Taste Test: We Tried Every Doughnut at Purvé Donut Stop in Honolulu
We ate a dozen doughnuts in a day so we could rank all 12 flavors.
Doughnuts can brighten our days. Anticipating a long meeting? Meeting people for the first time? Saying thank you? Doughnuts can help. Sweet enough to wake you up but not so big that they’ll ruin your next meal. So when Purvé Donut Stop came along in the summer of 2018, and brought a sassy bartender flair to the round-treats scene, we took notice and realized we had an opportunity, no, a duty, to taste and rank every single one. You’re welcome.
Some of us were more dedicated than others, so the number of random observations that popped up varies by doughnut. Also note, after the first six, we might have hit a sugar high or became light-headed, so we do encourage you to explore further taste testing. They are cheaper by the dozen: $3.25 each for five or fewer; $3 each for six to 11, and $2.75 each for 12 or more.
12. Ala Wai Tea Bag
Robbie Dingeman, editor-at-large: Your feelings about a food that hints of an origin story in the Ala Wai Canal could be key to how much you appreciate this playful matcha-iced doughnut topped with a Kit Kat.
Katie Kenny, digital editorial content specialist: I can’t get past the name. I do not want to try this one. If Robbie makes me, I’m walking out.
11. Na-Na-Nut Buster
RD: People pick sides over this one: love the haupia/banana/mac nut/chocolate combo or can’t handle the sweetness.
KK: Not my flavor, but I’m pretty particular with my coconut consumption.
10. O No! Grindz
RD: Chocolate glaze with 100% Hawaiian coffee grinds. Reminds me of a fresh muffin with coffee dust. I liked the retro coffee cake taste.
KK: Oh no! I feel betrayed by this one. Leading up to the first bite I thought I was going in for something along the lines of a mocha coffee flavor, but it turned out to be more of a coffee rub. Why is it so bitter?
James Nakamura, creative director: I’m a basic guy with basic needs, so when I realized there were coffee grounds on my choco glaze, I cried a little, then moved on with my life.
RD: Chocolate glaze with mac nuts and caramel drizzle. It’s like an ice cream sundae with everything but the cherry.
KK: Not as sweet as I thought it would be. I like the crunch but not memorable.
8. It’s OK Cuz It’s Your Dog
RD: Peanut butter and raspberry jelly? Protein and fruit: Sounds like a legit breakfast in a hurry to us. Jelly doughnut with a twist. Sweet, comforting, classic.
KK: Allergy alert: Raspberries and I don’t get along so I’m going to have to bow out of this one.
7. Umpa Lumpa Wet Dreamcicle
RD: That bright Orange Bang glaze made me a little afraid of the sugar content but that’s a darn good doughnut.
KK: Subtle greatness and not too sweet. The orange flavor is familiar and the cream cheese drizzle balances out what sweetness there is as well as the slight tang. I could have seconds.
6. Hulk Smash
RD: When you’re craving Thin Mints and the Girl Scouts sold out of this year’s batch, this mint glaze and crushed Oreos could tide you over.
KK: This is like a super-fun version of an After Eight chocolate mint.
5. The “Sanchez”
RD: Tastes like cake and cinnamon toast had a baby. Classic, recognizable and good for people who want something simple.
KK: A great doughnut is like a high-grade steak: It only requires two extra ingredients. In this case, cinnamon and sugar.
4. Unicorn Butt Sneeze
RD: Lemon glaze, and a neon pop of Fruity Pebbles. Done.
KK: How can you not like this one? It’s colorful, gives you sugar high flashbacks and strums those nostalgic heartstrings of childhood cereals past.
3. You’re Killing Me Smalls
RD: Chocolate glaze, graham crackers and torched marshmallow? Bust out the s’mores, crafts and campfire songs!
KK: Since this doughnut shop seems to be a mix-tape of throwback jams from our childhoods, I can’t help but love this one.
JN: I felt a slight pang of nostalgia with this one. A campfire. S’mores. Friends huddled together as a pack of gray wolves circled the perimeter just beyond the firelight. Ah, the ’80s.
2. Sunburnt Haole
RD: The li hing tang combines with the zing of lemon glaze for a one-two pucker punch.
KK: Tangy! The aftertaste is lovely, too.
1. O Face
RD: Definitely worthy of a big grin, from the sassy name to the sweet-sour lemon icing, graham cracker crumbs, cream cheese drizzle and, of course, the tiny Teddy.
KK: This is absolutely delightful. Hello, summer! Good-bye, beach body!
JN: Oh man, what a bright burst of sunshine. I went momentarily blind with this one. When I close my eyes all I see is yellow. Pretty good!
The weekly “winnahz” boo
With a new twist every week, we figure that some are winnahz, and others ... not. One recent riff was Sour Patch Kids cereal scattered over a milk glaze for a Saturday morning throwback treat.
Purvé Donut Stop, 1234 S. Kona St., (808) 200-3978, purvehawaii.com