Kau Kau Kitchen
by Leilehua Yuen         

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     Coffee tree in bloom - Holualoa, Kona, Hawai`i. The unique combination of rainfall cycles, volcanic soil, and tropical climate produce some of the finest coffee in the world right here in our own Hawaiian islands.

     As a small girl I could never understand why coffee cake was called coffee cake when it tasted nothing like coffee! So, when I was all grown up and a cooking writer, I decided to create my very own coffee cake that tasted of coffee!

Kona Koffee Kake

1-1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown or raw sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 can crushed pineapple
3/4 cup juice-milk mix (juice from the crushed pineapple mixed with milk to make 3/4 cup)

     Heat oven to 375 degrees f. Grease a round 9X1-1/2 inch pan or a square 8X8X2 inch pan. Blend the sugar, coconut, and pineapple in a mixing bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture. Add the remaining ingredients to the mix in the bowl and beat vigorously 1 minute. Pour the batter into the pan evenly. Bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from it's pan and place it on a serving dish. Spread the reserved sugar mix over the top of the cake. Serve warm with butter and, of course, coffee!


Island Irish Coffee

1 small tub whipped cream
fresh Kona coffee
turbinado (raw) sugar
your favorite Irish whiskey

     Warm mugs by rinsing them with hot water. I each cup place 1 ounce of whisky and 1 teaspoon sugar. Fill each cup with the hot coffee, top with the whipped cream, and serve.


Spiced Coffee

1 cup ground Kona coffee
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground orange peel
1 tablespoon ground allspice

     Mix the ingredients well. Brew the mix as if it were standard ground coffee.


Kona Mocha

2 tablespoons instant cocoa mix
fresh hot Kona coffee
whipped cream (optional)
grated chocolate (optional)

     Place the cocoa mix in a coffee cup and add the coffee. Stir until they are blended. You may wish to garnish with whipped cream and/or grated chocolate.


The Double Whammy

1 scoop Kona Coffee ice cream
fresh hot Kona coffee

     Half fill a cup with coffee and drop in a scoop of ice cream. Finish filling the cup with coffee. Substitute chocolate ice cream for the coffee ice cream to make Mauna Kea Mocha or use vanilla for Hapa Haole Coffee.


Kona Freeze

1 cup ice cubes
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 cup strong Kona coffee, chilled

     Crack the ice in a blender and add the coffee. Spoon in the ice cream and blend about 10 to 15 seconds. Serve immediately. As in the Double Whammy, chocolate or coffee ice cream can be substituted.

If you have recipes you'd like to share or find, come visit the Kau Kau Kitchen Forum.


Coffee makes one think of Coffee Shops. A few years ago I had a standing Thursday night gig at Kope Kope, a little coffee shop in the Hilo Shopping Center. There, I was privileged to meet some wonderful people in Hawaiian music.


Leilehua and Aloha Joe at Kope Kope


Sherry and Mary, two of my hula students, dancing `Ulupalakua at Kope Kope





Performing at Kope Kope - Kope Kope was quite kindly to me, and on nights when there was hardly anyone in the house the staff did not mind my trotting out brand new stuff to practice and work out the kinks. Here is the Kope Kope debut of Hilo Rains, my horrid nasty cold, mistakes, and all. MAN, was I struggling that night! I had this horrible cold and was eating those herbal throat lozenges like crazy. Didn't dare get to close to any of the audience for fear of making everyone in the house sick. The clip was shot by my hula student Michel.