Honolulu Organic Juice Bars-Few and Far Between

Mike and Stacy, Extract Juice Bar (Bishop St).If you’ve had really fresh juice made from local organic vegetables and fruits, you know there’s nothing that compares.

This is why people travel to rejuvenation centers and spend thousands of dollars to consume nothing but fresh green juice, wheatgrass shots, and low-glycemic raw food to detox and heal their body and mind. If you’ve not taken such a vacation, isn’t it time you did?

If Green Juice’s So Good for You, Why Not Drink It Every Day?

If you have a little time to shop for produce, it’s easy to juice at home. Begin by juicing equal amounts of organic cucumbers and celery for 80 percent (the base) of your juice, and make the remaining 20 percent out of organic leafy greens (i.e. kale, spinach, cabbage), lemon, ginger, turmeric, apple, carrots, beets, etc.-whatever vegetables and fruits you’d like. Or for those who can’t stand vegetables (I know you’re out there), use vegetables you hate the least!

Green Juice Instead of Coffee?Basic Green Juice recipe

For example, if you want 16oz of juice you’d use:
Celery juice 6-7oz
Cucumber juice 6-7oz
Beets, ginger, lemon, etc 2-3 oz

Since you’re likely pay $10 for this concoction outside the home and the ingredients cost about one-third (your mileage may vary), you’ll definitely get your money’s worth purchasing a home juicing machine-the topic of a future post!

On the other hand-if you are just getting into juicing or don’t have time, you may want to seek out fresh juice bars in your neighborhood. But where, you ask? According to the Pressed Organic Juice Directory by Living Maxwell, the only organic fresh pressed juice available in Honolulu is Suja Juice (a packaged product that may be a month-old!), sold at Whole Foods Market.

The criteria for inclusion in the juice directory is:

  • The juice must be pressed using a Norwalk juicer or some type of commercial hydraulic press
  • 95% of the juice’s ingredients must be organic
  • The juice company must offer a green juice

Just to give you an idea where Honolulu stands, New York City alone has a dozen unique fresh-pressed brands of juice in over 200 locations! How does your city fare?

If the juice directory didn’t allow “High Pressure Processed” (HPP) juice (the subject of my last post), there would be no so called “fresh” cold-pressed organic juice available in Honolulu at this time.

Despite this, I would choose freshly-made juice (regardless of pressed or not) over HPP-preserved juice, as long as it is made with local (chemical-free) or organic produce.  Fortunately, there are a few places in Honolulu where you can have fresh organic green juice, albeit made using centrifugal (rather than press-type) juicers.

Extract (1001 Bishop St) says their produce is 70 percent organic, though how much produce is organic varies from day-to-day. [Note: a few months later, the store manager told me they had stopped using organic produce because it was too expensive and no customers besides me really cared!]. My favorite at Extract is the “Weed Whacker:” Kale, spinach, cucumber, cabbage, celery and lemon with added beets and ginger. You can make your own combination for no extra charge!

Juice Box (3118 Monsarrat Ave) also strives to source organic produce as much as possible, but I was unable to get a percentage from them. [Note: Juice Box has since closed down].

Of the two, I prefer Extract because of their high organic produce ratio and low prices: Only $7 for 24oz juice (even if you leave out the ice) compared to around $10 for the same size at Juice Box. Juice Box also loses points for using frozen fruits, and blending fresh juices with pasteurized juices such as in their Aloha Cooler (coconut juice and watermelon).

Obviously, location is a big factor, too, and perhaps the most convenient place for organic juice is the deli at Down to Earth (4 locations on Oahu). Though some of you may not appreciate the supermarket atmosphere, I applaud Down to Earth for serving all-organic juices at reasonable prices.

Always remember: if something doesn’t say “organic” you can be pretty certain it is made with conventionally-grown ingredients.

A rank below Extract, Juice Box and Down to Earth are several cafes which also carry juice, including Blue Tree Cafe, Diamond Health Bar and HiBlend.

