The Story of Aharon - a Timeline
1966 Aharon Vaknin is born (Tel Aviv, Israel) to recent immigrants from Casablanca, Morocco, who have moved to Israel for a better life. His parents are chefs and restauranteurs, thus guaranteeing Aharon will grow up in the world of hospitality, food and beverage.
1974 Aharon makes his first Turkish coffee (or in this case, “Moroccan coffee”) all by himself at age 8, for his Casablanca-born uncle who arrived unannounced before any other adults were available to make the coffee. By all reports, this first cup of coffee ever crafted by Aharon was a smashing success.
1985 Serving in the Israeli army, Aharon drinks gallons of “coffee” with milk each day – that is, instant coffee so over-roasted that by today’s standards it possibly would not hold up in a Specialty Coffee Association of America court, if such a thing existed.
1990 Aharon travels regularly to Paris to buy clothes that he brings back to Israel to sell. In France, he experiences the transcendent joy of sipping espresso at Parisian cafes.
1994 Rollerblading throughout his new hometown of New York City, hair so long it reaches the small of his back, Aharon grabs coffee throughout the city and one day has an epiphany: drip coffee should only be enjoyed BLACK. No more milk! Around this same time, Aharon, who had always dabbled in spirituality, made what would be a completely life-altering decision to commit 100% to a spiritual lifestyle and path. Coincidence? You decide.
2002 Aharon decides to give up the beach and Cubano coffee he had adopted for the past 3 years in Miami, FL, in order to move west and marry BatSheva, who after visiting Miami only one time in the high heat of August, makes the decision for both of them that Los Angeles will be their home.
2003-2011 Married with one, two, then three children, Aharon gives up soy lattes (his non-dairy equivalent of comfort food) for more cost-effective home brewing systems. His love for brewing black coffee – drip, Turkish, and now espresso too - is solidly rekindled. BatSheva drinks decaf breve lattes throughout, allowing Aharon to go on this home coffee brewing journey alone while she sticks with her creamy sweet dessert replacement “coffees.”
2012 Aharon begins to buy fresh locally roasted beans only. His coffee still doesn’t taste as delicious as he knows it could taste, so he invests two solid months of research and a little over $200 into buying his first ever burr grinder. The results are better… but still not the transcendent cup of coffee of his imagination.
2013 Two months of grinder research blossoms into a daily online investigation of coffee, coffee roasting, and its origin. He tells BatSheva “I want to roast my own coffee” – and not long after this statement, he is off to Boquete, Panama, to learn coffee roasting embedded with the farmers. When Aharon convinces BatSheva to try a black cup of coffee from the first Colombia batch he ever roasts by himself, she is so thoroughly blown away that she forever gives up bad coffee from that day forward. She soon gives birth to their fourth child. Coincidence? You decide.
2014 March: Lease on 9467 Charleville Blvd. in Beverly Hills, CA is signed. Aharon’s background in construction comes in handy – he needs to convert a dark, concrete, sloped space with no gas into a bright, beautiful, elegant and inviting coffee roastery and coffee bar – a coffee oasis reminiscent of his Parisian café days. Parallel to the build out, Aharon and BatSheva brainstorm and work with friends to create the logo and signage … but only after agreeing on the NAME (Aharon Coffee) which they hit upon only after choosing and buying the URL for over 50 other options.
2014 September: Aharon Coffee & Roasting Co. opens to the public! On the menu? COFFEE. Plus Matcha – Aharon had met and been impressed by a group of Japanese scientists representing the Japanese farm that harvests and processes some of the highest grade organic ceremonial Matcha green tea in the world. Plus a few baked goods from a bakery in Santa Monica. Not on the menu? Tea options and food options. Back then, it was coffee or bust.
2015 A full tea menu is introduced, along with some other fun drinks like the Slap! (named after a TV show that Michael Nouri, a regular customer at the time, was acting in, and later re-named Piccolo Latte after the Australian drink of the same espresso: milk proportion) and the Beso de la Habana.
2017 The wall goes DOWN (inside Aharon Coffee). Now the roastery is an integral part of the café space. A tiny kitchen is erected in the back and the Aharon Food Program is born – mostly vegan, largely gluten free, 100% delicious. Around this time, Aharon has altogether stopped trimming his beard, opting to grow it as long as it will go. And the café becomes more popular than ever. Coincidence? You decide.
2018 Tables and chairs are relegated to the outside space, wooden counters hand-crafted by Aharon are erected at all the windows (is there ANYTHING this man will not hand-craft?) and Aharon oversees increased production of salads, baked goods and coffee, including organic, biodynamic Geisha coffee and Ethiopia Dry Natural dubbed “The Sticky” by its most ardent fan.
2019 Five Years of Aharon! Celebrations, expansion of the Food program, and the birth of the Aharon Tea program, featuring organic fair trade loose leaf teas like Jasmine Green, Egyptian Chamomile, English Breakfast, Blood Orange and the exquisite Kakegawa, Japan Spring Picking Green Tea.
2020 January: Aharon passes the 22 grueling tests required to award him with the Q Grader Coffee Certification – the highest rank a coffee professional can achieve. “Certified Q graders have almost mythical status in the specialty coffee industry,” writes theperfectdailygrind.com.
2020 March: Coronavirus pandemic strikes the US, hitting people and small businesses hard. Aharon Coffee is considered an essential business and the café stays open with shorter hours and a lean staff. Aharon uses his extra time to focus on reaching out to his local and online customers, entreating them to continue their support of his coffee roasting and family business.
2020 The orders (and love) begin to pour in, locally and nationally, and even internationally, allowing Aharon Coffee to continue to share the Joy of Coffee with more and more people who appreciate delicious coffee. Sunset Magazine asks Aharon and BatSheva to contribute a weekly series to their food & lifestyle section, sharing the Joy of Coffee with their readers.
2021 As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our community and neighborhood, we choose to devote our time and attention to the things that matter most to us: family, coffee, customers, and partnerships that make a difference, with the Coffee for Peace project helping Colombian farmers make a peaceful transition from previously violent zones to farming quality coffee with sustainable practices.