A Visit to The Java House
An honest review of an Iowa City's most hoppin' coffee shop
|A Pleasant View of Iowa City from The Java House|
Today, I visited The Java House, a local business connected to The Heirloom Salad Co. in downtown Iowa City. I walked past a sea of homeless people who were being very friendly to each other, granting high fives and handshakes to their buddies on the street while sometimes calling things out for the public to hear. Nonetheless, I speed walked through the large door of the Java House and found myself in a busy, dim coffeehouse with the low hum of alternative music playing in the background.
The strong artwork popped out from the onyx colored walls and drew me into the atmosphere. Above me, moldings decorated a grey ceiling decorated with wooden ceiling fans with ornate glass coverings around the light bulbs. I enjoyed the atmosphere from the minute I walked in. I peeked in the dessert display case and ordered a 'chocolate chip brulee' and a chilled raspberry white truffle coffee. I glanced at the prices, four dollars and some odd cents were the prices of both of my treats.This pricing is common in coffee shops, especially local shops that compete with large corporate coffee megastars such as Starbucks. At Starbucks, you get a venti (large) coffee for five dollars and a handful of change. Today, I paid about four and a half dollars for the same thing. The pony tailed and beard decorated man with large rim glasses took my name and walked away. I awkwardly looked for a place to sit after having been left hanging.
|Intricate drawings line the walls |
of The Java House
The Java House has seating on the right side of the counter (near all of the action), seating by the front window (with the best lighting) and a large seating area in the back where one will find rows of Apple laptops illuminating the tables. The service was average in terms of how fast they staff made one’s coffee. A barista had an obvious cold and sneeze at least twelve times from behind the counter during my visit. As I was waiting, I looked at the floor and found it littered with straw wrappers and other pieces of garbage. Later, after I was finished with my food, I ventured to another part of the coffee shop. The floor was flaked with bits of trash in that area as well.
I tried my cake first. You can never tell how tasty something is from the first bite. At first, you are taken overboard by a wave of flavor that your taste buds haven’t experienced since the last time you ate. The second bite is when your taste buds say, hey, oh yeah, it’s that flavor again. The third bite is when you can truly figure out if the food you are consuming is good or not. By the third bite, I realized that my cake, though filled with chocolatey goodness, was not even mildly cool. The cake which was less of a cake and more of a cheese cake, was room temperature. It also was chewy on the top. I peeled back the top with my fork. My cake was definitely not made that day and it wasn’t being stored at the right temperature. I didn’t end up finishing my cake although I wanted to considering I payed almost five dollars for it.
Although the cake wasn’t ideal, the creamy flavors in my coffee complimented the cake’s rich flavor. Again, I ordered a chilled raspberry white truffle coffee. I was really pleased with my choice. The coffee was smooth and cold with a nice raspberry aftertaste. I would definitely try pairing a drink with raspberry undertones with a dessert with dark chocolate in it.
|More artwork on the|
walls of The Java House
Despite the lack of caring put into the cleanliness of the establishment and the poor temperature control where desserts are stored, The Java House was very busy. Customers of every age seemed to flock in for a cup of joe.
After visiting The Java House, the likelihood of me returning is still in question. While the coffee was really good, I’m sure I could find another local coffee shop that offered just as tasty drinks but with proper temperature control and a cleaner establishment. I would give The Java House two out of five stars. The reason being is that food safety starts with temperature control. If you aren’t refrigerating foods that need to be refrigerated and then leave them in the case for a few days, chances are, someone will eventually get sick from eating the food. Now, I’m not saying that if you eat at The Java House you will get sick, I’m just pointing out that The Java House should pay more attention to important details that guests will notice no matter how busy the place is.
I think that the Java House has a really good thing going for it, and it definitely is attracting a crowd. With a little bit more upkeep and attention to detail, The Java House could become an even more popular attraction for the citizens of Iowa City.