Maui Good, Wowi Expensive.
Maui Wow – Deptford Mall Location – Deptford, NJ
Price: $6.25 (One drink)
Website: Maui Wowi Website
In the world of coffee, the competition is all over the map. Starbucks is experiencing some atrophy with store closures, Dunkin seems to be doing fine, and a crop of smaller stores like Maui Wowi pop in and out to fill in the gaps. Because I absolutely love coffee and for some reason I’m compelled to pay for someone else to make it for me, I stopped at the Deptford Mall Maui Wowi for a nice summer cool-down. Could it top the big name franchises for the best stuff in town? After all, a Starbucks, Dunkin, and Starbucks Jr (Barnes & Noble Cafe) are within a couple miles.
As far as the menu goes, expect all the usual coffee stuffs with a nice selection of fresh fruit smoothies you won’t find at Dunkin or Starbucks. The Deptford Location isn’t a full store, rather a Hawaiian-hut kiosk on the second floor across from the big Verizon Wireless store. If you are just in the mood for an energy boost, they have a nice assortment of the Monster Energy Java drinks, including the elusive Lo-Ball ‘lite’ version I can’t seem to find anywhere else (and is only occasionally stocked at this store). Prices are fairly steep; a small frozen concoction is going to burn you for $5 after tax, and a large will run you over $7. This is a bit higher than both Dunkin and Starbucks for comparable sizes. I like the all-recyclable (#1) solo containers, and from the two times I’ve been there they’ve filled up my cup to the very top.
Both times I tried the frozen cappuccino, and next time I’ll go for a frozen espresso. The frozen cappuccino is best described as a superior version of Dunkin’s coffee coolata, with a much better flavor. It had a slight milky/vanilla aftertaste that was pleasing and overall it tasted like I thought it should. They can ‘spike’ any of your drinks with a wide assortment of flavors, including some sugar-free items. One of the best things I liked about the drink was that it was blended into oblivion. On several occasions getting my favorite Java Chip Lite at Starbucks, there’d be a sizeable chunk of ice at the bottom of the cup, which cheated me out of product. This is certainly not the case at Maui Wowi, and that’s probably because they have newer or better blenders. Down to the last sip, there was 100% frozen cappuccino goodness.
One thing that I noticed is that there wasn’t a big display of fresh fruit like you’d see in some of the smoothie stores out there. In some of the franchise photos on the website, there is a pile of bananas decorating the corners here and there, but lemon, mango, strawberry, pineapple, kiwi, and papayas, all part of menu smoothies, surely aren’t to be found. I find it hard to imagine, therefore, that they have ‘fresh’ fruits as they claim. That’s not to say the smoothies aren’t excellent – I’ll hopefully get some feedback from you guys – but it might be a little deceptive compared to some of the other places that clearly use fresh ingredients that you can openly see.
I’ll probably come back to try some of the other drinks over time, so the score might bounce around a little bit. Still, overall, it’s probably a good bet if you’re into coffee as much as I am. The jury is still out on their smoothies (which they consider their signature products), but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt as far as taste is concerned for now.
– Good coffee drinks
– Pleasant, fast service
– ‘Fresh fruit’? Doubt it.
– Fairly high prices
Guru’s Score: 3.35 Chews
Subjective rating: Good enough to take out some competitors.
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