The Aloha Spirit
In the heart of Houston, nestled on a corner lot in the Medical Center, you’ll find Java Lava Brew. Beyond a good cup of coffee and a place to read and work, Java Lava feels like visiting your best-friend-of-twenty-years- home for Friday night dinner, a tradition you’ve followed for years. And that’s part of the narrative of how this shop came to be and those best friends are owners Lynne and Su.
A close family friend was diagnosed with cancer and the reality of mortality shifted their perspective on life and its fragility. Su was in need of a creative outlet and Lynne wanted to venture into something they truly enjoyed, beyond their career. This led them to Hawaii where they happened upon a house they both fell in love with. The house looked like one of Su’s designs (Su has decades of experience as an architect), which immediately made them feel at home. In addition to the home, the land came with a coffee farm where over 250 organic coffee trees grow. This is where the seed of Java Lava Brew begin to grow.
Lynne and Su began to learn how to grow coffee beans and the ins and outs of going from the tree to the brew. Su began designing Java Lava Brew and both poured their heart into what they wanted this shop to be. Every line in their design is intentional, from the entry-way and outdoor patio, to the wrap-around bar and family-style table in the middle of the restaurant. All of their coffee grounds remain organic and come from their home in Hawaii. This shop feels like its own little paradise, where you park in Houston but walk into Hawaii as soon as you cross the archway entrance.
If there’s one thing I must emphasize about this shop, it’s how at-home it makes one feel. In my short hour with Lynn, she greeted three close family friends as soon as they walked into the shop. She told me stories of sitting next to strangers who are regulars and how they turned from strangers to friends. She and Su value the face-to-face interaction and learning about people, their experience, and their stories.
You might walk in a stranger, but you’ll leave as family and that is the aloha spirit.
Kathryn Garza is a graduate of the Bauer Honors Program at the University of Houston. She studied Finance and completed the Certified Financial Planning curriculum. she is currently pursuing her CFP® designation. Kathryn also graduated from the Summer Venture in Management Program at HArvard Business School.
She is a native of the Rio Grande Valley where she spent her childhold playing soccer, performing in local theater, and helping her grandmother’s small-business. She is the eldest of three with two younger brothers and a loving home protected by four dogs.
Away from the office, Kathryn is a member of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, The Women’s Fund, and the C.T. Bauer College of Business Alumni Committee.