• Cindi Villard

Hawaii: Talk Java to Me

Coffee and a Dream by rawpixel via Pixabay

As I sit here enjoying a nice cup of Kauai coffee, reflecting on what a year 2018 has been, I catch myself visioning about the dreams our family has of traveling the world, especially the unfathomable Hawaiian islands.

If you have a travel vision of the gorgeous Hawaiian islands, I invite you to grab a cup of java with me, sit back and imagine with all your senses as we hop from each of the main islands uncovering some of the very best coffee to ever land on your tongue. If you are lucky enough to be on your way to Hawaii, enjoy the coffee map, if you will, to lead you to your next Hawaiian adventure much quicker. Cheers!

Hawaii is an absolutely incredible place full of adventure and unbelievable beauty. There is an island or two (or eight) for every adventurer's soul, an island that will leave you captivated and wanting to come back year after year to this great geological wonder.

On every island there is something that we can all agree on before or after a great big adventure. Some of the very best coffee in the entire world is grown right here in this perfect volcanic soil.

Hop with us to each island to see some of the top coffee shops to visit while on your vacation to the islands of Hawaii. Less time spent hunting for great coffee means more time adventuring and exploring!

Oahu Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens photo by wild_away via unsplash

Oahu’s best coffee

We are starting our java adventure off in Oahu, the heart of the state of Hawaii. The capital of Honolulu is a great gateway into the islands, especially if you are doing some island hopping. In downtown Honolulu, you'll find some of the friendliest service and best coffee for miles at Downtown Coffee. In the Kaka'ako neighborhood, Arvo Cafe is a hip new coffee shop with lite fares and opens a little later than most coffee shops, but worth a stop for an afternoon pick me up!

Before relaxing on the luxurious Waikiki beach, a favorite of locals and tourists alike is Kona Coffee Purveyors in the International Marketplace. Known for artisan coffee, baked goods and wine in the afternoon, this coffee roaster keeps the buzz going late in Waikiki until 10 PM.

Planning on hiking the World famous Diamond Head as your daily adventure? Make sure to make a stop at the base of the mountain at Ars Cafe, home to an unreal art gallery, with food that is so good you may be reaching out to your travel consultant to plan your next trip. They serve high quality coffee from all over the world and also serve Gelato to cap your meal, or to chill out after your hike.

Hawaii-Honolulu/ Waikiki Aerial visual with Diamond Head Mountain by Skeeze via Pixabay

After spending some time in Waikiki or Honolulu head over to Kailua for some of the best beaches in Oahu. ChadLous Coffee Roasters has some unique and quality coffee, as well as a diverse menu of breakfast, lunch and delightful deserts.

From Kailua head north on Highway 83 for an incredibly scenic drive to check out the big waves and experience the laid back island vibes of the Northern Coast. Enjoy the nice homey cafe and art exhibits as you enjoy your fresh baked Hawaiian treat, such as a chocolate spice morning bun, or mango macadamia bread at this small batch coffee roaster the Coffee Gallery.

Oahu Coffee Highlights

  • Arvo - Kaka’ako neighborhood, Honolulu

  • Downtown Coffee - Honolulu

  • Kona Coffee Purveyors - Waikiki

  • Ars Café - Diamond Head neighborhood

  • ChadLou’s Coffee Roasters - Kailua

  • Coffee Gallery - Haleiwa, North Shore

Na Pali coast, Kauai, Hawaii view from sea sunset cruise tour by Maridav via Shutterstock

Kaua’i’s best Coffee

Assuming your base is around the Lihue area of Kauai so you can adventure to every part of the island, we start our Garden Isle Java Adventure in the capital and it's well known food trucks. Seriously, I know what you're thinking, Food Trucks Cindi, really? YES! If you want to find some of the very best without having to try all the different options, few will compete with Rainbeau Jo's or Sunrise Coffee. Grab a coffee, smoothie, bagel or locally sourced treat on your way to your Hawaiian adventure.

Staying on the south shore or on your way to Poipu Beach or Waimea Canyon? Kauai Coffee Company has over 4-million trees that you can take a self-guided tour through to see the process from growing to roasting the beans. Oh and did I mention free samples? Thanks to an awesome Summit to Sand adventurer I am drinking my very last cup of this delicious reserve coffee as you read this. It seriously may be worth a plane ticket.

