If you are looking for good coffee in North Kohala on the Big Island of Hawai’i you won’t be disappointed!
During my week there I got into the rhythm of a nourishing and comforting breakfast at three of my favorite coffee shops in the area, in turn of course: Nanbu Courtyard in Kapa’au, Kohala Coffee Mill in Hawi, and Waimea Coffee Company in Waimea/Kamuela
Each coffee shop is different in look, feel and type of people who hang out, but all three have the important things down pat: good coffee & espresso drinks, simple but fresh and good food, and a welcoming ambiance and feel that encourages you to hang out for a while. Frequented mostly by the local residents, they are little gems for visitors to find.
Since the photo of the latte with the heart above was taken at the Waimea Coffee Comapany, I will start with that.
Above is the outside view of Waimea Coffee Company from the porch of the Parker Square Building, where they are located. They have a few tables outside as well as inside as you can see below.
Besides the excellent coffee and hot & cold coffee drinks, they offer several yummy breakfast and lunch options, items like sandwiches, wraps and salads of various kinds, as well as ice cream and some desserts. With my latte I enjoyed one of their breakfast sandwiches: a toasted bagel with fluffy scrambled egg, bacon and swiss (hold the sprouts, please!).
You can look at their website for a full menu. Best yet, just swing by. You can’t go wrong. And if you are there on a Saturday morning, don’t miss the wonderful farmers’ market just 300 yards up the road on the grounds of Parker School. If you stop by the Sandwich Isle Bread Company tent for some seriously good bread, tell my friend Kay that Monica sends her Aloha.
Parker Square Building – 65-1279 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela, Hi 96743 (map) l 808-885-8915
Let us now drive north to Kapa’au and Nanbu Courtyard café, a recent discovery suggested by my dear friend Evelyn, which turned out to be one of my favorite hang-outs.
The café is easy to spot as it is set in another teeny tiny, quaint North Kohala town. Kapa’au is the last town on the way to the stunning Pololu Valley, so definitely a good place to stop before and/or after to pump up the energy with good caffeine and food. Nanbu Courtyard is right there on the main road, surrounded by little shops and galleries, with easy parking both on the street or right across.
As you can see, Nanbu Courtyard is warm and welcoming. Carol runs this place with a magic touch, creating Aloha with everything she does. I just love the little courtyard that you can see through the doorway, and that is where I have been enjoying my leisurely breakfast, twice.
My drink of choice is either a vanilla latte or a cappuccino – hey, I am Italian, no Americanos or drip coffee for me – and Carol makes excellent ones with her very Italian LaCimbali espresso machine. Evelyn’s favorite breakfast/lunch item is the Bagel with Lochs, while I had my satisfying Breakfast Bagel with fluffy egg, provolone and bacon. I could have added some avocado, but I forgot.
I can’t wait to go back for more good lattes and to try some of the other goodies on the menu. Items like Crustless Quiche Pie with Swiss Chard; Curried Quinoa Salad; Oriental Chicken Salad; Grilled Ciabatta with Tapenade, Provolone and fresh Basil; Beef and Swiss Grilled Ciabatta with Grilled Onions and Horseradish Mayo; and the Kahua Burger. I also hear their cinnamon rolls are delicious and fly out of there early in the day.
Main Street – PO Box 12, Kapa’au, Hi 96755 l 808-889-5546
From here, we will drive back south just a few miles to the other small and quaint North Kohala town of Hawi, where we find the third excellent coffee haven of the area: Kohala Coffee Mill.
Warm and welcoming in a more artsy way, Kohala Coffee Mill is located right there on main street (Mauka/mountain side) smack in the middle of Hawi, next to some colorful shops and art galleries. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating and definite people watching. I have seen some really interesting characters while hanging out there. But then North Kohala is full with a lot of interesting people.
Unfortunately, my stop at Kohala Coffee Mill was an unplanned one, and I had left my camera at my friend’s place because I was “just running a quick errand”. Darn! I intended to go back for pics, but it just did not work out this trip. I will definitely do that the next time and then update this post. You can see a few images on their Facebook page if you like.
In any case, a lack of images on my part does not mean a lack of good coffee or food on theirs, and I thoroughly enjoyed my impromptu latte (to go) and breakfast steamed egg (comes out really fluffy) sandwich. Besides breakfast and lunch options, the Kohala Coffee Mill also offers ice cream, frozen yogurt and some desserts.
So go, relax and enjoy!
I will certainly be exploring more coffee shops next time I am on the Big Island. If you have good ones to suggest, do let me know by posting a comment below so I can add them to my list.
And if you are exploring in Hawai’i, here are more posts you might enjoy:
Big Island and all Islands
Island of O’ahu
Island of Lana’i