October 2, 2015
Coffee is serious business in the Aloha State. It could have something to do with the fact that it is the only place on American soil where coffee is grown and harvested. Or it could be the influence of countries like China, Japan and Australia, where coffee culture has been an explosive phenomenon. Regardless, while Hawaiian coffee farming has been growing for over a century, it wasn’t until recently that visitors and residents alike could kick back at a local cafe and sample the finest beans from nearby farms. For those in search of a good strong cup of java, here’s where to get the best local coffee in Honolulu.
With locations in Manoa (near the University of Hawaii) and in Kakaako (inside Fishcake Design Center), Morning Glass Coffee was among the first to feature Hawaiian-grown coffees served unapologetically alongside pastries and breakfast items, also made with locally sourced Hawaiian ingredients. A breakfast sandwich may include Shinsato Farm’s bacon over a Ka Lei egg, and scones are served with fresh Lehua honey from Oahu, all of which are idyllic alongside locally sourced and in-house roasted coffee.
Formerly a pair of Hawaii Island farms and one Oahu cafe location, Honolulu Coffee now has three Honolulu locations as well as 19 stores (and counting) throughout Japan and China, with further expansions planned at the end of this year. In October 2015 they opened the Honolulu Coffee Experience Center in Waikiki, which features a tour through their “Farm-to-Cup” coffee experience. This includes a cupping demonstration (the art of tasting coffee with an expert, akin to wine tasting), and a viewing of the vintage 1930s roaster that was shipped from Israel to roast every Honolulu Coffee bean that ends up in your cup.
Brue Bar is a relative newcomer on the Hawaiian coffee scene, a spin-off business from a local design-print shop. Now with multiple locations, the bar is attracting downtown types who flock here for their expertly made espressos. Originally just serving Verve Coffee (from Santa Cruz, Calif.) the brand has now expanded their menu to consistently feature local Hawaiian single batch and blended coffees. Their ultra-modern Slayer and Alpha Dominche Steampunk espresso machines each attract a savvy coffee drinking crowd that like their coffee from single origins and extracted slowly.
While Chef Morimoto is not exactly famous for his coffee, he did hand select Kona Rainforest Organic Coffee for his Waikiki restaurant (inside The Modern Honolulu Hotel), and even spent a day at the farm making “coffee art” – raking freshly picked beans in patterns as they dried in the sun. But it wasn’t only his patrons who took notice; The President of the United States, Barack Obama, followed suit after a meal there while on holiday and ever since has served Kona Rainforest Organic throughout the White House during dinner affairs.
Connecting you to a wide range of destinations across the United States and Canada, our partnership with Delta makes booking a trip to Honolulu simple. Why not try some of these local coffee bars next time you’re in town.
Written by Brian Berusch