Hawaii- Kauai Coffee Company via Jessica Taylor

Do your adventures take you towards Waimea Canyon for the day? Stop at the Kauai Coffee Company or at the Little Fish Coffee shop on your way in to the canyon for some of the best sites you'll see on the island.

Let's shift gears and head towards the Northern Coast, or if you happen to be staying at the Posh resorts in Princeville, I've got a coffee game plan for you as well my friend. Before or after you check out the lighthouse in Kilauea, or Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, be sure to give the Kilauea Bakery & Pizza a try. Serving baked goods, smoothies and espressos in the AM and pizza in a covered courtyard by night, this place will fuel you for every adventure, or adventure recovery. If you are anywhere near Princeville and craving ice cream and coffee, do not miss Lappert's Hawaii Ice cream shop.

If you are headed to the Na Pali coast to take in the unfathomable views of the famous western cliffs of Kauai from the North, or maybe hiking the Kalalau trail, make a short stop at Hanalei Bread Company. As your last stop before you head to the Na Pali coast, stock up on snacks and coffee for the major calories you'll be burning no matter what adventure you choose.

Kauai Coffee Highlights

  • Rainbeau Jo's - Lihue "Cruzin coffee slingers"

  • Sunrise Coffee - Lihue

  • Kaua’I Coffee Company – South Shores

  • Little Fish Coffee – Waimea Canyon

  • Kilauea Bakery & Pizza - Kilauea

  • Lappert's Hawaii – Princeville

  • Hanalei Coffee Roasters – North Shores

Maui- Nua’ailua Bay off The Road to Hana by The World Traveller

Maui’s best Coffee

Our Maui coffee adventure begins in the city of Kahului, which is a great base for your Maui adventures, especially if you are planning on a journey along the Road to Hana! Start your day at Maui Coffee Roasters for a colorful pop of art, yummy baked goods, and caffeine to wake you up for your island adventures.

Also in Kahului is the nostalgic Wailuke Coffee Company serving a full breakfast and lunch menu, while you enjoy some of the best coffee in the area in a old time gas station brought back to life!

The Road to Hana is one of the highlights of any of the Hawaiian Islands so let's not make you wait any longer to get going. Add some buzz and pizzazz to your adventure at Paia Bay Coffee and Bar, one of the first stops and an amazing view point you do not want to miss. If you are headed back from Hana, or don't have time to make the whole drive, Paia Bay has an awesome happy hour with live performances.

Half way along the Road to Hana fulfill your appetite with a wood fired pizza and the absolute best nitro coffee in Maui at Hana Harvest. I could not recommend staying a night in Hana any more! This allows you to take your time and check out the view points, experiences, and places that tug at your heart chains, letting your caffeinated spirit lead you along your journey.

MauiGrown coffee showcases Kaanapali Coffee Farms shown here, mixing Real Estate with Coffee growing. By EQRoy via Shutterstock

On the western coast of Maui in Lahaina you'll find incredible history as well as some of the best coffee on the island at MauiGrown, mostly grown at Kaanapali Coffee Farms. They also serve other Hawaiian island grown coffees as well as some tasty treats. Headed north from Lahaina is the highly rated Island Press Coffee in Kaanapali, a great stop for local coffee and homemade baked goods to take to Black Rock beach.

Priding themselves as some of the best Kona and Maui grown coffee drinks, fresh baked goods and customer service around, The Coffee Store in Napili is an excellent choice for a gourmet cup of Java if you are in the area North of LaHaina and Kaanapali.

Maui Coffee Highlights

  • Maui Coffee Roasters - Kahului

  • Wailuku Coffee Company - Kahului

  • Paia Bay Coffee and Bar- start of your Road to Hana adventure.

