Paige’s Picks: Java Junction Café
Most people have their own personal love affair with coffee and are passionate and particular about where they get their fix.
Everyone is familiar with the coffee giants such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Tim Hortons, and most people will defend their preference out of these three if prompted. However, nearly all coffee drinkers can agree that there’s something special about a local coffee shop where they can go to get away from the frantic pace of life for a few peaceful hours.
Java Junction in Brockport is one of these caffeinated sanctuaries.
To be honest, I went in with relatively high expectations because I’m a big fan of the quaint and cozy coffee shops in my hometown, but Java Junction definitely exceeded those expectations.
The inside of the café has a uniform decor of dark green and brown wood, with a large handwritten menu board hanging behind the register. I scanned this menu board for a while, taking my time to choose from the large number of offerings they had for drinks, flavors, and small snacks.
Eventually I wound up ordering a sesame bagel with cream cheese, a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, and a single espresso shot hot mocha with whole milk. Then, I spent the next two hours snacking and working on some applications and housing forms comfortably before being able to relax for the weekend.
There’s a raised portion of the floor that forms a nook against the big bay-style window. The natural light comes in easily and creates a comfortable atmosphere that’s perfect for studying or any busywork you may have finish. There’s a pale blue, well-loved couch and dark wood coffee table right in this area beside a couple of two-person tables, and this couch is where I was situated for the afternoon.
Now, for the real crux of this review, the actual food and coffee.
I’m very picky about mochas, and I usually have them iced but I decided to take a risk today and order this one hot. Mostly because it was chilly outside, but I figured it would be easier to get the flavors right without the ice watering everything down. Ultimately this was the right decision, as this mocha was absolutely delicious.
In case you’re not a coffee drinker or you’re intimidated by the complexity of drink terms, a mocha is typically used to refer to a latte with a chocolate syrup or flavor shot in addition to the usual espresso and steamed milk. This definition is pretty standard everywhere, and Java Junction also sticks to it on their menu.
I did have to wait for the drink to cool down a little bit, but this didn’t take very long since I placed my order ‘for here’ and it was served without a lid (though they were available on a side table near the counter, in case I wanted to take the rest to go). The first sip was very well balanced between the foam and the actual latte, rather than just being entirely milk foam. The espresso taste was complemented greatly by the chocolate flavor, and vice versa. It was a very light drink despite the whole milk, as well.
I also note that I had this mocha without any additions, and in my opinion, it didn’t need any sugar. Many people like sugar in their lattes to take the bitter edge from the espresso, but I found that it was not bitter nor overly sweet. Generally, the espresso that was used in the mocha was very good quality and had a good depth of flavor, not simply a one note espresso bean taste.
As for the bagel, it was toasted with a smear of cream cheese and then brought out to the couch where I sat a few minutes after I got settled. Bagels are held to a very high standard in New York City, and even up here in the Western NY region. Luckily, Java Junction hit the nail right on the head with this one.
It was toasted perfectly, not too brown but just enough to get that good crunch on the outside. Speaking of the outside, the sesame seeds added a slightly nutty taste to the bagel, as well as a nice texture to balance out the soft cream cheese.
Below the satisfying crunch of the exterior, the inside of the bagel was doughy yet airy, with cream cheese filling some of the air pockets where it had been cut in half. There was a great balance of a chewy sweet bread texture and a toasty crunch over it.
The cream cheese was also perfectly neutral, exactly what you would expect from a plain cream cheese. It was spread on the bagel about half an inch thick and while I have no specific stand out statements about it, I also have no complaints.
Now, for that cookie I mentioned. For starters, it was H-U-G-E. It was about five inches across, and all of the cookies in the front display case were very obviously baked in-house, seeing as no two were exactly the same.
The edge was solid and crisp, with a slightly darker color, but the inside was soft with semi-sweet chocolate chips scattered throughout. At the risk of gushing, I could easily say that this peanut butter chocolate chip cookie is one of the best cookies I have ever had. The salty-sweet taste of the peanut butter dough was very well executed and provided a perfect base for the chocolate chips, and the texture was just perfect. Not too crispy nor too soft, it was just right and everything about it satisfied my sweet tooth.
Since I’m usually a fan of iced drinks over hot ones, I wanted to try an iced tea out of their wide selection on my way out. They make all their iced teas steeped in hot water first, and then pour over ice in a to-go cup with the tea bag still inside. This method ensures the full flavor of the tea.
I tried their blackberry sage black tea, and even though iced tea flavors tend to be more watered down, this was light and refreshing without compromising any taste. The herb taste of the sage was very well blended with the fruitiness of the blackberry. It was the perfect drink for the temperate and sunny weather.
If you can’t make it over to the café to just sit and relax, they also have a wall of specialty coffee flavored grounds that you can purchase by the bag to enjoy at home. This is easy for making coffee at home accessible and on a budget.
Whether you choose to enjoy your coffee in your own home or in the café, Java Junction will definitely energize you for whatever the day may throw at you.