Japanese Green Tea & Hawaii - Green Tea Mania’s Selfish Guide

December 28, 2019

Japanese Green Tea & Hawaii - Green Tea Mania’s Selfish Guide

Thanks to you and all your support, I had an opportunity this holiday to visit Hawaii for a little vacation. Even on my vacation, I just couldn’t help checking some green tea stuff while there. As I explored more, I found that Hawaii’s trend with green tea is a little different from other places, so I decided to write this blog post just for fun to let you know what is trending in Hawaii when it comes to green tea. 

I did not list and compare all of them and research as I do with my other blog posts, so I call this post a “selfish” list of my personal favorite things about green tea in Hawaii. Enjoy. 

Green tea Cafes in Hawaii

Just like any other urban city catching up with tea shops, Waikiki is not an exception. There are quite a few new tea shops and cafes everywhere to enjoy tea moments. 

Nana’s Green Tea  (2250 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815)

Nana's Green Tea, Waikiki Hawaii

Nana's Green Tea Waikiki

Whenever I am on the Waikiki Beach Walk, I always stop by Waikiki Yokocho. You would almost miss this place as you walk the famous Kalakaua St. because the sign is not that visible, but if you take the steps down and enter the place, you notice it is a paradise for the Japanese food lover. 

The place is packed with many Japanese restaurants and they are all so good. 

Nana’s Green Tea is one of the shops in there and serves matcha focused drinks and sweets. (They have quite few shops in Japan.) If you like matcha like me, there is no miss for what you order there. I didn’t order everything, but I am always satisfied with their sweets. 

Infinitea Cafe (808 Sheridan St, Honolulu, HI 96814)

InfiniTea Cafe - Hawaii

My favorite walk at Waikiki is a walk from Waikiki Beach to Ala Moana Center. It is a good 30-40 minute walk and this tea shop is right in between so I tend to stop by here for a little tea break. It is a tea-specialized cafe with lots of options.

Matcha Stand Maiko (2310 Kuhio Ave. #134, Honolulu, HI 96815

Matcha Stand Maiko is a block away from Kalakaua Ave. but their Cheese Matcha Latte is quite good.Matcha Stand Maiko

New Tea Shops are Opening Up

I feel that every time I visit Hawaii, tea is getting more popular there. Please see, below the photo, a sign of a new tea shop being built. (When you are reading this, the tea shop may be open already.)

Sun Tea Mix - Hawaii Coming Soon

My favorite place to go in Oahu is the Kakaako area where I found lots of wall art. It’s fun to walk around the area and take some pictures. This time I took a bicycle which was very easy to rent with a swipe of a card. Oh! Sozai (400 Keawe St ste 108, Honolulu, HI 96813) is my personal favorite Japanese food bento place located in the middle of the Kakaako district. I think it is one of the hidden gems. 

They do have some  in-store seating so you can eat there as well as take out bento boxes to eat at the beach. The price is quite reasonable and the food tastes more like family style and I love it. 

This tea shop in the picture above is being built right next to Oh! Sozai. I just saw the sign so I took a snap. Hope to visit them next time!

Sad Reality of Green Tea in Hawaii

As a visitor, it is nice to have cafes to visit, but what if you live here?

I found out that it is quite difficult to find quality tea if you live here and want to enjoy tea at home. This is unfortunately true for many small cities in the USA, and that is one of the reasons our online shop is becoming quite popular. 

Here is a picture of a tea aisle in Don Quijote (801 Kaheka St, Honolulu, HI 96814), one of the biggest Japanese discount shops in Waikiki.

Don Quijote Hawaii Green Tea

I am always amazed to see so many selections of all the Japanese stuff I can find here compared to Uwajimaya in Portland. (Don Quijote is probably 10 times the size of Portland Uwajimaya.) Despite the size and selection, I was very disappointed with the variety and quality of the tea they carry. I realized why we are quite popular among customers in Hawaii. 

New Options for Tea Lovers for Rescue
Update May 2020 - Steepologie closed its shop in Ala Moana Center permanently due to COVID19.

Well, if you look, there are some options available for the residents, too. Check out Steepologie Tea inside the Ala Moana Center (1450 Ala Moana Blvd #2308, Honolulu, HI 96814).

Steepologie Tea Hawaii

Steepologie Teas - Hawaii

This shop started in Seattle and is growing at quite a fast pace in different shooing malls in the Northwest. They are somewhat operating in the same way Teavana did earlier by having people smell and taste different types of specialty tea. I had an opportunity to talk with the owner, Andrea, at the World Tea Expo; she is a nice lady and I do like their selections of tea.. 

What about Souvenirs Omiyage?

Yes, I am Japanese and I do care about souvenirs (omiyage) everywhere I go. If you know the Japanese culture, you know we like gifting things to family and friends to show off tell them about vacations. 

Kona Coffee or Green Tea?

Island Vintage Coffee - Green Tea

Many specialty coffee shops are paying more attention to quality tea these days, and Hawaiian coffee shops are no exception. Island Vintage Coffee (2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 and few other locations throughout Hawaii) is always super popular among Japanese people for some reason, and you find a lot of Japanese customers lining up at this coffee shop. I do like their coffee, but check out this new super nicely packaged green tea they carry now. I thought it is packaged better than their coffee. 

The Last Dean and Deluca in the USA Carrying Matcha Pancake Mix

I personally love Dean and Deluca (2233 Kalakaua Ave BUILDING B, Honolulu, HI 96815) a lot and visited quite a few of them in past years, including the one in the middle of grape fields in Napa. 

Unfortunately, they have closed all their shops in the USA except this ones in Hawaii. Japanese people love this brand and due to their popularity among Japanese customers visiting their shop, the Hawaiian location remains open. It is the last shop in the USA now.

The shop clerk was telling me they have a “limited edition” of tote bags that Japanese customers line up early in the morning, every morning, to get. They only sell limited numbers of these hibiscus tote bags so there is always a line in the early morning and most of the customers are from Japan! 

I did not line up in the early morning, but I visited them this time and found this matcha pancake mix. The cloth packaging is so cute that it is my choice for the souvenir. You officially cannot get this anywhere else in the USA now. 

Dean and Deluca - Matcha Pancake Mix

Pineapple or Green Tea?

This time I went crazy with pinnacle and did a Maui Gold Tour and Dole Plantation visit. (Dole Plantation 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786) Which one do you think won the battle? The taste of the Maui Gold couldn’t even come close to the ones from Dole and  the Dole plantation has a lot more options for souvenirs. 

Maui Gold Tour

Other than the chocolate covered pineapple (yummm) that I couldn’t help getting, Pineapple Green Tea caught my attention. What a great idea!

Dole - Pineapple Green Hot Tea

Unique Green Tea Trend in Hawaii

I always enjoy seeing the evolution of green tea trends in a different cultures, and green tea in Hawaii is surely trending up with the rest of the world with its twist. Unfortunately, there are not many options for residents to enjoy traditional green tea but the tour and visitors are shaping its unique modern tea cultures here. 

I cannot wait to go back to Hawaii again soon to see more trends shaping up with green tea (... and for more pineapples and vacations too!) 

 Matcha and Sun is Vacation

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