The definition for the expression “dark horse” is someone or something unknown that rises to prominence. Aptly named, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters meets this criterion and then some. The company is based out of San Diego but has a new location in Koloa, Kauai.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is in historic Old Koloa Town and is open seven days a week. The building is a former mission, and the stone facade is a reminder of Kauai’s past. The renovated interior has a vaulted ceiling and an open floor plan. There is plenty of seating with a loft for additional sitting. Hanging from the two-story ceiling is a massive metal fan that keeps the room cool. The baristas’ station is off to the left, which opens up the space even more. Customers give the baristas high praises for their artisanship and their kindness and professionalism.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters sources their coffee from smallholder farms located around the globe. Single-origin blends include beans from Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Brazil, to name a few. Coffee blends include their trademark roast “This Is Our Dark Roast” from Antigua. Visitors describe the flavor as tasting like “dark chocolate-covered almonds” that sips smoothly. For the coffee aficionado, Dark Horse Coffee Roaster offers weekly and monthly subscription packages. You’ll find more information about these deals on their website.
Drinks available at the cafe range from drip coffee to espressos to specialty drinks. Customers described the drip coffee as bold, rich in flavor, and not acidic. The espresso is another favorite because it’s flavorful and not bitter. Even non-coffee drinkers will find something to sip on. Try on-tap kombucha, Aloha ginger beer, hot or iced tea. Be sure to check out the shop’s merchandise. Ball caps, T-shirts, and other memorabilia are available at reasonable prices.
Specialty drinks we found most noteworthy are:
Haupia Cold Brew
Customers describe this beverage as being creamy, flavorful, and not too sweet. The coconut flavor is not overpowering and keeps the drink mellow.
Baristas start with espresso and infuse it with cinnamon, honey, and almond milk. Yes, it’s sweet, but fans of The Champ say it’s not too sweet.
What makes a vanilla latte special? At Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, they make their vanilla syrup. Customers state that the vanilla adds just the right amount of sweetness to the latte without being overpowering.
Dark Horse Coffee Roasters also serves breakfast items like:
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Coconut Carrot Cake
These are baked daily and sell out fast.
The only negative comment we found was from visitors who thought locating the store was tricky. One reason is the sign is on the side of the building that isn’t as visible. But once you get there, we think you’ll agree with the rest of us: this dark horse is a winner!
Who doesn’t love donuts? If you arrive early on the weekends, you can get your share before they run out!