I was doing some shopping at Urban Outfitters in the Hyatt Waikiki a few weekends back, when I remembered to check out a new coffee shop located in the hotel. Lured by the scent of freshly brewed beans, I found myself front and center at the delightful Kai Coffee. Greeted by friendly baristas dressed in charming blue bow ties, I ordered the signature Kai Latte. It was love at first sip as the macadamia nut flavored brew met my lips. I had to know more...
Turns out Kai Coffee is not necessarily the new kid on the Waikiki block. The founder, Sam Suiter, has been roasting, brewing, pouring and perfecting the art of fine coffee from a very young age. His family opened the original Honolulu Coffee Company in 1991, where he mastered the craft. Within minutes of meeting Sam, you can tell this guy is plugged into the science behind making the perfect cup of Joe. I suddenly felt ashamed of lazily hitting the "brew" button every morning on my Nespresso. As Sam explained the precise chemistry and math that goes into every cup brewed at Kai, I realized how little I really know about my so-called favorite thing. Beyond chemistry, every cup at Kai starts with a nicely roasted, quality bean. A few of which you can pick up on site: Ka'u Typica, Kona Peaberry, Kona Extra Fancy, and Maui Yellow Cattura. Kai's beans are sourced directly from the farmers and roasted locally on Oahu and the Big Island by roasting experts with a combined 30 years of experience. Sam prepared the washed and sun-dried Ka'u Typica beans for us to share at the pour-over bar. Naturally sweet and smooth; no milk, cream, sweetener needed. Perfection in its purest state.
You can learn a lot about a person over a cup or two of coffee and, in this case, you can also taste it. Sam is a funny, smart guy with a cheerful coffee shop serving up some of the most delicious cappuccinos, lattes, and coffees that I have ever tasted in the 96815. Kai Coffee: quality, passion, expertise, a dash of personality and aloha brewed daily.
The 96815 Tip: Live in Hawaii? Kai Coffee offers a 25% kama'aina discount on beverages only. With the money you save, treat yourself to one of the gorgeous pastries baked fresh daily by The Baker and The Butcher.
Kai Coffee, 2424 Kalakaua Ave in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, 808-923-1700, open daily 5:30am to 11pm.