Big Wave Espresso
333 Dairy Rd., Kahului
M-F, 5:30am-6pm; Sat., 6am-5pm; Sun. 7am-1pm
Getting coffee from a seasoned barista or coffee expert can really take things up a notch. For coffee aficionados like me, it makes all the difference. I just can’t settle for a gas-station cup of Joe. So when I discovered Big Wave Espresso, a drive-through coffee shack at 333 Dairy Road, I was pleasantly surprised to find some of the most exotic gourmet blends on the island.
For Floyd Tatum and his wife, Letty, Big Wave Espresso is a dream six years in the making. Hailing from the Seattle area, they know their coffee and are excited to grow their business here with Maui-grown products. “I have tried all kinds of coffee, and some of the best coffee in the world is grown here,” says Floyd.
The tropical-themed shack is modest, but the coffee menu is extensive. The first time I visited, Floyd offered me the white coffee, saying Big Wave is the only place in Hawaii serving it. White coffee is brewed from a flash-roasted bean, which means less acidity (good news for those with sensitive stomachs). Looking at the hot brewed liquid you’d think it was a murky tea, but don’t let appearances fool you. This brew packs a caffeinated punch. Floyd makes his white coffee with white chocolate and cream, turning it into a decadent delight.
On my second visit Floyd offered up “The Chronic,” which he said he makes every day for himself. It’s strong and sweet, thick and shake-like. It was my second cup of the day, meaning I’d be up for hours—luckily it was Saturday.
Big Wave is all about the beverages and light on food. The only grinds right now are banana-nut or apple-crumb muffins. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, they also serve smoothies, sorbets and energy drinks like Monster. The Tatums are also supporting live music on Maui by throwing an all ages, once-a-month “Rock the Lot” live music night. (Last month the featured band was Mobius Project, whose young members can’t gig inside alcohol-serving establishments.) “Rock the Lot” also raises donations for the Maui Public Library system, so you can sip your coffee with a clear head and conscience.