Starbucks Reserve Hawaii Ka’u, reviewed

Starbucks Reserve Hawaii Ka'u

I have always been a big fan of Hawaiian coffees, because they typically have the richness and deep berry flavors of Sumatran and other south east Asian coffees with a smoothness that you don’t find anywhere else. So, naturally, I was excited to see a Hawaiian coffee enter the Starbucks Reserve lineup, Hawaii Ka’u. What I didn’t expect was how popular this coffee was (at least at my local store). Other Clover fans went nuts for this coffee and the store was sold out in just over a week! Fortunately, I was able to get a few tastes before it was gone (I even had two cups – one for me and one for a friend – from the very last bag in the store) – but I was unable to snap an interesting picture of the bag, so we’ll have to live with the stock image of the product.

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The coffee promised to deliver a note of coconut and it didn’t let me down. It reminded me of an Almond Joy: dark chocolate, coconut and toasted almond. The coconut was subtle and mellow, and it didn’t stand out from the other flavors as a distinctly tropical note, just added a mellow sweetness to the other flavors in the coffee. There were no smoky or burned notes in this dark coffee, but the coffee had a very deep flavor and very, very smooth feel to it.I preferred it hot, but it also worked quite well over ice. It wasn’t as refreshing as some of the lighter coffees can be when served over ice, as it had a more substantial feel and was something to be sipped, not gulped on a hot day.

I think that this was one of the most expensive Reserve coffees that I’ve had to date. From that angle, it’s surprising that it sold out so fast. On the other hand, fans of Hawaiian coffee clearly knew that this was not one to miss. I’m staying hopeful that they bring this one back (even if I have to wait until next season).