Welcome to the jungle of java and waves

by Emma Secker

Courtesy of Java Jungle

Tucked a beachball’s bounce from the white sands of Ocean Beach, Jungle Java sits on this surf town’s renowned Newport Avenue, offering shoppers, eaters and wanderers a cup of coffee or a sweet fix at a scenic sit-down.

At first glance, an unfamiliar eye might mistake this java joint for a charming nursery. With tall, cage-like bars framing a wide and welcoming entrance, Jungle Java’s natural interior bursts onto the concrete street. From the bustling sidewalk, a clear vision into the jungle retreat awaits just through the opening gates. Decorative pottery, fountains and plants line Jungle Java’s interior. The alluring façade and ambiance attract first-timers, and the food and drink offerings turn inquisitive passersby into regulars.

Upon entering the ornamental, floral-laden tent that comprises Jungle Java’s main room and gift shop, it can be instantly discovered why the word “java” earns its place in the restaurant’s title. A humble standoff to the side of this shady, tiled room indicates the snack haven where coffee lovers go to satisfy their caffeine fix or enjoy a sweet treat. Oftentimes only a single employee oversees the entire cafe, playing the role of barista, busser, server and gift salesperson simultaneously.

Before ordering, an extensive menu of food and drink options are offered. With homemade smoothies, teas, iced and blended coffee drinks and other specialty beverages to choose from, guests are likely to spend a few minutes mulling their choices to slake their thirst. Once the drink has been decided, an array of baked goods, quiches, stuffed croissants, parfaits and tasty oatmeal concoctions tempt patrons further.

A “mack daddy” oatmeal offers diners the mouthwatering combination of oatmeal, brown sugar, melted butter, bananas and milk all heaped into a large plastic cup. For the reasonable price of $4, guests can fill their bellies and satisfy their taste buds.

Once food and drink orders have been placed with the friendly barista, guests are encouraged to head to the garden-like patio to wait for their selections to be brought to them. For those wishing to indulge their minds before their appetites, a pleasant wooden wheelbarrow heaping with newspapers sits just inside for all to peruse. Wi-Fi is offered upon request, so those who have studying to accomplish can break free from the library and hit the books in the jungle.

Ornate garden benches, lounge chairs and patio tables amid the plants and fresh air make for a peaceful, pleasing atmosphere for students to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee at any time of day with friends or alone. Jungle Java hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the winter, but stays open later once summer arrives.

As the Jungle Java website puts it, the picturesque nook is a splendid outlet for students looking to “reJavanate” with a delicious coffee or a tasty treat. Jungle Java does not accept credit cards, so visitors must remember to bring cash.