Island Lava Java

Overall Rating: 6.950

Address: 75-5799 Ali'i Dr, Suite A1
Cross Street(s): At Alii Sunset Plaza
City, State ZIP: Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Phone: 808.327.2161
Hours: M-Su 6am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Cafe
Cafe Rating: 7.00
Barista: 7
Savvy: 7
Ambiance: 7
Presentation: 7
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: La Marzocco
Coffee Rating: 6.90
Aroma: 6
Body: 8
Brightness: 8
Crema: 5
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Kona Coffee & Tea Company
Cup Manufacturer: BIA Cordon Bleu
Price: $2.25
Last Update: 03/09/2008
First Reviewed: 08/29/2005
Notes: Coffee Sales; Outdoor Seating

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 overlooking ocean sunsets, but the main attraction here seems to be waking up with a view of the beach and a giant cinnamon roll. 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's Pacific Espresso. And 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 sweet - even if there's a minimalist crema that's half missing. 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.