Tea-licious Cafe Offers European-Style Treats & Teas

August 4, 2019, 10:00 AM HST (Updated July 31, 2019, 9:03 AM)
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Brie, Apple and Fig-Jam Sandwich at Tea-licious Cafe. PC: Karen Rose

Twentieth Century French Philosopher Bernard-Paul Heroux said there was no trouble so great or grave that could not be diminished by a nice cup of tea. Fortunately, for tea lovers living on Hawai‘i Island, Tea-licious Cafe in Kailua-Kona offers the perfect European-style cafe and tea shop where friends can get away from Wi-Fi and gather to enjoy each other’s company the old fashioned way—face to face.

“I wanted to open this up this cafe to create a place where you can take your grandma for coffee or tea,” said owner Ivonne Lietz. “In Germany, there’s places old people go and have a cup of coffee in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I intentionally don’t have Wi-Fi, and it really melts my heart when I look around and talking to one another, sharing a cup of tea and meeting with each other. It’s more like a living room.”

Lietz grew up in Germany and worked for many years in food and beverage at five-star hotels. She loved to travel, so she packed her bags and set off around the world, waiting tables in cities all over Europe, as well as Australia and Africa.

Chia and Oats Pudding with Fresh Fruit at Tea-licious Cafe. PC: Karen Rose

“Since I’ve worked in food and beverage, I’ve always had this idea to open up a café,” she said. “So for 20 years I imagined having a café that’s old and antique, but it was never the right time. Once you have a cafe, it takes all your time. So I had my son, and now he’s 11. When he was 8 years old, I decided it was the right time. So here we are.”

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One of the most popular menu items at Tea-licious is their Portuguese custard tart, a flaky pastry filled with a delicious, sweet custard. Lietz was inspired to make them from her travels throughout Germany and Portugal.

Matcha Tea Latte at at Tea-licious Cafe. PC: Karen Rose

“When I was in Hamburg, they had the best Portuguese bakery and they had these delicious pastries,” said Lietz. “I found them all over Portugal as well and I just loved them. When I came to the United States, I noticed were not many bakeries here, so I just started baking more because I missed the German pastries.”

Charming decor at Tea-licious Cafe. PC: Karen Rose

In addition to the delicious baked goods, Tea-licious offers European-style sandwiches served on fresh-baked baguettes, like the kind one would find walking down the streets of Paris. For example, the Brie, Apple, Spinach and Fig-Jam is perfection. Other sandwich options are the Tomato, Mozzarella, Pesto and Spinach, and the Salami, Havarti Pickles and Lettuce. The Salmon, Herbed Cream Cheese and Cucumber is another favorite.

“Most of the sandwiches, like the brie-apple, were from our tea parties,” explained Lietz. “For a while we were doing many tea parties, so my friend and I were thinking of what kind of sandwiches would be good to serve. Were loved the idea of a brie, apple and fig-jam sandwich. So when I opened up the cafe, we put it on the menu. Then we added the muffuletta and the salami and pickles. Eventually we just kept the best ones and now offer them on the daily menu.”

Portuguese Custard Tart at Tea-licious Cafe. PC: Karen Rose

The breakfast menu includes favorites such as the Chai and Oats Pudding with Fresh Fruit, Yogurt Parfaits, Ham and Cheese Croissant, and an assortment of freshly baked pastries and cakes. And of course, there are plenty of teas to choose from as well.

“If you want to have free Wi-Fi, don’t come to me,” Lietz joked. “But, if you want to bring your granny, or your daughter for a little tea and something special, this is the place to be.”

Tea-licious Cafe is located at 75-159 Lunapule Road. Call (808) 209-8282.

Karen Rose
Karen Rose is a writer and journalist living on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel, arts and entertainment. She never met a food she didn't like—except black licorice.
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