Have you ever had someone whip out a digital scale when you ordered a cup of coffee? That’s how you know you’re at Memphis Belle. There, the brewed coffee comes three ways: Chemex, V60 and cold drip. The cold drip apparatus looks like a mad science lab, but everything coffee here is approached with solid science.
Doesn’t this look cray cray?
Cold drip coffee maker
I thought I was a huge coffee nerd until I met Jaleh Edwardson, who co-owns Memphis Belle with her husband Justin. She’s so passionate about her coffee that when she decided to move to Maui from New Zealand, she resolved to bring her coffee culture with her.
“I lived in New Zealand in Wellington for ten years and I got accustomed to having good specialty coffee,” says Jaleh. “I love it. I love coffee. I love good coffee. So as my husband and I decided to move, we thought, what are we going to do about our coffee? Coffee is not the same in America.”
They scanned the Pacific for the right spot for their relocation and decided on Maui. The cafe idea came with them.
“We approached a friend of ours who owned the Memphis Belle Cafe in Wellington, New Zealand,” says Jaleh. “We said, ‘This is the perfect coffee house, we love the vibe. How can we do what you’re doing, but on Maui?’ So we purchased the rights to the branding, the logos, the naming rights. We asked them to come to Maui for six weeks and train us and build and set up to be a successful cafe. They helped us source and buy our equipment.”
The coffee is phenomenal. Pour-over style is the ultimate in the coffee hipster world. Special folded coffee paper cones are rinsed. Coffee is grinded on the spot, after you take your pick from Jar A, B or C. I went for a Colombian strain named Project Honey for its peach and apple profiles, a red graph on a card on display helps me divine my palate. Coffee blooms, then de-gases for your enjoyment.
The Chemex and the V60 are players in the slow food movement, and morning cups here are more about the coffee than your schedule so be patient. There is plenty to gaze at on the red walls while you wait. If you want a faster cup, try the espresso–perhaps their infamous New Zealand “Flat White.” It’s sort of like a cappuccino but the milk is prepared a bit wetter and glossier.
“Our coffee is fresh,” says Jaleh. “It’s roasted and four days later it’s ready. We open our bags according to freshness and readiness. We grind it as you order it. That Faema espresso machine is a Ferrari. It’s about $15,000 worth of machinery and the only one on Maui.”
Jaleh teamed up with Madame Donut to provide some of the magic in the Memphis Belle kitchen. You’ll find Maui-made artisanal doughnuts now, along with their bagels and cream cheese selections, and the cafe offers fresh vegetable juices, too. Jaleh and Madame agree that it’s a match made in cafe heaven.
“Coffee and donuts are a classic combo of a pick-me-Up,” says Madame Donut. “Feeling down or low energy? Get a coffee and donut! It’s a jolt of energy and fun! And in the case of my collaboration with Memphis Belle Coffee House, the best tasting coffee and donuts on Maui! I’ve always wanted to develop a really excellent Coffee Program to go with my donuts but I don’t have the resources nor the time to put into it at the moment. Then a couple of customers mentioned Memphis Belle and I had to check them out. I fell in love with their coffees and the people. They’re my instant family with dreams and purpose that are aligned with mine.”
The cafe sources coffee locally but also provides the Memphis Belle New Zealand coffee by Flight Coffee. Flight travels the world for what they call “best practices” farmed coffee.
“I want to bring the third wave of coffee culture to Maui,” says Jaleh. “I want people to have their Maui coffee and taste the world, too.”
Part of that plan includes evening events.
“Our courtyard here is really underutilized so what we are going to do is open mic nights on the first Fridays of the month from 6pm to 9pm,” says Jaleh. “We did one already–Madame Donut did a Monte Cristo that was a huge hit. We had so many performers! It was a great night.”
Catch their next open mic on Jan. 9.
Aloha Open Market, next to Maui Mana.
1794 S. Kihei Rd.