Maui’s 10 Best Independent Coffee Shops

Back in the day, the only independent Maui coffee store was a headshop-slash-hippie hangout that boasted what may have been the island’s first espresso machine. Known as Sir Wilfred’s, the artsy, even edgy café was tucked into Kahului’s Maui Mall and saw customers ranging from Huelo recluses to Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

Maui Coffee Shops

Fast forward to the present. Sir Wilfred’s has moved to the West Side and the Starbucks logo is as ubiquitous on Maui as it is on the mainland. But the good—no, fantastic—news is that the island’s non-conformist spirit persists—and independent coffee shops have grown in quantity, quality, and flavor. Here are ten of Maui’s best places for a cuppa and why you should make a beeline for their queue:



1. Belle Surf

Organic, fair-trade coffee gets a fresh jolt at this intimate Kihei café. Owned by France transplant Marion Girardin, the bright, buzzy spot brings new meaning to island bohemian with hanging plants, surfing shots, piles of old games and hardcover books, and cozy, garden-esque seating. Kama’aina travel from near and far for Marion’s crepes—both savory (like the Hua, with eggs, sour cream, and mushrooms) and sweet (go for their Hana with locally grown bananas and Nutella). They come farther still for a cup of Marion’s first-rate joe. Purchased in small batches from family plantations in South America and East Africa, brews are prepared in a variety of methods, including Chemex, v60, espresso—and a cold drip that takes twelve-plus hours to perfect. “We select the best coffee in the world, I will say,” Marion says. By the taste of it, we’d readily—and gleefully—concur.

  • Location: 1794 South Kihei Road, Kihei (Aloha Marketplace)

  • Highlights: Golden milk latte with turmeric, ginger, and organic honey; Tartine Francaise with avocado, feta, and lime.

  • Icing on the cake: The Treesap, in which a double shot of espresso is pulled into local honey, poured into a cup of cold drip, and crowned with coconut milk.



2. Paia Bay Coffee & Bar

Paia may boast formidable crowds on its boutique-lined streets, but the hum stills (at least to a quieter decibel) at this inviting café in the heart of the windsurfing city. Tucked behind retail stores on Hana Highway, its lush garden setting is almost as enticing as its menu, where dirty Chai lattes are served beside pomegranate lemonade and Big Wave Kombucha. Presenting one of the most stellar Americanos on the island, this kick-back place is just as solid for a quick pick-me-up as it is a leisurely lunch or a pau hana with friends.

  • Location: 115 Hana Highway, Paia

  • Highlights: The aforementioned Americano; tuna salad with capers over organic greens.

  • Icing on the cake: Grilled banana bread with whipped cream and raspberries.



3. Mill House Roasting Coffee Co.

Arguably the only café on the island whose beans are grown on-property (they’re also locally sourced), Mill House Roasting Co.—a relatively new addition to Maui Tropical Plantation—offers some of the island’s most delectable varietals, including the rich and exquisite Ka’u Dark Roast. Helmed by experienced baristas who will gladly share their knowledge of Maui’s beans, each cup is prepared as a pour-over or with a French press. Go with the latter, and you’ll understand why Maui coffee is skyrocketing to the top of the world’s finest. The café’s setting is equally delicious with verdant grounds, a duck pond, and up-close views of the West Maui Mountains.

Mill House

  • Location: 1670 Honoapiilani Highway, Waikapu (Maui Tropical Plantation)

  • Highlights: Nitro cold brew; mocha with fresh whipped cream.

  • Icing on the cake: Coconut cream French press.



4. Grandma’s Coffee House

Technically located in Keokea—an enclave of Kula on Haleakala’s tranquil slopes—Grandma’s Coffee House is as much of an island institution as Makawao’s Komoda Bakery and Hana’s Hasegawa General Store. Named after a veritable grandma—the proprietor’s grandmother Minnie Franco bartered cherry-picked Maui beans in 1918—the fourth-generation family-operated venue possesses charming décor, baked goods galore, and downright magical vistas (the restaurant sits at 3,000 feet). The coffee—Arabica beans cultivated in Maui’s volcanic soil—is dried in the Hawaiian sun and roast fourth-generation  ted on site in the café. “All of this is done to attain the highest quality possible for our coffee beans,” Minnie’s grandson Al says. “Our strain of coffee has acquired a very unique flavor and has become one of Hawaii’s premier gourmet coffees.” To which we say, hana hou.

Grandma Menu

  • Location: 9232 Kula Highway, Keokea

  • Highlights: Daily drip; Eggs Benedict with homemade lemon hollandaise sauce.

  • Icing on the cake: Locally-sourced chocolate macadamia nut banana bread.



