Ha opening adds ‘breath’ to Lihue

LIHUE — Tristan Fensterman of Koloa is happy the doors to Ha Coffee Bar are open in Lihue.

“I came when they first opened,” said Fensterman, a representative of Hawaii Life Flight. “Have you seen the lines at the other place? Today, I brought our management team from Oahu so they could see for themselves that we have good coffee places.”

Jeff Adams of Ha Coffee Bar said they opened their doors two weeks ago in the Lihue Town Plaza, 4180 Rice St., adjacent to the Lihue Townhouse apartments.

“The reason we opened in Lihue is because there are already similar coffee shops in Kapaa,” Adams said. “We figured we had a better chance in Lihue where there aren’t that many coffee places.”

Since opening, the shop has been attracting a steady stream of customers eager to try its offerings of coffees, teas, and assorted desserts with some box lunches.

Coffees include hot brew, cold brew, mocha, pour over, Americano, or Espresso Shots in varying sizes. Teas and Chai, made by the Ha crew, are also available.

“Everything is locally-sourced,” Adams said. “Our coffees are roasted by Kauai Roastery in Waimea. He has connections to Kauai, Molokai and Big Island coffees, especially the Kau coffees where he serves as an adviser.”

His offerings of pasteries include pies from Mai Lani Sweet Treats and Confections in Waimea, pasteries from Aloha Delight in Kaumakani, and Hanalima Baking in Puhi, and lunches from Masa’s Sushi, located just up the street.

“We had to have the pies,” Adams said. “I had a slice and was sold.”

Ha Coffee Bar is open 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The coffee shop takes on a dramatic transformation from its exterior as guests are treated to high 20-foot ceilings and spacious floor space with family-type seating on tables and benches, or more intimate tables for two.

He said the intent of Ha Coffee Bar is to create a space where the community can hang out.

“Ha comes from the Hawaiian word for breath, and with the opening of the Ha Coffee Bar, the community gets a breath, Adams said. “We intend to give back to the community. We are a nonprofit organization and the money made after the operating costs will be put back into the community.”

Owned by Seaside Kauai, a church community, Adams said the church does not make anything from the Ha Coffee Bar.

Instead, it’s the Ha which helps people.

“We have a lot of people who volunteer here, and that helps keep our operating costs low,” Adams said. “If it works out, they may end up with a job here, or they find other jobs in the community. Our goal is not to start something new in the community. We want to partner with community organizations.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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