On par with the many health bars/cafes is Lanikai Juice, which is unfortunately losing quality as it franchises and grows from 2 locations to 4. You know it’s over when a juice bar smells more like disinfectant than fresh vegetables and fruits. At least Lanikai Juice sells wheatgrass shots, but nothing is organic.

At the bottom of the so-called juice bars is Jamba Juice. Scary thing is not that long ago I used to like them-since my first swig of wheatgrass was at Jamba Juice on the mainland. However, few of of their locations (and none of those in Hawaii) carry wheatgrass. And practically all of the juices (other than carrot) are from concentrate.

Despite the fresh oranges in their showcase, most of their orange juice comes right out of the dispenser on the wall. See for yourself!

By the way, if it’s wheatgrass (or kamut) grass shots you’re after, it’s got to be The Wheatgrass Place (1215 Center St).

Don’t Assume Juice and Smoothies are Vegan (or Even Healthy)!

There is a place in Chinatown I used to recommend not long ago, that (I believed) made some of the best smoothies using exotic fruits such as jackfruit, durian and sapodilla, (also know as chikoo), as well as azuki beans and avocado, etc.

On a recent visit, I asked the clerk whether the durian smoothie contained sugar. When he replied “yes”, I asked him to leave the sugar out (he said it wouldn’t taste good without sugar). Imagine my surprise (having drunk it previously, and assuming it was vegan) when he asked “do you want to leave out the condensed milk?!” Of course, I omitted condensed milk and it tasted the way durian’s supposed to taste (not as horrible as it smells!). Nevertheless, I won’t be going back because I have my doubts about the origin of their fruits.

It just goes to show you, you need to ask what’s in everything (and leave out the sugar, dairy, and any other animal products) if you really care about your health. 

The Future of Juice

It will be great when organic green juices are as widely available as soft drinks. Earlier this year, I was surprised to learn that the only green juice available from the local Whole Foods was Kale-Apple juice made from mostly apple juice-and it was not organic. Most juices found in the supermarket are pasteurized, while others are not 100 percent juice.

Final Tips

  • Make fresh juice at home using organic ingredients, whenever possible
  • Drink primarily green juices for the greatest nutrition
  • If you visit a juice bar, ask if they use local and preferably organic (i.e. not-genetically modified or chemically-treated) fruits and vegetables
  • Stick to juice made from fresh ingredients.  Many juice cafes use frozen fruit and packaged juice, such as coconut water, that has been pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys the phytonutrients such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes

To understand why most packaged juice is bad for your health, read Food Babe’s “Don’t Fall Victim To These Tricky Juice Labels

If you know of any other organic fresh juice bars on Oahu, would you please let me know in the comments?

This post is also available in: Japanese

8 thoughts on “Honolulu Organic Juice Bars-Few and Far Between

  1. Denise

    You’re really beginning to enroll me into juicing! I was just about to ask “how do I go about owning one of these juicers?” when you mentioned a future post to come. In the thousand$ range is extravagant in my mind, but looking forward to your insights :)

  2. Jan&Doug

    There’s a fabulous juice bar called Impressed Juice on Fort Street, they use a Norwalk juicer and make local and organic creative juices and they’re also at the farmers markets.

  3. Lisa

    Motivated to do some juicing which I have not done in quite awhile even though I have a juicer. Thanks for getting me inspired!

  4. Jim Dunlop

    Good stuff, Will. Recently we had a new organic juice bar open up locally (near Victoria). It is part of a new, Vegan “incubator” project that a local woman has started up. She has a Vegan cafe, and encourages people to do internships at the cafe, where like-minded people can get together, learn, share, work, get inspired, and then go forth to share their gifts with the world, in whatever way they feel compelled.

    In this case, the daughter of the woman who started this project spun off her own business and struck out on her own with a juice bar. It’s very exciting, and I hope we can look forward to all kinds of new Vegan businesses like this start mushrooming…

  5. william Post author

    Great stuff, Jim. I’ve thought about doing a vegan incubator to spawn other vegan businesses. Would like to hear more about it sometime. Thanks for commenting!

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