There’s plenty of reasons to seek out coffee shops in Honolulu — a genuine interest in cafes, a refuge from the tourist hordes, or merely averting the major vacation buzzkill of crippling caffeine withdrawal — though scouring the city for the best Kona coffee is probably not one of them. The high prices commanded by Kona, which are due, in large part, to the small farm sizes and high labor costs, means most of the Hawaiian coffee industry is still operating the way it has for decades, and the quality at many shops reflects this. If you are looking for good coffee — or what has come to constitute “good coffee” since the early aughts — you’ll find it, but mostly at shops serving coffee grown and roasted elsewhere.
That said, if you’re interested in coffee, it’d obviously be silly to come to Hawai‘i — the only U.S. state where coffee grows — and not try the local goods, so this list attempts to balance what someone who travels with their own coffee grinder might consider to be the best shops, objectively, with an eye toward the best possible experience for purveyors specializing in Hawai‘i wares.
Part of the Eater Guide to Hawai‘iRead More