The Best Coffee Shops In Waikiki


Waikiki Coffee Shops

Your passion for espresso, coffee, and all of the various blended, latte goodness that coffee shops and bars around the world bring, did not bring you to this blog by accident. 

Whether traveling to another city, state or country for work or leisure, espresso seekers like me are always on the hunt for the local coffee shop.  If the last ten to twenty searches on your cell phone’s google search list shows a few“coffee shops in ‘whatever the name of the city you were in at the moment’; then you are in the right spot.

What are the best coffee shops in Waikiki?

  • Gorilla in the Café
  • Kona Coffee Purveyors
  • Honolulu Coffee

You have just checked into one of Waikiki’s high-rise hotels on the shore. You have one question. “What are the best coffee shops in Waikiki Honolulu, Hawaii?” The top 3 choices on this list are Gorilla in the Café, Kona Coffee Purveyors, and Honolulu Coffee.  Each has its own unique style, flavor, and purpose that will suit any traveler’s needs.

There are a great selection of coffee shop choices in Waikiki and the surrounding areas, but if you need helping in narrowing down your selection to a few top choices, you have come to the right place.  I have prepared a list of a few cool and unique coffee bars to try during your present or next stay in the beautiful Waikiki area.

Three Unique and Flavorful Coffee Shops in Waikiki

You probably will not get in and out of Waikiki without hearing about this first spot:

Gorilla in the Café

This location opened in 2012and is located in the Bank of Hawaii Building. Its sister restaurant, Gorilla in the Kitchen is located in Seoul and known to serve healthy lighter menu selections. The café sources its beans from local producers and serves homegrown 100% Hawaiian coffee from the island’s top producers.

Waikiki Late

Gorilla in the Café offers your typical espresso drink selections, including but not limited to, pour-over coffee, blended drinks, lattes, and designed packaged coffees.  If you want to pair your beverage with a tasty bite to eat, try one of their sandwiches, pastries, or popular acai bowls that are loaded with granola and honey and other delish additions.  This café also has some colorful and tasty looking non-espresso fruit smoothies that you may want to try if you are in the mood a fruit-based treat.

To find out more about this spot, you can visit their Facebook page where they post updates and promote some of their cute merchandise; such as their brightly colored red, blue, yellow, and white water bottles.

The next option is a classy flagship café that serves as a 2-in-1 daytime café and coffee shop and evening wine bar specializing in artisan roasting the finest single-estate,high-elevation Kona coffee beans from select estates:

Kona Coffee Purveyors

This café opened in August 2016in the redeveloped International Market Place and was meant to serve as a showcase for the “high mark of excellence” of the coffee and its packaging.  Kona Coffee Purveyors is also known for their process called “cupping” to select their coffees; evaluate the roast recipe to find what they called the “sweet spot” to ensure consistency between roasts from one batch to another.  You will find state-of-the-art roastery equipped with top quality roasters to ensure artisan roasting precision that was designed by their own in-house Master Roaster, Raymond Suiter.

The café not only has a great selection of classic espresso beverages including their own espresso tonic and Kona cold brew but features pastries made in-house by San Francisco’s “b.Patisserie”.  The Waikiki location offers about 10 – 12 of b. Patisserie’s signature pastries including the infamous, “kouignamann” ( “queen-ah-mahn“), a Celtic pastry that originated in Brittany, northwestern France. Michel Suds, a partner of b. Patisserie describes this pastry is crisp on the outside and layered like puff pastry or croissant dough.  Pastry goers can watch these signature items being created as they sip on their beverage of choice.

Master Roaster, Suiter, who once owned Honolulu Coffee, says that while Kona Coffee Purveyors will serve as a coffee shop by day, in the evening customers they will offer imported and domestic charcuterie and wines as a wine bar. Suiter says that the café will not be a full-fledged dinner spot.  Once the sun goes down, customers can partake in a selection of wines from smaller wineries with 3 -4 choices each of red or white wines; along with prosciutto from Italy and other specialty meats from Europe and the U.S.

For returning loyal customers, they offer coffee subscriptions on their website, ranging from $28 – $62; however, if you are looking for their single estate coffee bags, they range from $48 – $60.

The third coffee spot on this list has 8 locations in the Waikiki Honolulu area and has been roasting, brewing and selling the finest coffees in the world since 1992:

Honolulu Coffee

Their Waikiki Beach location, “Moana Surfrider” is based in a hotel serving Hawaiian- grown coffee, breakfast pastries, and sweet treats.

To say Honolulu Coffee is passionate about their coffee is a bit of an understatement.  Their adored Kona Coffee Farm is located on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Waikiki Pastries

Their “Farm to Cup “strategy consists of an 8-Step-Process that entails the natural tropical rain showers that add to the ideal growing conditions, 3 years leading to the first harvest, handpicking only the ripest deep red cherries, and turning over the beans on dry beds every 30 minutes. Their roasting will bring out unique and natural fruit like flavors.

Of course, this place will not come up short with a great selection of espresso basics like a classic cappuccino but also sports a quality bakery that serves handcrafted pastries from scratch daily, using local ingredients. The Pastry Kitchen offers a nice selection of pastries, cakes, desserts like fruit tarts, and other savory items. They will even cater your event.

You may want to check out their merchandise and coffee brew bags ranging from $12-$30 on their website.

These are just three of some amazing coffee stops to try when you are in Waikiki, but the right coffee shop for you depends on what you are trying to accomplish at the moment.  First, decide if it is going to be a quick in and out visit or if you need to cram two to three hours on your laptop while you are there.  One of the main features that attract people to coffee shops is because they serve as a multipurpose public space for those looking for a quick pick-me-up, bite to eat, have an informal business meeting, catch up with a friend, or get a few hours of studying or writing.  Do not forget about the menu. 

The last thing you want is to get to your chosen coffee bar toting your laptop and other supplies only to find that the menu is limited or they do not offer a variety of favorite choices, such as latte flavored syrups and other additions that take espresso classics to the next level.  Trying out a variety of coffee shops while traveling is a fun and joyful experience that allows you to try local specialties and unique flavors that you may not necessarily have back home.

Related Questions

You may have a question or two about some topics covered in this post, so here are a couple of related questions that may help you.

What is Kona Coffee?

“Kona Coffee” is actually the market name for coffee that is cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of Hawaii.  It is considered one of the most expensive coffees in the world.  Coffee has to come from the Kona Districts to be classified as “Kona”.  The ideal weather conditions in combination with the porous, mineral-rich volcanic soil create an environment for favorable coffee growing.

What is Single Estate Coffee?

Single Estate Coffee or “Single-Origin Coffee” is coffee that is grown within a single known geographic origin. This can be a single farm or a certain collection of beans that are from a single country.  The coffee is named based on the place it was grown to whatever degree available.

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