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Crazy parsley sauce paninis and weak coffee at Hav a Java

Review — South Campus has three cafés run by Hav a Java: Mødestedet at KUA 2, Hav a Java at KUA 1, and Hav a Java at KUA 3. We had lunch twice in one day and tested out meat, vegetarian, and vegan options at the cafés.

You’ve probably been there before: You’re hungry, you’re thirsty, and you have zero patience for the long line at the cafeteria. Maybe you’re just looking for a quick lunch snack or a cup of coffee to bring to the next lecture or enjoy outside in the sun.

For those purposes, Hav a Java’s cafés on South Campus are ideal. They are located by the Humanities cafeteria in KUA 1, in the main hall in KUA 2 (Mødestedet), and by the Law cafeteria in KUA 3. We decided to swing by Hav a Java at Mødestedet and the Law cafeteria to test out their drinks-menu as well as their meat, vegetarian, and vegan offers.

Brie cheese sandwich (15 kroner)
Oat milk latte (20 kroner)

Swap out regular milk for oat milk free of charge

Our tour-de-lunch kicks off at Hav a Java by the Law cafeteria. You can bring your purchased items with you outside and enjoy the fresh air in the courtyard. There’s a nice atmosphere, and prices are manageable if you accept that a cup of coffee will always be more expensive at a café. Lattes and cappuccinos are 20 kroner each while a cup of regular joe only sets you back 10 kroner. If you need a to-go cup for your coffee, you can add another 2 kroner to the price (the environment thanks you), while special milk (in this case oat milk from Yosa) is free of charge. Rows of plastic wrapped sandwiches are on display in the cold counter, and you can also buy a hot tomato and cheese focaccia.

I order a latte with oat milk (20 kroner) and pick up a vegan sandwich with hummus, falafel, and chili sauce (28 kroner) from the counter. My co-reviewer picks up a bottle of water (16 kroner) and a vegetarian ryebread sandwich with Brie, pesto, and red bell pepper (15 kroner). We decide to share a container of vegetable sticks and a small cup containing some kind of green dip (5 kroner) with no ingredients listed on the packaging.

Sadly, my latte is utterly flavourless and I have to strain my taste buds to navigate through the overwhelming sweetness of the oat milk to actually taste the coffee. The foam on top lacks fluff suggesting that perhaps this particular brand of oat milk is ill suited to the purpose. I highly doubt this will fill your caffeine need after an all-night cramming session.

The food is significantly better than the coffee (which is a little strange considering it’s a coffee house). My co-reviewer was happy with her ryebread sandwich. The bread slices are pretty big so you will definitely be full all afternoon unless you’re extremely hungry.

The Brie was nice and mild, and each slice of bread was covered with just enough pesto that you can taste it and every other ingredient. The two pieces of bell pepper were fresh and crisp and provided the snack with a little bite. All in all, at 15 kroner this is a pretty nifty, little lunch deal. One caveat, though. The food was a little too cold for all the flavours to really pop.

The vegan sandwich is huge so if you’re the kind of person who is very meticulous about putting on lipstick in the morning, you should go for a different lunch option, because this sandwich will destroy your makeup.

The vegan sandwich is huge so if you’re the kind of person who is very meticulous about putting on lipstick in the morning, you should go for a different lunch option, because this sandwich will destroy your makeup. I’ve always hated refrigerated sandwiches with a passion, because I worry that I will be sinking my teeth into a piece of soggy bread swimming in mayo.

There’s no mayo in this sandwich and it’s also not soggy. Weirdly enough it’s not particularly dry either. The bread is light and fluffy and covered in cumin flavoured hummus. The falafels work well in harmony with the other ingredients despite being a tad on the dry side. The sandwich is also equipped with some kind of chili dressing or sauce that leaves a nice buzz in the back of your mouth. The main ingredient appears to be various types of cabbage – red cabbage, pointed cabbage, and arugula – and I’m pretty sure this more than meets the requirements for daily vegetable intake.

Oat milk cappuccino (20 kroner)
Vegetable sticks (15 kroner) with green dip (5 kroner)

My co-reviewer and I share a small container of vegetable sticks. The box contains cucumber, carrots, red bell pepper, and tiny tomatoes accompanied by what turns out to be a pea dip. The vegetable sticks are cold, crisp, and fresh, and the pea hummus balances out the taste of garlic and pepper with the sweetness of the peas.

Before we move on, I order an oat milk cappuccino to see if it packs more of a punch than was the case with the latte.

The drink is served in a white porcelain mug with a sweet and milky type of cocoa sprinkle on top. Considering that an actual person put time and energy into grinding the beans, making the espresso, and foaming the milk it is borderline sacrilege to serve the drink in the type of mug you find in a cafeteria onboard a ferry.

