Grandma’s Coffee House
Location: 9232 Kula Highway, Maui, Hawaii
Why: Brilliant coffee grown, roasted, and brewed on-site
On the road from paradise to the moon, don’t forget to stop at Grandma’s.
Just a few miles from one of the longest continuous climbs in the world, the 36 snaking miles of perfect tropical pavement that winds from coastal Maui to the 10,000 foot peak of Haleakala, Grandma’s Coffee House is a treasure born of time and tradition, a tribute to history and quality and an unwavering sense of pride in place.
This is no ordinary coffee shop. The coffee here is not simply sourced locally; it is grown in the backyard, hand picked, dried naturally in the Hawaiian sun, and roasted on-site, brought through its life on the slopes of Maui’s biggest volcano without exposure to chemicals or pesticides. It is pure, beautiful, and unbelievably good.
It has been that way for four generations, since Grandma first began picking and roasting in 1918. The Coffee House has expanded its repertoire since then, adding breakfast and lunch menus and daily fresh-baked goodies to satiate even a Haleakala-induced appetite.
And what an appetite you’ll have, should you chose to tackle the mighty volcano. Ridden from the coastal town of Paia, as the locals do, the climb will take at least three hours (Ryder Hesjedal holds the record of 2 hours, 41 minutes, 16 seconds), and most amateurs should expect to be spinning for closer to five. It rises at a unrelenting 5-7-percent grade, with a few steeper pitches and only handful of flat spots, entirely on the sort of pristine tarmac made possible by a climate devoid of seasonal temperature swings.
It is a climb of continuous transformation, following the ever-increasing steepness of the volcano’s cone through dramatic climactic changes that will occur as one ascends. What begins as a straight road through the sizzling lower valley slowly adds curves and removes degrees, offering up 22 switcbacks between miles 14 and 20, and another 10 between mile 22 and the summit. Be warned: the wind-blown final kilometer is also the steepest.
You’ll pass through multiple climate zones and the temperature can drop more than 30 degrees from bottom to top, so bring plenty of waterproof and thermal clothing, or have a sag vehicle meet you at the top. And don’t forget $5, the fee to enter the National Park, which begins at about 6,700 feet.
On your way down, turn left onto Kekaulike Avenue to climb back up to Grandma’s. Eat your fill, because it’s downhill all the way home.
For a mellower day, climb up to Grandma’s and continue along Kula Highway. The road, which skirts the outside of Haleakala at about 3,000 feet, offers phenomenal ocean views and an endless, perfectly manicured roller coaster of dips, corners, and short Hawaiian bergs. Make it an out and back and finish the day with a coffee.
For more friendly local knowledge, stop by Maui Cyclery in Paia.