A Local’s Guide to Coffee Shops to Savor
Nestled adjacent to the shimmering blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by lush green landscapes, Honolulu is a city that offers not only stunning natural beauty but also a thriving coffee culture. While the Hawaiian Islands are famous for their coffee production, the capital city, Honolulu, boasts a vibrant coffee scene with many shops catering to all tastes and preferences. In this article, we’ll journey through the best coffee shops in Honolulu, each offering its unique blend of coffee, atmosphere, and local charm.
1. Morning Glass Coffee + Café
2955 E Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822
Located in the charming neighborhood of Manoa, Morning Glass Coffee + Café is a hidden gem adored by locals. This café is known for its exceptional coffee, particularly its pour-over and cold brew options. The beans are sourced from local farms, ensuring freshness and supporting the Hawaiian coffee industry.
The cozy ambiance and friendly staff make Morning Glass a perfect spot to start your day. The menu features delectable pastries and breakfast options, making it a favorite among early risers and students from the nearby University of Hawaii at Manoa.
2. The Curb Kaimuki
3408 Waialae Ave Suite 103, Honolulu, HI 96816
Situated in the eclectic neighborhood of Kaimuki, The Curb is a small but bustling coffee shop with a big heart for quality coffee. They live to serve single-origin beans roasted by local roasters, creating a solid connection to the Hawaiian coffee community.
The Curb offers an inviting, rustic atmosphere with outdoor seating that captures the essence of island living. The baristas take their craft seriously, and you can savor a wide range of espresso-based drinks, including the popular lavender latte.
3. Kai Coffee Hawaii
Kai Coffee Hawaii at Hyatt Regency Waikiki: 2424 Kalākaua Ave #129, Honolulu, HI 96815
Kai Coffee Hawaii at Alohilani Resort: 2490 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Kai Coffee Hawaii Roastery: 525 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Kai Coffee Hawaii Waikiki Shopping Plaza: 2250 Kalākaua Ave K4, Honolulu, HI 96815
Kai Coffee Hawaii is a must-visit if you’re strolling through Waikiki, and craving a delightful coffee experience. Not near Waikiki? Kai Coffee Hawaii can be found in five different locations, ensuring the visitor will be within arms reach of a cafe. A local, family-owned roastery that combines the spirit of Hawaii with exceptional coffee. Their beans are sourced from local farms and carefully roasted to perfection.
The Waikiki’s café’s Hawaiian-inspired décor, complete with wooden furniture and tropical plants, transports you to an island paradise. Don’t miss their signature “Kai Latte,” a velvety espresso infused with macadamia nut and coconut flavors.
4. The Surfing Pig
3605 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Although primarily known for its delectable brunch and dinner offerings, The Surfing Pig boasts an impressive coffee program. Located in Kaimuki, this restaurant embraces the farm-to-table concept, sourcing coffee from local farms.
The Surfing Pig’s coffee menu includes classic espresso-based drinks, but their real gem is the Hawaiian Honey Latte, which incorporates locally sourced honey. Enjoy your coffee in a laid-back, cozy atmosphere that reflects the aloha spirit.
5. Island Vintage Coffee
1450 Ala Moana Blvd #1128, Honolulu, HI 96814
Located in the Royal Hawaiian Center in the heart of Waikiki, Island Vintage Coffee offers an exceptional coffee experience with a Hawaiian twist. They source their beans from local farms, ensuring the freshest cup of coffee possible.
In addition to excellent coffee, Island Vintage Coffee boasts a menu of mouthwatering acai bowls and gourmet toasts. Their outdoor seating area provides a great vantage point for people-watching in bustling Waikiki.
6. ARS Café
3116 Monsarrat Avenue, Honolulu HI 96815
Nestled in the eclectic neighborhood of Diamond Head, ARS Café is a charming, family-owned coffee shop that has gained a dedicated following over the years. This café is known for its friendly staff and carefully curated coffee menu.
ARS Café roasts its beans in-house, guaranteeing a fresh and rich coffee experience. While sipping your coffee, take in the local artwork adorning the walls, giving the place a distinct character.
7. Morning Brew
685 Auahi St #113 Honolulu, HI 96813
For those exploring the bustling area of Kaka’ako, Morning Brew is a local favorite known for its top-notch coffee and welcoming atmosphere. This café prides itself on its commitment to quality and sustainability, sourcing beans from local roasters who share their values.
Morning Brew offers a selection of pastries and sandwiches to complement your coffee. The outdoor seating area is a tranquil spot to unwind while enjoying your beverage.
8. The Kona Coffee Purveyors
2330 Kalakaua Ave #160, Honolulu, HI 96815
If you’re keen to explore the coffee world beyond Honolulu, visiting The Kona Coffee Purveyors at the International Market Place is a delightful excursion. This café specializes in Kona coffee, one of Hawaii’s most renowned coffee varieties.
