Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
Mar 31, 2010 04:38 PM

Coffee shops/roasters on Big Island?

Does anyone out there know a good roaster and a good coffee shop on the Big Island? I want to believe the hype about Kona coffee... The growers here have put a lot of effort into the Kona brand but how about making sure a person can buy a good cup at a coffee shop. I think I have tried every coffee shop on the island and the best I've found is just decent. How about where to buy a bag of dependably fresh, well roasted coffee (not dark roast) on the north half of the island?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Can't help you with a specific shop. Few years ago I was there and dropped in on a few places hawking Kona coffee. The going rate averaged about $20/lb at most places. I bought a few half pound bags here and there.
    Personally I think there's a bit of hype to Kona coffee. It's definitely less acidic and mild, I'm not sure about rich and flavorful. But, at $20/lb. I'd better notice a big difference between Kona and Starbucks Pikes Place. The high price they command has to do with the cost of labor, land and the relatively small crops. I have friends who grew up on the big island and they said they didn't notice a big difference between coffee there and what they get on the mainland. Some friends bring me 100% Kona when they visit and it's always appreciated.

    Actually the 10% Kona flavored blends for the tourist market aren't bad, sometimes I like their unique flavors like coconut or choc. macadamia nut for a change. But, 10% of something is almost nothing to me, it's all about marketing.

    On my way home I picked up a two pound bag of 100% Kona coffee at the Costco near the Honolulu Airport for $19, it was alright and there wasn't any difference in the bags I got in Hawaii.

    Let me know what you find out.

    1. You might want to check out this link from the 2009 Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition and hunt down some of the top finishers.

      Yes, the growers are adamant about protecting and marketing the Kona brand. Several years ago there was a scandal involving Kona coffee beans also what the President of Peet's Coffee had to say about Kona coffee.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. The Kona coffee I bought at Costco was a few years ago and the bag was not labeled with any company or grower. I can only say Costco sold it with the understanding that it was 100% Kona from an island supplier. If you're a grower of Kona coffee, you need to do more than tell me I wasn't buying 100% Kona need to police your own on the islands.

        2. I haven't been there but there's Hilo Coffee Mill in Mountain View.

          I have had some good coffee at Aloha Outpost in Pahoa.

          For good beans, the T Kaneshiro market in Honokaa carries some locally grown and roasted "Souza's Hamakua Anchor Brand" coffee. I love this stuff.

          Aloha Outpost
          15-2660 Pahoa Village Rd, Pahoa, HI 96778

          1 Reply
          1. re: caille en sarcophage

            Aloha and mahalo for the compliment. Aloha Outpost went out of business a long time ago. We're working really hard to get local cafes and restaurants to serve our coffee. It is all fresh roasted, handpicked and pesticide free. Yes, it costs more but it's the best. We roast it when you order it. 100% Hawaiian coffees and blends and international coffees too. Check out out website, sign up for our newsletter and we'll have free shipping offers throughout the year. Hope this helps.