  • Hana Harvest - Hana road side restaurant

  • Mauigrown Coffee Company - Lahaina

  • Island Press Coffee - Kaanapali

  • The Coffee Store in Napili - Napili

Hawaii Big Island- Helicopter Kilauea Volcano by Benny Mary via Shutterstock

The Big Islands best Coffee

A vacation to The Big Island is nothing short of an adventure, and not much starts an adventure better than a cup of coffee, especially Kona coffee from the source! Kona means the leeward or dry side of the Big Island, but in Hawaii dry means the perfect amount of precipitation for the coffee plantations.

The best place to start this Big Island undertaking is a tour of the Kona Coffee Plantations. There are around 650 farms that lie between the two volcanoes Mauna Loa and Hualalai, where you can explore the coffee making process seed to cup. Opt for multiple free plantation tours or take a self-guided tour along the 20-mile stretch of scenic byway bustling with so much Java flow, that you may be flying over the Volcanoes without a helicopter.

Get your kick of history as well as caffeine at the only living history farm in the US the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, open Monday through Friday, 10 AM - 2 PM.

Fresh Hawaiian coffee beans from the garden by Love Silhouette via Shutterstock

Another popular farm to cup coffee tour is at the oldest certified organic Kona coffee farm, Rooster Farms. Do not expect fancy facilities, but you can definitely expect an experience where you feel next of kin to some of the best coffee farmers in our country! Tours at Rooster Farms are daily by appointment only from 9 AM - 4 PM.

Speaking of history mixed with our coffee, another Hawaiian standard for amazing plantation tours and excellent coffee is Greenwell Farms. Offering plenty of samples and tons of seed to package knowledge is a go to for many in South Kona. Not ten minutes further north is Heavenly Hawaiiawn Kona Coffee Farms, another crowd pleasing free tour.

If Mother Nature's creation of new earth is your adventure of the day and you are headed towards Volcanoes National Park to marvel at the spectacle, coming from the Leeward side of the island, make sure to grab your pre adventure java at The Ka'u Coffee Mill. With 3 free tours a day taking visitors back in time to the sugar plantation era and then stepping into the grow process, but this time being able to really taste the difference the Big Island's different soils affect the taste of your cup of coffee.

Hawaii-Big Island Mauna Kea Observatory By Wikimedia

From Hilo headed towards the Ka'u District chock-full of adventures, pop in for some award winning coffee at Big Island Coffee Roasters offering one of the widest ranges of Hawaiian and world renowned coffee. Feel free to fall madly in love with their selection and opt for their monthly subscription to enjoy their selections from the comfort of your own home to later reminisce about your trip.

Staying in Hilo for your stay on the Big Island? Moonstruck Patisserie and Just Cruising Cafe both offer great selections of quick bite foods, delicious coffee and treats to get you onto your adventure, or your day of relaxing on the beach. If you are planning on making the Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Road drive Hilo Coffee Mill is a great last pit stop of a hot cup of java before your step back into history.

Big Island Coffee Highlights

  • Kona Coffee Plantation tours - there are more than 650 coffee farms on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa fertile mountain sides.

  • Kona Coffee Living History Farm - Captain Cook

  • Rooster Farms - Captain Cook

  • Greenwell Farms Coffee Plantation - Kealakekua

  • Heavenly Hawaiian Kona - Holualoa

  • The Kau Coffee Mill - Pahala, a must before any adventure in the Ka'u district

  • Big Island Coffee Roasters - Mountain View, between Hilo and Volcano NP

  • Moonstruck Patisserie - Hilo

  • Just Cruising Cafe - Hilo

  • Hilo Coffee Mill - On the eastern side in Hilo, be sure to stop here before you jump on the Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Road.

World coffee lovers unite! Time for some aloha in your cup!

Coffee connoisseurs travel from all over the world to experience the exceptional quality of coffee in Hawaii. It is so much more than just a great taste, and you don't have to be a professional coffee connoisseur to enjoy some of the best coffee on the planet.

Just can't get enough Hawaii? Check out Summit to Sand's Oahu, Kauai, Maui and Big Island blogs today, jammed packed with adventure!

Remember for the very best value for your time and money, think of Summit to Sand to help curate your next vacation itinerary.

In love of coffee & travel,

Cindi Villard

Independent Travel Consultant

Founder | Summit to Sand

"I want my toes in the sand and a coffee in my hand." - Kona Coffee Company

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