The Story Behind Popoki + Tea

Mara and Liberty
Mara and Liberty

Popoki and Tea’s founder and owner, Liberty Peralta, grew up around all kinds of animals on O‘ahu’s rural Wai‘anae Coast…except cats. “My dad despised cats,” she says.

So for a long time, Liberty didn’t know a lot about cats because she was never around them. Then, she participated in a volunteer project at a local shelter, where she held a cat for the first time. “I realized then and there that every negative thing I had assumed about cats was wrong,” Liberty says.

Liberty learned how cool cats are—and how many of them on O‘ahu need help finding loving homes. She opened her home to Mara, her first and current cat buddy. And her dad? He has two cats of his own.

Through Popoki and Tea, Liberty hopes to transform more lives: human and feline.

With origins in Asia, cat cafes in the U.S. are a vehicle for socialization and adoption for rescue cats—and a new type of hangout spot for the community.

So far, Popoki and Tea’s monthly pop-ups have helped more than 60 rescue kittens and cats find loving homes. With a permanent location underway in Kaimuki, Popoki and Tea hopes to find even more loving homes for more cats.

Liberty has over 10 years of experience in marketing and media in Hawai‘i, and is a proud graduate of Wai‘anae High School, Hawai‘i Pacific University and YWCA O‘ahu’s Launch My Business program.

More: Why Hawai‘i needs cat cafes