Rainbow Tea House takes tea beyond the standard afternoon cuppa with bubble tea drinks, boba milk tea, and thai milk tea. Fresh fruit smoothies, sorbet caf?, and honeydew and taro milkshakes offer some tasty tea alternatives in the sun-drenched spot brightened by canary-yellow walls, sunflowers in the window, and white tables and chairs.
Staff members at Green Snow carefully shave blocks of ice into very fine pieces before infusing the desserts with flavors. Local specialties include guava, lychee, and lilikoi––a juicy passionfruit. They also use the icy medium to duplicate other drinks such as root beer. The staffers then top off frosty concoctions with sweetened condensed milk, azuki beans, or li hing plum powder.
Primarily purveyors of electronic cigarettes and accessories, the Volcano Vapor opened the Volcano Vapor Cafe as a relaxed space that is welcoming to both electronic-cigarette aficionados and espresso enthusiasts. More than 50 specialty coffees and drinks, free WiFi, game consoles, and an e-cigarette-friendly atmosphere make Volcano Vapor Cafe an ideal hangout for caffeination and relaxation. Premium Hawaiian beans infuse every coffee drink, from a regular cuppa joe ($1.50–$1.80) to iced lattes crowned with luscious whipped cream ($3.35–$3.75). A 60” HDTV occupies the premium real estate of the café’s scarlet walls, ready to connect with the Xbox and PlayStation 3 game consoles and play host to caffeine-fueled bouts of friendly e-competition. Volcano Vapor's free WiFi and computer consoles equipped with 24-inch touchscreen monitors provide paved access to the information superhighway. Sippers who prefer to remain stationary can lounge in sumptuous leather seats inside.
Meandering through rows of coffee trees in a Waialua coffee orchard, roastmaster John Alvarez gauges by sight alone the maturity of the trees and the ripeness of the berries peeking out from verdant leaves. Though the coffee aficionado follows his beans’ route from germination into each piping mug, his true passion lies in roasting. Back at his roasting site in the shadow of Mount Ka'ala, handfuls of beans cascade through his fingers, pouring back into the drum roaster’s cooling bin as he inspects their chafes and hues to ensure an even roast. Though he concedes each island’s orchards produce different flavors, it’s the slow-roasting process—featured on Hawaiian Grown—that accounts for his coffee’s smooth, sweet taste. “It’s like being a chef at a restaurant,” he says of his duties. “A lot of people take it for granted, but it’s what makes all the difference.” Just outside, amid the Ilikai Hotel's fountains and gardens where his coffee shop is located, people sit on the patio, take in the sun, chat, and sip on the signature coffee.
The pastry chefs at Regal Bakery work hard to never stop surprising their customers, whether with bold new donut flavors, such as rocky road, berryblast, and green tea, or brand new foodie trends. Hot on the trail of the cronut craze, they created their own version of a croissant-donut and even experimented with bite-sized croissant morsels, dubbed “crototts,” which can be dipped in chocolate sauce, azuki bean crème anglaise, or bronze to put atop crotott-eating trophies. According to a profile of the bakery in the “Dining Out” section of the Star Advertiser, Regal Bakery stocks more than 20 donut flavors at a time and revives popular flavors from their past on Throwback Wednesdays.
Air Park Karaoke Lounge offers its visitors the chance to be a star, if only for a handful of hours. Each of the 11 rentable rooms contain a full karaoke setup, allowing friends to belt in private without the worry of Michael McDonald dropping in unannounced to add harmonies. In each room, a 55-inch HDTV shows video and lyrics, while the system's vast catalogue includes tunes in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean?with songs updated monthly. There's also a more public space in their social lounge area, featuring a 70-inch plasma screen and a full bar that serves up beer, wine, and signature cocktails. And despite there being a room and drinks themed around Hello Kitty, Air Park Karaoke Lounge only admits those 21 and older.