First Look: Ānuenue Exquisite Tea in Kailua
New tea shop offers more than just oolong and Earl Grey.
The cold-brew iced teas and puddings at Ānuenue Exquisite Tea in Kailua are served in reusable glass containers. No boba here.
Photos: Kristine Wada
Choosy tea drinkers, rejoice!
If you prefer your brew sans boba, Ānuenue Exquisite Tea is the spot for you.
Tucked into the same lot as Cinnamon’s in Kailua, Ānuenue Tea serves tea tea—the tapioca-free kind that’s steeped with leaves and hot water.
The day we visited was overcast and cool—perfect tea-sipping weather. The interior looks like a modern beach home, with light wood paneling, mini air plant terrariums and a vibrant living wall. Tea sachets secured to the air vents infuse the space with a sweet, floral fragrance.
The menu options are hung high against a side wall by clothespins. If you’re stumped on what to order—the menu boasts some curiously named teas (“Matchajito?”)—ask for help. Workers behind the counter are happy to discuss the characteristics of different teas. They’ll even try to match a tea to a customer’s taste.
“You look like a London Fog,” one worker advised. The London Fog is a gloomy day drink: It’s an Earl Grey tea with citrusy bergamot notes blended with warm vanilla and the milk of your choosing. The drink is topped with a fluffy cloud of foam.
We also ordered a matcha latte. We spotted a wooden whisk behind the counter and looked forward to the process of rich matcha powder being whipped into froth and then poured into white milk, but this process happened behind the scenes, and, instead, our order arrived already looking a lovely vivid green. The cup tasted delicious, smooth and slightly sweet due to the substitution of coconut milk (one of the many milk options).
In addition to lattes, Ānuenue brews flavored teas such as Green Berry Breeze ($3.45 for hot, $5.45 for cold—more expensive because cold-brew teas come in glass jars) and a variety of black teas, herbal teas, and specialty and premium teas.
Gluten-free baked goods at the counter pair well with the teas, but more substantial items are available, too. The Signature Tea Salad ($9.45), a bed of lettuce topped with tidy piles of walnuts, fried garlic, avocados, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and fermented tea leaves, is a unique combination of flavors; together, the crunchy seeds, savory garlic and tangy pickled leaves make for a refreshing mix and a light lunch.
If tea salad isn’t your thing, you could go with the apple, kabocha, quinoa crunch salad ($8.45) or the spicy avocado pasta salad ($8.45). Other lunch options include the quinoa summer roll and the chicken salad wrap, available in spicy Thai or pesto ($8.45).
The pesto chicken salad wrap and tea salad are two non-drink options at Ānuenue.
For dessert, we sampled Ānuenue’s organic lavender oolong pudding, served in a reusable 3-ounce glass jar. Puddings are regularly available in original, matcha and Earl Grey ($3.85).
On our way out, we picked up bottles of cold-brew tea in Neighbor’s Mango and Summer Krush ($5.45 each). The tea is served in ice-filled glass bottles. Return with the bottle and receive 50 cents off your next tea purchase. Even as the ice melts, the tea tastes rich and refreshing. All teas are served unsweetened, but the team will add raw honey or milk to your taste.
Ānuenue Tea bills itself as “healthy, authentic and fresh tea with a splash of rainbow.” The shop is a charming spot for a thoughtful, unhurried cup of tea over a book or laptop. It’s continuing to evolve, with new menu items and, according to Ānuenue’s social media accounts, updates to the décor. We’ll stay tuned for more.
Ānuenue Exquisite Tea, 25 Maluniu St., Suite 102, Kailua, 498-7888