#Kauai: Java Kai


I’ve usually been one to avoid coffee stores and buying coffee drinks, but the other day when my friend Mary and I needed to get together I suggested we meet at Java Kai in Kapaa. Our girls had been encouraging me to go, and the meeting seemed the perfect excuse to give it a try.

It’s going to be a very, very long time (like until I receive another gift certificate) before I ever step into a Starbucks again now that I’ve been to Java Kai.

Art on the wall, from local artists, are for sale.
There’s loads of art to take in while you wait or have your drink, all from local artists, and all for sale.

This great coffee house is located in Kapaa’s Old Town area, and has an incredible menu of very tasty coffee drinks, and well as tea drinks and smoothies you won’t find elsewhere. Most coffee drinks are in the $4 to $5 range, but they are big! They also offer a splendid selection of pastries, breakfast sandwiches and lunch items (including vegan and gluten-free items – coconut-lime cupcakes were the vegan offering the day I was there). If it’s crowded (some times I’ve seen the line going right out the door), and you’re in a hurry, there’s a “secret window” in the back that supposedly goes faster. Like almost everywhere you visit on Kaua’i, the Java Kai staff is genuinely friendly and helpful.

WenYu and YaYu often stop for a coffee drink when they walk into town (yes, it’s within walking distance of our house!), and are working their way through the menu. Thai coffee, frozen hot chocolate, and Maui mocha (chocolate and coconut) are currently at the top of their favorites list. The day I was there with Mary I stuck with a boring, but very well-made soy latte and enjoyed every sip.  Any of their drinks can be made with soy, coconut or almond milk.

Sitting outside with our BIG coffee drinks
Sitting outside with our BIG coffee drinks

Although there’s plenty of seating inside, if the sun is shining I recommend the outdoor seating. Grab your coffee (and treat if you indulged), and head outside to watch the parade go by. Love Java Kai!

4 thoughts on “#Kauai: Java Kai

  1. Mmm, yes, Starbucks is so boring. Java Kai looks amazing. I vow to try a new place in my town next time I go out for coffee!


    1. I agree – compared to Java Kai, Starbucks is a snooze. I probably won’t increase my coffee drink purchases, but when we do go out it will be to Java Kai!


  2. Yes! Java Kai in Kapaa, one of my fav stops! Last summer, they had these individual portioned Lillikoi cakes, the perfect amount of sweet vs tart. They must be seasonable, I haven’t seen them on winter visits. Keep writing Laura, it was such a pleasure to briefly meet you at the farmers market last summer. I look forward to your posts, until I can return for another visit.
    P.s. I’ve hiked the Kalalau Trail (the full, brutal, glorious 11 miles), five times, twice by myself. If you really want to know what you are made of, this is the ticket.


    1. I’m like, “What took me so long?” when it comes to Java Kai. I can’t believe I hadn’t been before, especially since we drive past it all. the. time. The lilikoi cake sounds divine.

      Count me impressed! You are truly hard core if you have hiked the Kalalau Trail that many times. Brett wants to do it, but I told him can’t unless he has a partner because I can’t do it (thanks to my knee injury).


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