If you are a tea lover and find yourself in Honolulu, you simply must drop by Lupicia in the Ala Moana Mall. Lupicia actually has a few locations in California, but only one store in Hawaii, on the island Oahu. The store in Hawaii isn’t like the ones on the mainland. Many of the teas you find in Lupicia Hawaii are unique and exclusive to the Honolulu based store, and definitely shouldn’t be missed!
The Hawaii location recently underwent a renovation that transformed the little shop situated in the basement level of the mall into a glorious and vibrant tea boutique. Although it simply goes by Lupicia Fresh Tea, I use the term boutique because shopping there is like shopping at a department store for tea. The selection, quality, and packaging of the teas is really impressive.
What sets this tea store apart from others is the way the teas are organized and showcased. There are easily hundreds of tea blends available at Lupicia. The non-flavored teas are sold in tins or sealed bags, while their specialty or seasonal teas come pre-packaged.
For most of their teas, Lupicia Hawaii lists not only the name and description, but also the plantation and country and where the tea was grown. This is ideal for the tea drinker who takes a holistic and qualitative approach to enjoying their teas.
Opening a tin of Lupicia Hawaii Original Blend Teas is like taking a walk through one of Hawaii’s lushest botanical gardens. The smell and taste of tropical flavors like hibiscus, guava, papaya, and pineapple are distinctively warm and relaxing. Since these island blends are only available at the Hawaii location, you can actually call the store in Honolulu directly to order the teas!
Their most popular Hawaiian blend is Hua Ki, a fragrant black tea infused with mango, papaya, and pineapple flavors. Hua Ki is perfect served as an iced tea in the heat of summer when you need a drink to chill out and start planning your next trip to Hawaii. I buy this blend everytime I go back to visit.
Other than tea, Lupicia also carries some very beautiful tea wares, both modern and traditional. These chic Japanese coolers can be used to brew both hot and cold teas.
Of course, my favorite is the matcha section, complete with all the tea ceremony accoutrements for making your matcha experience both beautiful and unforgettable. Heavy stoneware matcha bowls (chawan), matcha whisks (chasen), and matcha spoons (chasyaku) are available in many different shapes and sizes.
If you are looking for a unique and lovely Mother’s Day gift, you should check out Lupicia’s La Belle Epoque Book of Tea. It includes 30 of Lupicia’s tea samples and 2 petite tins of their Kyoto and La Belle Epoque seasonal teas. This pretty package is based on Okakura Kazuko’s classic, The Book of Tea, originally written in 1906. In it, Okakura shares his thoughts on the serene and simple art of taking tea. This elegant box of assorted teas would be treasured by any avid tea-drinker!
And if you’re interested in seeing Lupicia’s flagship store in Jiyugaoka, Japan, please check out my friend Lisa Kunizaki’s blog on the Chambre de Sucre site. If you visit, you’ll also catch a glimpse of the store’s lovely afternoon tea spot and their unique collection of teapots. With teas a delicious as the ones found in Hawaii, it’s hard to imagine that the store in Japan could get any better. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to visit the Jiyugaoka store for myself someday soon…in the meantime I’ll be quite content with a tall, cool glass of my favorite Hua Ki tea!
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96814
808.941.5500 (call directly to order Hawaii tea blends)
866.574.4832 (for customer service)