UPDATED OCT 28, 2019
Whether you want a simple cup to go or want to experience the whole process from tree to cup, Oahu has plenty to offer when it comes to coffee. Here's your guide to the island's best caffeine stops:
Kai Coffee Hawai‘i's three area locations are known for locally-roasted and brewed coffee that is 100% Hawai‘ian. If you’re extra particular about your brewing methods (and want a barista with an expert level of expertise), look no further. Emphasizing quality, Kai offers pour over, Aeropress, French press, and 12-hour cold brew, while all of their baristas must pass a three-week training course just to make them. Plus, you can find the renowned Kona Peaberry beans here, as well as the comparable Ka’u coffee beans. Fitt Tip: If you’re not a coffee drinker, their house iced tea is one of the best in Waikiki.
Honolulu Coffee Company cafes have popped up all over the state, from Maui to Big Island to Oahu, they’ve even extended to locations in Japan. Check out their Honolulu Coffee Experience Center on Kalakaua Ave. in Honolulu for a Hawai‘i coffee educational experience; you can even watch them freshly grind the beans! You can expect the usual 100% Kona coffees at any of their shops, as well as others from all over the world. Whatever brew you order, though, make sure you pair it with their peanut butter energy bites — they are gluten-free, full of protein, and absolutely delicious.
The Kona Coffee Purveyors cafe at the International Marketplace features pastries made in-house by San Francisco’s b. Patisserie (we dare you to name a better combination). Their high-elevation coffee plants from the Big Island are handpicked and graded by the Department of Agriculture for quality, so you know their up to snuff. The cafe also has Kona blends if you’re into something lighter, but the real aficionados go here for the pure Kona like the Reserve, Peabody, and Extra Fancy.
Located in the majestic Manoa Valley, Morning Glass truly has something for everyone. They offer a daily selection of Hawai‘ian brews, Vietnamese-style iced coffee, matcha lattes, and everything in between. The cafe is pretty small, so consider yourself very lucky if you show up and get a table right away. If you do end up adding your name on the waitlist, just know that their hand-crafted cappuccinos and signature Oatmeal Brûlée with fresh fruit are worth the wait!
Island Vintage claims a dedication to showcasing Hawai‘i’s best ingredients, and they don’t disappoint! Everything, from the beans in their coffee to the cacao nibs in their acai bowls, is 100% Hawai‘ian-cultivated. They have four different cafe locations on Oahu and two delicious shave ice spots as well. When you stop by, don't forget to pick up one of their coffee collection samplers to bring back home, it features up to five different selections of pure Kona coffee with fun flavors like vanilla mac nut and pineapple.
This place began with a wooden coffee shack on Oahu’s North Shore back in 2016, and now, they operate a second, very popular cafe on one of the island’s busiest streets in Waikiki. The Sunrise Shack is mostly known for their bullet coffee, an organic coffee blended with healthy fats like coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Die-hard fans claim that bullet coffee provides a more steady stream of energy that gradually declines rather than a quick high and crash. Their best-selling Classic Bullet is a blend of organic coffee, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, MCT oil, and Madagascar vanilla and is a great go-to if you're not sure what to order.
Right off the Kamehameha Highway in Wahiawa, lies a coffee-lover’s paradise. Green World Farms consists of seven acres of land and contains over 3,000 Arabica coffee trees. They even buy beans from other local farms throughout the state and roast them there on the farm. While you enjoy your delicious cup of coffee, take a self-guided stroll through their coffee garden or their retail section. The best part about this experience? Free samples!
A neighborhood favorite, The Curb in Kaimuki started out by selling coffee from a food truck at the University of Hawai‘i campus. Although their home cafe is pretty small, it’s the perfect spot to stop by on your way to work or an adventure, especially considering their well-known nitro cold brew. And, trust us — what this place lacks in size it makes up in friendly vibes, knowledgeable baristas, and great coffee! Fitt Tip: If you bring your own cup, you get 60 cents off your drink.
It doesn’t get more convenient, location-wise, than Brue Bar in Downtown Honolulu. There are two locations, one on Merchant Street and the other on the equally as busy Bishop Street. Although they mostly feature mainland coffee, they only source the good stuff. The atmosphere certainly isn’t bad, either — they have some cool artwork on the walls and free Wi-Fi for customers. And if your office is downtown, you’re especially in luck: they offer coffee deliveries for 10 or more people, which is perfect for business meetings.
A combination of classic cafe, nightlife destination, and bar? Sounds too good to be true. The Manifest in Chinatown morphs from morning espresso bar (with locally-sourced beans from an nearby farm) to a cocktail lounge specializing in whiskey in the evenings. Come 10pm on the weekends, it’s a full-on club with DJs and dancing. The spot even curates art shows for area artists throughout the year. But don’t worry — the caffeine doesn’t stop just because the music starts. They continue to serve espresso up until 2am.
See what all the “flat white” fuss is about at ARVO, an Aussie-inspired cafe in Kaka‘ako. Here, you’d be hard-pressed to find an item on their menu that isn’t completely Instagram-worthy, especially their avocado toast and lavender latte. The cafe is situated within the hub of Honolulu’s up-and-coming art district, so swing by for a brew, then take a walk around the area to search for murals painted by local artists.
Hawaiian Gourmet Coffee Roasters has been around since 1987, and their North Shore shop, Coffee Gallery, is the best place to sample some of their small-batch, hand-roasted coffee. 100% Waialua Estate beans (from right down the road in Waialua) and Maui Kaanapali beans are the must-haves, but they have an extensive menu of non-caffeinated drinks to choose from as well. You’ll find a bunch of unique and healthy food options here, too, like a vegan quinoa salad and gluten-free vegetarian pineapple chili.
Come for the coffee, stay for the house-made ice cream sandwiches. At least that’s what fans of ChadLou’s Coffee Roasters do every weekend on Oahu’s Eastside. It was a hidden gem for years but has recently upped its numbers along with the area’s growing popularity. The ambiance here is super cozy and chill, which is perfect for a lazy day in the beachy town. Perhaps the best part? The surrounding Kailua town is home to the popular Pillbox Hike and some of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in the world. Fitt Tip: They also have a coffee bar on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus.
A charming setup in the Surfjack Hotel, this clothing boutique and coffee counter is a great place to stop by for a quick caffeine boost if you're heading to Fort DeRussy Beach Park or Waikiki Beach for a day in the sunshine. Whether you're in the mood for an iced coffee or a latte, you can expect super friendly (and knowledgable) staff and a welcoming atmosphere. Plus, whatever you order, it'll likely be served up in one of their tropical coffee cups decorated with pineapples, plants, and fun sayings like "You had me at aloha."
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