Hawaiian coffee is legendary. The islands boast all the best conditions for growing coffee beans: remarkable volcanic soil, high elevation, and tropical temperatures.
Between these conditions and the opportunity for fresh roasting onsite, it should come as no surprise that the islands are home to some of the world’s most remarkable coffee shops.
You could visit multiple coffee shops a day and still fall short of seeing Hawaii’s finest — but if you need a few top candidates, you’ll be impressed by these favorites:
Top 5 Coffee Shops
Imua Coffee Roasters
If you demand exceptional quality in your coffee, look no further than the experts at Imua. Monitoring batches closely to ensure optimal flavors, these roasters perfect every detail to create the best possible cup of coffee. What’s more, Imua is an eco-conscious roaster that strives for minimal environmental impact. The shop itself is cozy, with many pastries available to enjoy with your coffee.
Treat all your senses to a magnificent experience at Java Kai, where the artwork is as beautiful as the coffee is delicious. The experts at Java Kai roast their own beans, so freshness can be expected. Try the hand-pour option if you want to “choose your own adventure,” or discover the appeal of the Shark Bite (with raspberry drizzle). Service is always swift, but ordering via ChowNow speeds things up even more when you want to streamline the process.
Small Town Coffee Co.
On the hunt for something a little different from your ‘typical’ coffee shop experience? There’s nothing quite like grabbing your favorite caffeinated beverages from the little red bus known as the Small Town Coffee Co. This Kapaa icon serves delectable fair-trade coffee, which is even more enjoyable alongside fresh pastries.
Seating is limited, but the coffee is so tasty, that you won’t mind if you need to drink it while standing. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive in time for one of the many live music performances that take place at this quaint parking lot location.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters
This small chain is beloved in Southern California but also boasts a lovely location in Hawaii. Dark Horse refers to its exquisite coffee as “legal brown drugs” — a name you’ll better understand after you’ve received a jolt from the coffee shop’s beloved espressos. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the cold brew, which has been a hit since the chain’s early days.
Kombucha, ginger beer, and tea are also available. Caffeinated beverages are ideal, however, as the shop’s well-lit interior and contemporary vibes are well-suited to productive mornings.
Not to be confused with the Sunrise Shack (although this similarly named spot also warrants a visit), Sunrise Coffee brings wonderful beverages to Lihue. This simple, yet charming food truck is surrounded by lush plant life. It’s a bit tucked back from the road, so the outdoor ambiance is excellent.
Taking time to relax is definitely recommended, although this setup is also convenient enough for grab-and-go coffee. Fuel up with a healthy and delicious breakfast; favorites include the avocado toast and acai bowls.
Ko Bakery may be best known for selling gorgeous cakes, but the coffee here is also worth trying. The espresso classics are sure to satisfy, but you’ll definitely want to order from the specialty coffee menu when you’re feeling adventurous. Loose leaf tea is also available when you’re not in the mood for coffee.
Of course, given Ko’s reputation for its exceptional baked goods, you’ll want to grab a scone or cinnamon roll to go with your coffee or tea. The bakery’s interior is decidedly chic, transforming the area’s industrial vibes into something truly stylish.
Ha Coffee Wailua
Owned by a local church and committed to supporting the Lihue community, the beloved Ha Coffee shop serves all your favorites, complete with several types of milk and amazing flavors. Freshly made bagels are also available, as are delicious acai bowls and sandwiches. You’ll love sipping coffee and munching on a snack or light meal, but you’ll be even more excited about the opportunity to make a positive difference with your purchase.
As yet another food truck location, Eden Coffee is a must-visit for coffee lovers who demand exceptional quality in everything they drink. The coffee is decidedly smooth, with flavors and alternative milks available so you can customize your beverage as you see fit.
The chai lattes are definitely worth trying, although you also can’t go wrong with a trendy matcha latte or a triple shot flat white. Smoothies are available when you have a sweet tooth and want to consume your daily fruits (or, with the green smoothie, veggies). Ordering is easy and the lines are short, so this is definitely the place to go when you’re in a rush.
Trilogy Coffee & Tea Bar
Founded by shopping center neighbors who fell in love with each other and gourmet coffee, this Trilogy Coffee & Tea Bar location will give you all the energy you need via its Onyx Coffee Lab espresso selection. The coffees and teas here are sourced from small co-ops and family farms.
You’ll find plenty of treats to keep you happy, even if dietary restrictions typically prevent you from indulging. Organic, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options abound. The scenery is as impressive as the coffee and food, with majestic views of the mountains available from the outdoor seating area.
Kauai Coffee Company
While many of the coffee shops included on this list qualify as hidden gems, there’s something to be said for visiting better-known spots from time to time. The Kauai Coffee Company should be a top candidate when you want not only excellent coffee but also, a fun and educational tourist outing.
During your estate tour, you’ll learn how the best coffee goes from bean to cup. Take a stroll in the shade of the beautiful coffee trees and don’t forget to treat yourself to a cup of freshly-roasted Java.
There’s no shortage of excellent coffee in Hawaii. Choosing comes down not only to the freshness of the beverage but also, whether you desire a classic coffee shop interior or a unique food truck atmosphere. No matter your preferences, you’ll find amazing sources of caffeine during your coffee-fueled Hawaiian adventure.