Get Fresh Hawaiian Coffee Beans Delivered with Grok Coffee’s New Environmentally Friendly Subscription Service
O‘ahu coffee fans can get locally roasted beans without having to leave home.
Photos: Katrina Valcourt
Leaving the house can be a real chore these days—masks make my glasses fog up, sanitizing everything irritates my skin. I’m more than happy to stay home, and there seems to be a very likely possibility of restrictions coming back into place soon. Lucky for all of us, Grok Coffee, a hub for local coffee from coffee guru Shawn Steiman, just launched a coffee subscription service a few weeks ago that checks two world-saving boxes: keeping us away from crowds and reducing waste.
Normally offering tours and serving at events, two things that have been put on hold during the pandemic, Grok started its delivery arm at the end of July, working with local farmers and roasters to bring fresh beans straight to the people. Lately I’ve been ordering my coffee online to get it shipped to my door, but I’m not a fan of the waste it creates, having beans in a bag in another bag.
Grok’s not a fan of waste, either. Members who sign up for the subscription get their beans in a reusable glass jar with a recyclable label held to the outside with a rubber band.
I was nearing the end of my last order from Big Island Coffee Roasters when I heard about Grok and gave it a shot. Here’s how it works: Sign up as a member to be added to the email list and find out what types of coffee (whole beans only) will be available the following week. You’ll need to input your credit card information and address to start your account, even if you’re not ready to make an order. There will always be one Hawai‘i-grown and one world coffee to choose from; both are locally roasted. The Hawai‘i coffee prices usually range from $2.40 to $2.80 per ounce, with world coffees from $1.40 to $1.80, and an 8-ounce minimum per order. (I cross-checked the price per ounce directly with the roaster one week to see if there was crazy markup, and nope, it’s almost exactly the same.)
You’ll also need to pay a $10 refundable deposit for each 12-ounce jar you need. Jars can be returned whenever you get your next batch of beans, and Grok will wash and reuse them. Choose whether you want $7 home delivery on Friday or free pickup on Saturday at the Kaka‘ako Farmers Market, or $2 pickup from Mānoa Chocolate in Kailua or Broken Boundary Brewery in Kalihi. Orders must be made by 5 p.m. on Friday for your coffee to be ready the following week.
The week I signed up, choices included a Kona coffee roasted by Kona Coffee & Tea for $2.59 an ounce and a Colombia Monserrate roasted by Honolulu Coffee Co. for $1.43. I went with 8 ounces of the Kona, only slightly more expensive than what I normally pay for local coffee.
All Friday morning, I wondered when my beans would arrive, like a kid waiting for Christmas. Unsure if someone would ring the doorbell, knock or just quietly place them like a gift under the Christmas tree to be discovered later, I was delighted to find a jar had appeared on my doorstep by 11 a.m.—early enough for me to have a cup without being up all night. It tasted super smooth, having been roasted only four days prior, according to the label.
I’m no coffee snob (I brew pretty much everything in a French press), but I do like discovering companies I’ve never heard of, such as Kona Coffee & Tea, without having to do any work. And Grok’s 8-ounce minimum means I can try more types, more frequently. Other local roasters so far have included Big Island Coffee Roasters and ChadLou’s Coffee Roasters, with this week’s choices being a Waialua Estate coffee roasted by Downtown Coffee Honolulu and a Sumara Gayo roasted Imua Coffee Roasters.