Kona Coffee Purveyors offers an elegant and upscale ambiance, making it an excellent choice for a coffee date or a relaxing solo indulgence. Their coffee flights allow you to sample different Kona coffee varieties, highlighting the rich flavors of this unique region.
12. Green World Coffee Farm
71-101 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Looking to take a drive? While Green World Coffee Farm is not located in Honolulu, it’s a worthy destination for coffee enthusiasts. Situated on the North Shore of Oahu, this coffee farm offers an immersive experience in coffee cultivation and roasting.
Visitors can tour the farm, learn about coffee-making, and sample freshly roasted beans. The farm also has a charming café where you can enjoy their exceptional coffee while taking in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Honolulu’s Unique Coffee Culture
Honolulu’s coffee culture is a blend of tradition and innovation, where local coffee farms meet creative baristas, resulting in an extraordinary coffee experience. Whether you prefer a pour-over’s simplicity or a specialty latte’s complexity, Honolulu’s coffee shops have something to satisfy every coffee lover’s palate.
As you explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods, you’ll discover that each coffee shop has its own personality and unique approach to brewing the perfect cup. From the bustling streets of Waikiki to the relaxed vibe of Kaimuki and the artistic flair of Chinatown, Honolulu’s coffee shops reflect the city’s diversity and rich cultural heritage.
Know the Lingo
Here are a few local tips before you go;
Grind: In Hawaii, a “grind” is a single shot of espresso. It is typically served in a small glass and can be enjoyed independently or added to other drinks, such as lattes and mochas.
Hawaiian Sweet: Hawaiian Sweet is a type of coffee grown in Hawaii known for its sweet and nutty flavor. It is often served with a splash of milk and sugar, but black is also excellent.
Here are some other unique coffee terms that you may encounter in Hawaii:
Liholiho: Liholiho is a Hawaiian word that means “black”. It is used to describe the obvious- a cup of coffee with no sugar or milk.
Kona: Kona coffee is a type of coffee that is grown on the Kona Coast of the Big Island in Hawaii. It is known for its rich and complex flavor.
Ka’u: Ka’u coffee is another type of coffee that is grown in Hawaii. It is known for its smooth and mellow flavor.
Puna: Puna coffee is grown on the Puna Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, known for its bright and fruity flavor.
So, whether you’re a visitor looking to savor the flavors of Hawaii or a local seeking a new coffee adventure, Honolulu’s coffee scene offers a delightful journey for all. From the first sip to the last, you’ll find that each coffee shop has its own story and unique flavors to share.
As you explore the city’s neighborhoods, take your time to engage with the local baristas and fellow coffee enthusiasts. Ask for recommendations, learn about the sourcing of the beans, and embrace the aloha spirit that permeates these coffee havens.
What makes Honolulu’s coffee culture truly special is its connection to the land. Many coffee shops in the area are committed to supporting local coffee farmers, ensuring you enjoy a cup of coffee and a taste of Hawaii’s terroir.
Beyond the coffee itself, these cafes are often community hubs where friendships are forged, business ideas are discussed, and the creative spirit of the islands is nurtured. You’ll find people from all walks of life coming together over a shared love for coffee, making these spots more than just places to grab a caffeine fix.
In addition to the coffee, remember to explore the culinary delights accompanying your brew. Many of these cafes serve locally inspired dishes, pastries, and snacks that perfectly complement the coffee. You’re in for a culinary treat alongside your coffee, from macadamia nut-infused treats to savory island-inspired sandwiches.
Finally, Hawaii’s climate and beautiful scenery make it ideal for coffee outdoors. Many of these cafes offer outdoor seating, allowing you to sip your coffee while basking in the Hawaiian sun or enjoying the refreshing trade winds.
In conclusion, Honolulu’s coffee culture is a testament to the spirit of aloha that defines the city. It’s not just about coffee; it’s about the people, the stories, and the traditions that come together to create a coffee experience like no other. So, whether you’re a passionate coffee lover or simply looking for a delightful way to start your day, Honolulu’s coffee shops are ready to welcome you with open arms and a cup of exceptional coffee.
As you embark on your coffee adventure in Honolulu, remember to take your time, savor every sip, and embrace the unique flavors and experiences each coffee shop offers. Aloha and happy caffeinating!
Mahalo (Thank you) for joining us on this caffeinated journey through the best coffee shops in Honolulu. We hope this guide adds a touch of aloha to your coffee explorations in the capital of Hawaii. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Honolulu’s coffee culture is a vibrant and delicious part of the island’s identity. So, the next time you find yourself on Oahu, make sure to carve out some time to discover these coffee gems and enjoy a taste of paradise in a cup. Aloha!
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