So You Went to Bikini Beans in Phoenix: Now What?
This "Tropakini" tastes like sadness.
So, you made the choice to pick up a cup of coffee at Bikini Beans. No big deal, right? It's just a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee made just for you, stud, by a teenaged girl in a little bitty bikini.
Here's a brief guide to coping with the feelings of self-loathing and existential angst that will immediately follow your visit, provided you aren't a total dirtbag.
My advice to you is this: Figure out what the exact flavor of your self-loathing is prior to making your visit, and position yourself no further than 10 minutes away from a source of this flavor. For instance: my self-loathing tastes just exactly like a Taco Bell Bean Burrito with extra onions, and within moments of leaving Bikini Beans, I was in the drive-thru at Taco Bell shoving my face full of delicious, bean-y, cheesy self-hatred. Had I waited mere moments longer to indulge in this vice, I may have simply imploded.
Here is a list of the good things about Bikini Beans:
1. The staff are really friendly. In the stripper kind of way, sure, but also in the regular great customer service kind of way. The girls behind the counter seemed to genuinely care about whether their drinks were good, answered questions, provided recommendations, and were generally very attentive.
2. They actually sort of know how to steam milk. It wasn't scalded, and actually had some nice texture. It also wasn't hot, but I can't really blame them for that on account of that about 99 percent of the baristas' bodies were exposed. I wouldn't really want to be around very hot anything in that condition, no sir.
3. There isn't a third good thing about Bikini Beans. Everything else about Bikini Beans is terrible.
I made my visit to the cafe (Vestibule? Terrarium built to contain adolescent girls with very false eyelashes and very real daddy issues?) during peak hours. That is to say, I visited when the sun was just starting to go down. I have spent months trying to solve the great mystery of how this place stays in business. I had never seen a car in the parking lot or drive through.
Here is why: Visiting Bikini Beans at dusk provides men in penis-shaped cars with things like "privacy" and "discretion." Note: Yes, I said men. And if you have any questions about the gender distribution of Bikini Beans' clientele, you are welcome to sit outside of the establishment as I did and take a tally. Consider it mis-anthropological fieldwork.
By the light of day, these men might only be mild to moderate dirtbags. Tiny dirtbag saplings, if you will, struggling to take root in this crazy world. But the veil of night and the convenience of Bikini Beans' Drive-Through window allows them to fully actualize their dirtbag potential. No longer fledglings, cloaked in darkness, and fueled by sweet, frozen, whipped cream-laden coffee drinks (yes, they all purchased frappes), these men continue on their cat-calling, dirt-baggin' way to BandAids or to their jobs or maybe home to move their things into the governor's mansion. Who knows, really.
So now that we've established that Bikini Beans basically specializes in Dirtbag Fertilizer (but they do it so well!), let's talk about what else it has to offer.
The Bikini Beans soundtrack expressly comprises very, very loud electronic dance music. You will feel your brain begin to rattle around in its cage as a result of this music. Don't worry. It's normal.
The menu at Bikini Beans is bright orange. The signage and seating at Bikini Beans are also bright orange. If bright orange doesn't scream "class," then I just don't know what it could possibly be screaming, except maybe "help."
The menu at Bikini Beans. Some puns intended.
Back to the menu. The menu is broken down into many sections. Sizes are listed as A, B, C, and D cups. There also are special bonus drinks that come in a DD size. There are parenthetical notes all over the menu that say "No Pun Intended," in places where puns are clearly intended, and also in places where there is absolutely no potential for wordplay.
This may be surprising, but the section called "Espresso" offers very little by way of espresso. It mostly contains mochas of various kinds. I tried one, called Tuxedo, that was a white and dark chocolate mocha. It was very sweet, lacked any discernible trace of coffee, and made my teeth squeak.
The next drink I tried was a Bikini Beans original called the Tropakini. The Tropakini contains no coffee, but is rather a blend of lime syrup, kiwi syrup, strawberry syrup, orange juice (which may have actually just been orange syrup,) and Red Bull. This drink was recommended to me by the barista, which makes sense because she might have been 14 years old. The Tropakini tasted like -- syrup.
I also made sure to try the Brewed Bikini House Blend, a watery, charcoal-y, burnt mixture of something brown and water. I do not recommend that you try the Brewed Bikini House Blend.
In all, I spent nearly 15 dollars on this trifecta of high-fructose corn syrup, brown stuff, and water. And $1.62 on my requisite post-travesty Taco Bell.
When you make your own visit, be sure to stay away from absolutely everything that the establishment has to offer. But maybe swing by to tip the baristas for not making you try any of their drinks. After all, they were really, really nice.
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