Monday, April 15, 2013

Cup to Speed

10 of our favorite neighborhood coffee shops

Latte art at Glazers Coffee
Latte art at Glazers Coffee

This is an intervention. It's time to address your addiction to Starbucks.

You're there morning, noon and night, sending emails, perusing the paper, and drinking. Oh, the drinking. You can't stop ordering your same old, same old venti iced coffee blended soy whatever.

Here's a wake-up call: there are other coffee shops out there! So step out of your comfort zone and into any of these 10 charming neighborhood spots. Free wifi means you can still get your work done, but a fresh new menu and totally unique atmosphere will make you forget all about that little green mermaid.

Now that's a real buzz thrill.

Metro Honolulu

Glazers Coffee Glazers Coffee
2700 King St.
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Fridays, 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
Order: Glazer's serious baristas subscribe to the Seattle style of espresso and use only organic, shade-grown, fair-trade arabica beans as part of their quest to create the "perfect" fresh cup of espresso. Go classic with one of those ($2.25), or for something with a little more oomph, try the orange-y Mocha Valencia ($3.95-$4.25).
Perks: If you're lucky, the barista will churn you out some of the shop's famous latte art. We also dig the cozy hipster vibe and rotating wall art.
Free Wifi: Yes.
www.glazerscoffee.com


The Tea Farm The Tea Farm
Puck's Alley, 2600 S. King St., #106
Hours: Sundays-Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Order: Okay, there's no coffee here, but we had to make an exception for the ice cream fondue, which comes with adorable heart-shaped green tea, chocolate and vanilla ice cream blocks, brownie bites and marshmallows, perfect for dipping in molten chocolate ($25). Order a side of bacon ($4) for an addictive sweet/savory combo.
Perks: You can still get your caffeine fix - a display near the counter invites customers to sample the scents of their huge array of teas, and the sleek modernist architectural glass tea cups and individual glass tea pots add a unique aesthetic to the familiar ritual of tea drinking.
Free Wifi: Yes.
www.theteafarm.com


Spero Spera Spero Spera
1334 Young St.
Hours: Mondays-Saturdays, 6 a.m.-11 p.m., closed Sundays.
Order: Try the owner's homemade mochi made with azuki beans and walnuts ($3) for an unexpected crunch, then wash it down with the red ginseng tea, served hot or iced ($5.73).
Perks: Score a free coffee when you dine in or partake in the free, refreshing herbal water. Sweet quotes and charming children's-book-style illustrations grace the upper loft of this cheery two-level cafe, but beware, parking is limited.
Free Wifi: Yes.
www.sspera.com


Blue Tree Cafe Blue Tree Cafe
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Hours: Mondays-Fridays, 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sundays, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Order: Try a cup of the homemade almond milk, made fresh daily and naturally flavored with agave syrup and dates (about $2), or go for a healthy smoothie like Very Verde, which features banana and kale. Read more about these drinks in Biting Commentary's juice cleanse diaries.
Perks: Live music and patio seating add to the sophisticated ambience. Vegan options like the suprisingly addictive quinoa mac and cheese mean there's something for everyone.
Free Wifi: Yes.
bluetreehawaii.com


Aiea/Wahiawa/North Shore

Sanrio Cafe Sanrio Cafe
Pearlridge Center Downtown
Hours: Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Order: The thick and creamy Oreo Cheesecake cup comes with a pink chocolate Hello Kitty figurine garnish ($2.95).
Perks: How many ways can you make Hello Kitty edible? Try cookies, cheesecake, brownies and more, all with her pink and white likeness - a Hello Kitty lover's heaven.
Free Wifi: No, but take your drink and meander over to the central mall area for the Starbucks hotspot if you must (just try to avoid a relapse).


Surfers Coffee Bar Surfers Coffee Bar
63 Kamehameha Hwy.
Hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Order: The 'Wahiawa' Mocha - a mocha with white chocolate and pineapple - has an unexpected tropical twist ($3.50–$4.60).
Perks: This artsy nonprofit is a haven for artists and musicians, regularly holding community events or hosting live music. Run by a volunteer staff, the proceeds go to local and global nonprofit organizations.
Free Wifi: Yes.
surferscoffee.com


Coffee Gallery Coffee Gallery
North Shore Marketplace, 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy.
Hours: Daily, 6:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Order: The shop's macarons ($2.25 each) boast intriguing flavors that change regularly, like lavender or whiskey chocolate goat cheese. Check the display case for other unique baked goods like the sundried tomato basil scone ($2.95).
Perks: All the coffee is hand-roasted in small batches right on the North Shore, either in the Waialua Sugar Mill or Haleiwa town itself.
Free Wifi: Yes.
www.roastmaster.com


East Oahu

Encore Espresso Encore Espresso
Aina Haina Shopping Center, 820 W. Hind Dr.
Hours: Mondays-Saturdays, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sundays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Order: Waffles at a coffee shop? Absolutely. Try them with fresh fruit ($7.25). On the beverage side, the specialty Mocha Espresso drink includes cacao sauce and a mysterious "secret" sauce ($4).
Perks: Plush floral chairs and cutesy paintings make this place feel like a cozy living room, perfect for snuggling in with your laptop and a hot mocha.
Free Wifi: Yes.


Island Brew Coffeehouse Island Brew Coffeehouse
Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, 377 Keahole St.
Hours: Mondays-Fridays, 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Order: The Malabar Mocha ($4.15-$5.45) with caramel and creme de cacao, and anything from the pastry case, like Kahlua cheesecake and blueberry bread pudding, all baked by an in-house pastry chef.
Perks: Enjoy a breathtakingly gorgeous view of the marina as you work, plus an extensive menu of sandwiches, flatbread pizzas and acai bowls.
Free Wifi: Yes.
www.islandbrewcoffeehouse.com


Kailua

Morning Brew Morning Brew
600 Kailua Rd.
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Order: The specialty Krakatoa (named after the owners' first coffee shop location) is a creamy drink composed of espresso, creme de cacao syrup and Ghiradelli chocolate ($3-$4.35).
Perks: Poke around the book swap in the bright, airy loft area for a little reading to accompany your latte.
Free Wifi: Yes.
www.morningbrewhawaii.com

Note: the list doesn't include our oft-mentioned HONOLULU favorites, ChadLou's in Kailua and Morning Glass Coffee & Cafe in Manoa, though you can read about them here and here. Photos by Terri Inefuku, Martha Cheng, and Natalie Schack.

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2013 in Permalink

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About Lei Chic

Lei Chic is a daily email and shopping blog that plugs you into Hawaii's newest and hottest boutiques, designers, trends, spas and salons, and more. You'll also discover all the cool events, dinners and sales happening around town in our Weekend Picks every Thursday. With Lei Chic, you'll get the inside scoop on what everyone will be talking about tomorrow – in your inbox today.

Lei Chic associate editor Natalie Schack has been a cultural anthropology student,museum worker bee and dabbler in graphic design. When she isn't scouting new fashion, compiling to-do lists or crafting puns, Natalie spends her free time dreaming up elaborate picnic ideas; "researching" via YouTube tutorials, blogs and Instagram; and dusting off her pith helmet for the next adventure life throws her way.


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