I first tasted Nitro Cold Brew (NCB) on a coffee crawl through New York’s East Village with a friend of mine as my guide. That friend also happened to be a lead barista at Third Rail Coffee, a popular indie coffee shop in New York City’s Greenwich Village. I had my first taste of NCB at one of ours stops and I was utterly confused and captivated. I immediately explained to my friend that this was like no coffee I’d ever had. Instead, with its thick mouthfeel and foamy (yet creamy) head, it tasted similar to Guinness…yes, the beer. It took a few years, but NCB has really started to become a trend in indie coffee shops throughout the main island of Oahu. Let’s sample some of the options, but do keep in mind that they were all ordered black (as coffee should be).
There’s a lot going on in Waikiki, and to experience it all, you’ll need fuel..and I can’t think of anything better than a nice hot (or ice cold) cup of coffee. Turns out, there’s no shortage of coffee shops in Waikiki.
We might not have a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Hawaii, but we do have a Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar. The Waikiki cafe on Seaside Avenue is the first in Hawaii to offer the company’s small-lot Reserve coffees in the premium Reserve Bar setting.
When it comes to Java in the US, coffee connoisseurs tend to rave about Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City as being home to elite coffee shops. I think Hawaii needs to be added to the list. With more people gravitating to the cultural jaugenaut that is Starbucks, I’ve tried to, in the last few years, sample coffees from a variety of locally owned shops. There are many more to add to this list, but, let’s start with the first five. Like with my other Five To Try posts: this is by no means a Top 5 list of any kind, just a selection of five interesting spots that I think are worth checking out.
All-you-can-eat bread & pastry, good coffee, lovely ambience, and notoriously long wait times. These were all things that I had either heard or read about before I stepped into Cafe Lani, one of the restaurant offerings in Ala Moana Center’s new Ewa Wing. But what would my actual experience be like?
Over the last two years, my wife and I have taken advantage of the long Thanksgiving break to explore our neighbor islands (see some of our Lanai and Hawaii Island posts). This year, however, we weren’t able to leave Oahu…and so we decided that since we couldn’t hop on a plane, we would instead jump in our car for a sweet little staycation.
Mission: Find great coffee…in Kauai. I quickly realized that I didn’t have to travel very far to taste the best coffee that Kauai has to offer. Java Kai, located in the bustling small town of Kapaa, is home to the best cuppa joe on the island.