New coffee shop opens at hospital

LIHU’E — The latest buzz from Wilcox Memorial Hospital is its new caffeine-management unit.

Owners and operators of The Coffee Station, a specialty-coffee kiosk, set up shop about five weeks ago at the hospital, and business owner Tamara Byrne said that, so far, business has been brewing.

“It’s been good. The staff is excited,” she said.

“We’ve had a steady flow of business from hospital workers, but not everybody knows we’re here yet. I think we’re providing a service that’s wanted,” she said.

“We offer a lot of coffee options,” she said.

Byrne and her husband Joseph have lived on Kaua’i for two years. She said she had been interested in such a business, and had been talking with hospital leaders about putting in a specialty-coffee niche which would compliment rather than compete with the hospital’s very-popular cafeteria.

She provided the hospital with a business plan and, after some delays attributed to logistics, she’s up and running.

The Coffee Station offerings include specialty flavored coffees, hot and cold, with sugar-free options. Byrne offers non-coffee alternatives and pastries supplied by specialty bakers Icing on the Cake.

In fact, Dr. Geri Q.L. Young was spotted Friday picking up some cookies before rushing back to work.

Byrne and her lone employee, Grace Sutherland, are taking the concept of flavored coffee where it’s never gone before, to the pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin pie latte was a featured item last week. Byrne said customers often enjoy a shot of coconut or strawberry syrup.

“I think there is a coffee culture. There are competitions for baristas, and it’s still an emerging business. “My (only) background in coffee is that I love coffee.”

Byrne said she had a model of what she wanted to do based upon similar coffee operations she had seen on the Mainland.

“I thought hospitals were a good place for this type of service. My goal is to provide the best coffee you can get and have a product people enjoy,” she said.

Byrne gets her coffee from Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Santa Clara, Calif. The coffee is an organic, free-trade product, and Byrne said it is an arrangement she feels good about.

Currently, The Coffee Station is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. till 4 p.m. Byrne said she might expand her hours as needed.

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