Coffee Review: Honolulu Latte at Honolulu Coffee

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Address: 2098 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6M 4M4
Phone: (604) 620-2168

Kona, Jamaica Blue Mountain, Kapi Luwak are the usual names people would associate with premium coffee.

Honolulu Coffee in Kerrisdale is one of the newly cafe opened selling coffee with the taste from Hawaii. They serve 100% Kona (pour over) as well as their famous Honolulu Latte.

I have reservations about getting pour over without seeing how the barista doing it first; especially I am going to pay for an $8 cup of coffee, I want it to be done right.

I order the Honolulu latte just to be safe.

I always pay attention to the finer details when a barista makes the drink, some have bad habits like guessing the temperature of the milk, the time of the pull of the shot, not warming the cup and not using an espresso glass for shots are common. The girl who make my drink, did none of the above and her latte art skills is reasonably decent.

Upon picking up my cup of latte, the smell of nuts comes through the nose. It just smell nutty and sweet. First sip of the crema and the foam, there is very little bitterness to it. My instinct tells me, this is going not the latte I want. Take another sip deeper, I know what the problem is – their use of nut syrup. I think the nut syrup overpowers the espresso, the sweetness makes this tastes like a bottled latte or “nut flavored” bottle coffee. I always enjoy my caffeinated drinks without any flavorings, and this is exactly what is happening. The milk is done right, the espresso is done right, the syrup ruins the show.

Since this is just a quick review, I will give them another chance for their staple regular latte. I have not tried any of the food (generally I am not a fan of cafe food) to review other aspect.

PS. The girl who makes my drink, is also being coached to make proper pour over, I can see they are showing her the color, ratio of the beans, fineness of the grind etc. I am happy that I didn’t order the pour over, maybe next time.

UPDATE: 05/26/2017
I am able to give their regular Latte a try. The Latte that I have is made by the guy who coached the girl I mentioned on the previous visit. He takes his time to make the drink, however the Latte tastes flat and characterless. The espresso has a nutty profile, and I believe it is the same espresso used for the Honolulu Latte. Because this time it comes without the macadamia syrup, and the milk ratio is off a little. My Latte is like an unsweetened almond flavored milk.

Honolulu Coffee is a new, trendy, tropical looking cafe in the corner of Kerrisdale, and is just that – a premium feeling experience. With the abundance of good cafes on the same streets, it’s easy to find a great established coffee shop like Artigiano and La Cuisson. To me, paying a visit to Honolulu Coffee is just out of curiosity to prove a point – great looking coffee shop often fails to impress. I knew the coffee will not be good based on the amount of marketing they put into the business. This ends up to be just another premium chain coffee shop that offer passable beverages.