
Impressed Juice’s various juices are $9 for a 16-ounce plastic bottle ($10 in a mason jar). For more information or to pre-order your juice, visit www.impressedjuice.com.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.