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The best coffee shops in Kailua, Hawaii

The Best Coffee Shops in Kailua, Hawaii

Coffee in Hawaii is more of a culture than a morning necessity. And this is visible at the best coffee shops in Kailua, where locals generally shun the big chain stores.

Kailua Town is located on the island of Oahu’s Windward (eastern) side. Although it’s on the opposite coast, just 12 miles separate it from the capital city of Honolulu. Once a sleepy beach town, Kailua has become a favorite place to shop, eat, and catch a wave among travelers and locals alike. Despite its popularity, Kailua has managed to keep its authenticity and local feel – and this is thanks to its many locally owned eateries and coffee shops. In fact, the phrase “Keep Kailua local” is one you’ll hear or see often when visiting.

There are only three places in the United States that grow coffee beans: Puerto Rico, Santa Barbara County in California, and in Kona on the Big Island in Hawaii. Kona is an ideal area to grow coffee beans due to its young volcanic soil is rich in minerals and the area experiences frequent afternoon rain showers. Coffee is a part of the Hawaiian culture and economy. If you venture up to Kailua Town while visiting O’ahu, these are the 5 best coffee shops to grab a cup of Joe.

Side note: Many local eateries and Kailua coffee shops are either closed on Mondays or offer limited weekday hours. It’s a good idea to check a coffee shop’s hours online when planning your trip to Kailua.

ChadLou’s Coffee Roasters

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Latte lovers, this one’s for you. ChadLou’s Coffee is a local and independent coffee company that serves high-quality, farm to cup coffee. And when I say high-quality, I mean it. They serve up some of the best coffee in Kailua. ChadLou’s coffee shop only offers outdoor seating, but each table has an umbrella that offers refuge from the sun. Besides, who wants to spend their entire day indoors when traveling to Hawaii? While you can’t go wrong ordering anything from ChadLou’s menu, their lattes are definitely worth a try. There’s the Kula Latte (latte with lavender and vanilla), the Mānoa Chocolate Mocha latte (Mānoa Chocolate combined with ChadLou’s local espresso), and the Honu latte (latte with caramel and Macadamia nut flavored sweetener).

Owners Matt & Sheila Rosete grew up in Kailua and have experience growing, roasting, and brewing coffee. And this love for coffee shows when you walk thru their door into what has become one of the best coffee shops in Kailua.

Morning Brew

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Founded and owned by local high school sweethearts Debbie and Pete, Morning Brew is a local cafe and proud of it. With its large windows, high ceilings, bright lighting, and locally featured art scattered across the walls, just walking into this cafe puts you into a calmer mood. 

Everything on the menu is good, but their espresso iced blended shakes and white mocha lattes are some of the more unique choices. In addition to the Morning Brew in Kailua, they also have a coffeeshop in Honolulu.

Local tip: Bookends, Kailua’s only locally owned and independent bookstore, is conveniently located a few doors down. You can pick out a summer read from Bookends, head over to Morning Brew, and spend a few hours reading while enjoying one of the cafe’s specialty drinks. 

The Garden at Boardroom

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The Garden at Boardroom is one of the best coffee shops in Kailua, Hawaii
The Garden at Boardroom

The popular coffee truck formerly known has Solar Shack has now become The Garden at Boardroom.

The coffee truck remains with the same great organic coffee drinks, but now it’s now part of a larger complex with a large outdoor garden alongside the cocktail bar and restaurant known as the Boardroom. 

Dogs are welcome and they even hold events for kids sometimes, so it’s a family friendly atmosphere.

Rise & Grind

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In 2023, Kailua’s favorite mobile coffee trailer opened up a brick-and-mortar storefront for their coffee bar. While the food options are mostly limited to bagel sandwiches, the atmosphere created by the staff and owner Leah Garwood make for an inviting coffee shop, and seemingly like a fun place to work. And don’t worry, you can still find their little blue coffee trailer at weekend farmers markets or at private events.

Holoholo Drive Thru Espresso

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Holoholo Drive Thru Espresso is exactly as the name suggests, a drive thru coffee shop. Though maybe the word “shop” isn’t correct. It’s more like a drive thru coffee hut. It’s basically the size of one of those backyard sheds, except that it’s set in a small parking lot and is more useful to me. Holoholo is exactly what Kailua needed. Now there is no excuse to go to one of the coffee chains just because they have a drive-thru.

The Collective Tattoo Cafe Gallery

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Lilikoi Kitchen is a cafe inside the Collective, a tattoo shop in Kailua, Hawaii.
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Have you ever been in the mood to savor a coffee while getting a tattoo? Well, then the Collective is the perfect place for you. The Collective is a tattoo parlor and cafe all in one. It’s a welcoming space that truly inspires creativity and community, and their calendar is loaded with events featuring local artists. If you have the time, on any weekend you can grab a coffee, sit down at one of their sidewalk tables, and enjoy live music from a local band.

The cafe is run by Lilikoi Kitchen, which has some of the best prices in the area. They have a menu with breakfast dishes, paninis, and Acai bowls, but I highly recommend you try the baked blueberry French toast.

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When it comes to local eateries and coffee on O’ahu, Kailua Town really does it best. And while it’s a great town to visit, please remember that Kailua is not just a tourist destination but a permanent home to many. Support local by going to local businesses and eateries rather than chains. And as always, be mindful of locals and their homes and Mālama ka ‘aina, which means respect the land.