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Discussions > Regional > US West > Coffee on Oahu  
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parity
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parity
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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:19am
Subject: Coffee on Oahu
 

I'll be in Honolulu for a week in June and wanted to check out any coffee farms, roasters and cafes. Does anyone have any recommendations. I have been to the Big Island a couple of times and have done a few tours of coffee farms and roasters. Also got to roast some coffee. So if anyone has any recommendations of where to go while on Oahu, please let me know. Thanks!
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frank828
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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

i had a rough time with this during my time on Oahu.  i didnt find anything worth seeking out.  :\

i remember reading about a coffee farm somewhere near the north shore, though.  i think this was it http://www.islandxhawaii.com/
some basic reviews here Click Here (www.yelp.com)
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MSH
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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:19pm
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

On our last trip to Honolulu over Christmas we stayed with my sister-in-law in the Manoa area of Honolulu. I did some research and came across Morning Glass Coffee that just happened to be in the Manoa area and less than 3 mins away from my sister-in-laws place. What a find! I went there every morning for the three days we were there. They brew up in Clevers mainly with Stumptown beans but they do some roasting on premises and when I was there they had some Rusty's Ka'u http://rustyshawaiian.com/   roasted up. Really good cup..incredibly sweet. Unfortunately, they ran out after my first morning there. If you can make the trek up to Manoa I would highly recommend.
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aaronotb
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Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 1:16am
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

Aloha!  I live here in Oahu, close to downtown.  Sadly, and quite surprisingly, Hawaii isn't a great place for coffee.  Everyone knows we grow coffee, and we actually grow it on a number of the major islands (Hawaii, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu...).  What is less known is that like most coffee growing regions, we're terrified of coffee borer beetles, and put up a lot of barriers to importing green beans from elsewhere.  Sadly, the CBB has invaded the Big Island (ie Hawaii, home to Kona), which means that we can't even import green beans from Hawaii to Oahu.  Ie all of the Kona you drink on Oahu has been roasted elsewhere (typically the Big Island).  Same with most of the other beans you find at the coffee shops, they've been roasted elsewhere (or, if they came in green from far away, they were treated with gas and placed in quarantine).

Morning Glass is pretty good, they pull a nice shot of Hairbender, and yes use CCDs (though they underextract to my taste).  I don't believe they roast any of their beans, I think they import roasted Stumptown in bulk.  Nice place, nice people, good eats and cool setting.  I would really really recommend you try Beach Bum Cafe which only serves Hawaiian coffee (and milk) http://beachbumcafe.com/ .  I don't think they roast, but Dennis, the owner, has amazing relationships with farms and roasters throughout the islands, and gets coffees you just can't find anywhere else.  All sorts of interesting beans from Rusty's and other boutique farms.  Ask him what special beans he might have hiding under the counter (I tried a salt rub processed Big Island there once...)  He only does pour-overs and espresso, a real rarity here.  A two minute walk from Beach Bum is Downtown Roasters, which does roast their own.  In fact they have their Diedrich out in proud display.  They don't do pour-overs (unless they've changed recently), and their fare is a bit more standard, but good.  Kailua (home to some amazing beaches such as Lanikai) has a couple coffee shops with decent reputations, but I haven't been.  Check you Yelp, it is a good starting point.  Wherever you go, be prepared for high prices; Hawaiian coffees are really expensive.

There are coffee farms here in Oahu, on the North Shore I believe.  Waialua is the main coffee growing region - and located close to Haleiwa and some great beaches.  If you have more than a couple days, it is worthwhile taking a trip up to the North Shore to see a different side of Oahu, the turtles, and if in the wintertime, the huge waves.  Why not check out one of the coffee farms too?  Can't vouch for the coffee though, it is pretty low grown.  They sell lots of it (fresh roasted too) at the local Whole Foods (they also tend to sell lots of low grown Maui Kanaapali coffee too).  Haven't been to any of the farms so if you do go, please post and let us know how your trip went!
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MSH
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Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 7:15am
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

aaronotb Said:

..Morning Glass is pretty good, they pull a nice shot of Hairbender, and yes use CCDs (though they underextract to my taste).  I don't believe they roast any of their beans, I think they import roasted Stumptown in bulk.  Nice place, nice people, good eats and cool setting.....

Posted April 14, 2012 link

If they don't roast that must be a recent change. I spoke to the owner (Eric I believe his name was) and the barista (looked like could have been Eric's son..not sure though) when I was there as I was disappointed that they ran out of the Rusty's after the first day I was there. They indicated they were waiting for more greens to roast, which unfortunately did not arrive prior to our departure. It really was the best cup I had when I was there. The cups they made with the Stumptown beans were good, but the cup of Rusty's was off the charts good.
Will have to Beach Bum next time we are there. Thanks for the tip.
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parity
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parity
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Location: Mountain View, CA
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Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 6:51pm
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

Thanks everyone for the tips. In my search I also found Honolulu Coffee, whose Pete Licata was 2nd at the WBC and 1st at USBC. Anyone been to any of their locations? I'll have plenty of time on my hands so I'll probably go to more then one if their any good. Mahalo! :)
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doctor_coffee
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doctor_coffee
Joined: 6 Jul 2002
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Location: Honolulu
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Posted Mon Apr 23, 2012, 9:00am
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

Aloha Everyone,

Yup, you've got most of the basic cafes named.  Here's some more clarity on them: Morning Glass serves 1 Hawaiian coffee daily and a variety of offerings from Stumptown.  They have a sister cafe called R&D which is just as good.  Beach Bum is the most third wave cafe we have and it is worth a visit.  Near that is Downtown Coffee, they are solid but more traditional.  Honolulu Coffee Company has several locations.  The bulk brew or press pots are usually safe.  Espresso based drinks depend, as you'd imagine, all too much on the barista.  There isn't always consistency.  By June, a new cafe in Waikiki called Gorilla may be open.  If they are, they'll be worth drinking at, too.

There is one commercial farm on Oahu as of now.  It is on the North Shore, in Waialua.  Island X, as mentioned above, is on the doorstep of the mill but is a separate entity.  It is a great store and you can get to see some of the mill, depending on who is around.  

If you're on Oahu and are a coffee professional, let me know.  There's a group of us that meet monthly to cup and geek out.  All coffee industry folk are welcome.

Enjoy your time on the island!
Shawn
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parity
Senior Member
parity
Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 317
Location: Mountain View, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky, La Pavoni...
Roaster: CO/SC
Posted Fri Jun 22, 2012, 1:58pm
Subject: Re: Coffee on Oahu
 

Had a great time on Oahu. My favorite cafes were Beach Bum & Morning Glass. I also got to try Gorilla in the Cafe, which just opened. However their coffee wasn't up to my standards and wouldn't recommend it. What I got was on the level of Starbucks so I was rather disappointed.
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