First stop, city slicker Honolulu Coffee Company in Waikiki:
1. Honolulu Coffee Company was my (almost) daily coffee stop during our visit to the island (all trolley shuttle lines stop nearby). Its location at the Moana Surfrider Hotel was an added bonus as I thoroughly enjoyed meandering their grounds and impersonating a snooty guest. The coffee shop’s iced mocha (with whipped cream) was delicious and their food choices were tasty too. This is an indoor seating establishment only, but the windows are big and open with plenty of fans and some light air conditioning running which are all necessities for the hot, humid days of Waikiki. Its perch slightly above the sidewalk makes for interesting people watching. Ladies, allowing your men to hold your butt instead of your hand is not charming.
Next stop, North Shore mellow Coffee Gallery in Haleiwa:
2. Leaving the crowd of Honolulu and Waikiki behind, Spaceman visibly relaxed (he is not one for crowds). We winded our way to the North Shore anticipating maybe not massive waves, but waves. The hiccup was that waves (any waves) are in the winter and we were there in summer — watching ripples lap gently upon the sand. This area is more hippie chic or, as my nephew is keen to say, “chill”. How anyone can make a living here if not a student or a retired surfer, I am not sure. Being vacationers, I quickly dismissed these thoughts before they bummed my high (see, I speak hippie). Back to coffee…stumbling into the Coffee Gallery was a delight. Still high from my first caffeine hit back in Waikiki, I happily ordered another iced mocha (with whipped cream). “Yum!” was what my taste buds screamed. The shop is in a strip mall (which are actually pretty in Hawaii), tucked in the back. Its local clientele and indoor/outdoor atmosphere was charming. The North Shore has a unique off-the-grid yet trendiness vibe that offers up an intoxicating juxtaposition.
Next stop, island suburbia Kalapawai Market in Kailua:
and then look right again (or left depending on the direction you’re coming from). The ride around from the North Shore to Kalapawai Market was lovely, but it came dangerously close to a caffeine crash for me (the panic!) so I rushed in to order an iced mocha (with whipped cream)…and use the bathroom. This was another spot where the drinks were tasty (a little less than the previous two), the treats were sweet and the “aloha spirit” was contagious. Parking is limited here but the drinks and snacks make the search for one worth it if their lot is full. Kalapawai is also close to Lanakai Beach which is ranked as one of the world’s best beaches and ranked number one in the United States according to Trip Advisor 2014. Kailua is also an area where Spaceman and I would settle if we found ourselves moving to Oahu. It is close to both the action of Waikiki and the mellowness of the North Shore, a perfect blend. However, seeing there is no ice hockey in Hawaii (that I know of), this move is unlikely (Go Ducks!).
There you have it, the top 3 coffee shops on Oahu. This guide to Oahu’s Caffeine Highway has left me thirsty for an iced mocha (with whipped cream) so I will say, “Aloha!” for now.
Where is your favorite caffeine spot?