There are plenty of fans of this sunset café with limited breakfast, lunch, and even more limited dinner options. Several indoor and many patio tables overlook the ocean sunsets, but the main attraction here seems to be waking up with a view of the beach and a giant cinnamon roll. Many locals rave about the quality of the coffee here, but it’s hard to blame them given their lack of legitimate alternatives.
The coffee, mostly 100% Kona, once reflected the rest of the Big Island: they know how to grow it, but they couldn’t brew a proper espresso to save their lives from a lava flow. However, by 2008 they switched to Kona Coffee & Tea as their supplier and replaced their dual two-group La San Marco machines with a four-group La Marzocco Linea from Santa Cruz, CA’s Pacific Espresso.
Where they once pulled oversized espresso shots with a minimal pale crema over a large volume of liquid, the shots are now properly short, potent, and dare we suggest: sweet. Even if there is a minimalist crema that’s mostly gone AWOL. Flavorwise, it has a sweet smokiness of some caramel and sweet tobacco — clearly, their espresso blend is (fortunately) not Hawaiian. A great improvement over their sad standards in 2005, even if their baked goods are still dry and doughy.
Read the updated review of Island Lava Java.
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