This coffee drink is also a disappointment. It’s nauseatingly sweet and has a weird note of bitterness to it – kind of like marzipan. I have a couple of sips and decide to leave it behind.

Parsley sauce panini is not a hit

At Mødestedet on the Universitetstorvet there’s an even bigger Hav a Java with a broader selection of items for sale. Here you can buy a cold brew-coffee, which is prominently displayed in a beehive shaped dispenser on the counter, and there’s beer, wine, and cava too – a perfect choice for a relaxing late afternoon drink outside on the brand-new Karen Blixens Plads.

We’re now ready to try out the meat, vegetarian, vegan dishes on offer. We’ve been at it for a few hours now and are both starting to feel a craving for a cup of coffee that actually tastes like coffee. We both order a cold brew-coffee (20 kroner), a skimmed milk cappuccino (20 kroner), and a semi-skinned milk ice coffee with a dash of hazelnut syrup (25 kroner).

In addition, we end up buying two different paninis (20 kroner each), a tomato and cheese focaccia (15 kroner), chia putting with apple and muesli (20 kroner), and a small container of white dip (5 kroner).

Cold coffee can either be a terrific experience or the worst thing you’ve ever tasted. What I didn’t know, prior to trying the cold brew at Mødestedet, was that cold coffee can be just as plain and generic as a steak at Jensens Bøfhus.

It’s cold alright, but the brew part seems to have been lost in the mix. You know how when you’ve had an entire pitcher of ice coffee and only the ice cubes on the bottom are left? You wait a little while until it melts in water, and then you drink that, too? That’s what this coffee tastes like. Don’t throw your money away on it.

My co-reviewer orders a semi-skimmed milk cappuccino with a tiny foam heart on top. Once again, the drink arrives in a plain, white ferry cafeteria-style mug. But cup decorum (and lack thereof) aside, it still doesn’t taste very good. The foam has a weird texture and is not soft and creamy enough. We’re starting to think that maybe they aren’t foaming their milk properly. Still, of all todays coffees this was the best one. But don’t count on it getting you up in the morning.

The ice coffee with the hazelnut syrup is delicious, because it tastes like liquid Nutella. However, seeing as most people above the age of seven aren’t capable of ingesting half a litre of Nutella in one sitting, my co-reviewer has to throw the towel in the ring halfway through. Not much coffee flavour here, either. Apparently, coffees at Hav a Java need a double shot before they taste even remotely like they’re supposed to.

Chia putting (20 kroner)
Focaccia (15 kroner)
Ice coffee (25 kroner)

Once again, the food is much better than the beverages on offer. Beside a falafel sandwich, the chia pudding with vanilla, apple compote and muesli crunch is the only vegan option on offer. If you’re unfamiliar with chia pudding it consists of tiny chia seeds soaked until they puff up and turn gooey (more delicious than it sounds). Unfortunately, the pudding is much too stiff, and the synthetic taste of vanilla is too strong. The bottom layer of apple compote is acidic, sweet and reminiscent of the kind of apple porridge you ate as a child. It has us craving apple porridge with whipped cream and macaroons, so our biggest complaint with the chia pudding is that it’s not a delicious apple porridge.

My co-reviewer orders a hot vegetarian panini with pesto and cheese (20 kroner) and a tomato and cheese focaccia (15 kroner). The vegetarian panini sounds promising – who doesn’t like a hot, cheesy sandwich? However, the parsley sauce and cheese combination is extremely heavy and reminiscent of the kind of thick, cream based sauce you serve with a pork and potatoes in Denmark. At least it’s a big portion for 20 kroner.

The focaccia is cold and mainly looks like a pizza bun served in a middle school cafeteria. There’s plenty of blackened grated cheese on top which doesn’t do much, but on the other hand the tomato sauce is sweet and tasty. The bread is of a good quality – it’s chewy and acidic and clearly baked on sourdough. At 15 kroner, it’s more a snack than a meal that will keep you full during the afternoon lectures.

We also try out a panini with salami, gouda cheese, chili, and pickled red onion, but the latter drown in all the other flavours. We agree that they would have been better off in the vegetarian panini where they could have provided some much-needed balance to the parsley-cheese orgy. The panini is spicy – due to the chili and the salami – and it’s packed with melted gouda cheese. The bread is white and boring but is nicely toasted.

Finally, we are left with a tiny container of white dip. We buy another round of vegetable sticks and ask the woman behind the counter what’s in the dip. She’s not sure, but we’re pretty confident that it’s some kind of crème fraiche dip. Tiny dots of pepper or mixed in, but it’s completely flavourless nonetheless. You would probably be better off saving your dip money and spending them on an extra shot of espresso for your coffee.

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