If you've been a regular at the Farm Lover's Saturday market at Pearlridge, as I am, you're familiar with the Ali'i Coffee Company booth that kept us caffeinated for the last couple of years. Will Gold and James Webb started roasting and brewing local coffee sort of as a hobby, as coffee geeks, and eventually their hobby became their business. Like Butcher & Bird, these guys have made the leap from booth to brick and mortar, and now have a permanent space at 35 N. Beretania St. (where Let Them Eat Cupcakes used to be).
Their tastes are refined, especially Gold — who has worked in fine dining with our own Will Chen — so when they whip up their handcrafted coffee drinks, it's with the finesse of a mixologist. For coffee purists, the java is smooth and rich; for those who need caffeine to wake up but don't care for big coffee taste, their cold brew "coff" tails are unique treats. These aren't like your common frappuccino, and the prices are much better, at $4 for 12 ounces and $5 for 16 ounces, especially considering that they're sourcing their beans from Ka'u and Kona. Here are a few of the drinks we tried:
They've also got food, which they try to get from local farms and artisans (like the Baker Dudes, who had a booth next to them at the market). The fare is light, fresh, and a litle hipster, featuring sandwiches, salads, and bagels.
Alii Coffee Company also has access to Time Warner WiFi, which makes it an ideal spot for a remote office. There are about six tables and a counter, so for now, there are lots of places to sit and work while sipping cold brew coffee or a hot pour over.
As you can see from the blackboard menu, the prices are all super reasonable, so we'll see if that translates into a crush of business when Hawaii Pacific University starts their next semester. Even without the student traffic, coffee lovers who know what these drinks would cost elsewhere can see that this is a very good deal.
Ali'i Coffee Company
35 N. Beretania St.
Open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Parking is on-street, Chinatown lots or at Kukui Plaza.