5. Maui Coffee Roasters

First place winner of 2017’s uber-prestigious Kona Coffee Cupping Competition, Maui Coffee Roasters was started by “Nicky Bean,” a Ukrainian original who, long ago, persuaded the owner of Sir Wilfred’s to start serving espresso. With coffee as “Bean’s” forte—he earned his moniker for a reason—it’s no wonder his café is frequently voted the best coffee shop on Maui. Nicky is serious about the quality of his brews, with a pricey and yet priceless 100% Kona roast selected from leading Big Island estates. The café itself is well-worth the visit: Bright art gilds the walls, stellar music blasts from the speakers, and lounging (or laptop-busy) locals give the venue real vibrancy.

  • Location: 444 Hana Highway, Kahului

  • Highlights: Latte; High Thai iced coffee.

  • Icing on the cake: Dynamite donuts—made from scratch in the town next door—and ranging in flavors from lemon meringue to a red velvet-twist with chocolate-beet brioche, cream cheese, and candied cacao.



6. Sip Me

Craft coffee gets a homey spin at this chic Upcountry café. Serving brews from Maui Oma—one of the island’s preeminent coffee roasters—Sip Me abounds with Valley Isle-grown flavors, from the blonde Pueo to the velvety (and aptly named) Mokka. Their selections of teas are just as seductive, including an Apple Ginseng Oolong that somehow perfectly matches Makawao’s earthy aura. The island’s only certified gluten-free, organic bakery, Maui Sugar Shop, provides the pastries; go with a savory quiche and you’ll have enough energy to explore Haleakala.

  • Location: 3617 Baldwin Avenue

  • Highlights: Maca Mocha; Mint Hot Cacao (raw, organic, and vegan).

  • Icing on the cake: Glam smoothie, with strawberry, orange, and ginger.



7. Akamai Coffee Co.

Akamai means “smart” in Hawaiian and there is perhaps no better word to describe this island jewel. Presenting 100% Maui coffees, the quality of each cup is worth the price tag (read: spendy); the attentive service to each patron noteworthy. Their signature roast elates, while their Yellow Brick Road—made with Yellow Caturra—is ripe with hints of caramel, chocolate, and almonds.

  • Location: 100 Pakaula Street, Kahului (in the Home Depot parking lot) 1325 South Kihei Road, Kihei

  • Highlights: Macadamia nut latte with coconut milk; Maui Mokka.

  • Icing on the cake: Enormous fresh-baked cinnamon rolls topped with cream cheese frosting.



8. The Coffee Store

Located outside of the hustle and bustle of Lahaina and Ka’anapali, The Coffee Store is the West Side’s answer to happiness. The café itself is a sight for sore eyes, with a living room feel that adds to the neighborhood vibe, excellent surfing images, chess, and bookshelves packed with old and new titles. Their coffee and food menu is just as fabulous (try a hot fluffy bagel or their uber-popular avocado toast), while the staff—ever-friendly, ever-helpful—will reinforce why Hawaii’s residents are considered some of the warmest and most gracious in the states. Boasting premium pure Hawaiian coffee—including ten varieties of Maui coffee—The Coffee Store is also the ideal place to stock up on bags of caffeinated gold for your friends back home.

  • Location: 5095 Napilihau Street, Napili

  • Highlights: Hawaiian coffee of the day; goji berry, oats, and dates energy bars.

  • Icing on the cake: Creamy banana blended mocha.



9. Wailuku Coffee Company

Wailuku Coffee Company has modest aims—all they want is to provide a joyful gathering place and the best espresso in the world. Consider it mission accomplished—at least when it comes to the former: as their motto goes, it’s where the hip go to sip, which is particularly true on weekdays when the county seat of Maui fills with residents on business. As for latter? Their lofty endeavors pay off in smooth cappuccinos and just-as-silky lattes. With plenty of seating and a comfy, laidback feel—to say nothing of the intriguing art on their walls—Wailuku Coffee Company is also close to the pulse of Maui’s art scene, frequently presenting live music, events, and shows.

Wailuku Coffee

  • Location: 26 North Market Street, Wailuku

  • Highlights: 100% Maui Red Catuai; French roast; iced toddy; turkey-cran melt on a croissant.

  • Icing on the cake: Espresso sundae.



10. Honolulu Coffee

With locations throughout the Hawaiian Islands—as well as in Guam, Canada, and Japan—Honolulu Coffee isn’t exactly independent but, given the excellence of their roasts and the rarity of their cafés, they bear inclusion in this post. With a sun-drenched spot in The Shops at Wailea, as well as a store in the Hyatt in Lahaina and on Hana Highway in Paia, the venue features a small menu that’s large on quality. Established in 1992 in downtown Honolulu, the café features roasts from a coffee farm in Mauna Loa on the Big Island—and a spirit that is pure, and genuine, aloha.

  • Location: 3750 Wailea Alanui, Wailea (The Shops at Wailea) 200 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina (Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa) 90 Hana Highway, Unit C, Paia

  • Highlights: Americano (go with a quad shot topped with steamed breve); Peaberry pour-over.

  • Icing on the cake:  Acai bowls with coconut, strawberries, and bananas.



 Maui Coffee


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