Coffee Wars and Bikini Baristas

A battle is brewing on Salem street corners to cash in on your craving for a cup of caffeine. When Dutch Brothers Coffee opened on Commercial and Owens, Break Point Coffee, across the street, countered by adding a flashing neon sign highlighting drive thru service. Just last week, the barista at Dutch Bros. gave me a free ice coffee when I mentioned that I'd never had one of their beverages before. Coffee Nation on Mission Street SE got Portland television exposure when they put bikini tops on their baristas. Then they changed their name to Bikini Coffee Co. to remind motorists once the press went away. The bikini idea is catching on. On Highway 22 on the way to Lincoln City, there's a coffee stand in someone's front yard advertising "bikini barista." No review here, you gotta see it for yourself. The latest is the Bad Ass Coffee chain with it's donkey mascot standing on the sidewalk waving in customers to it's drive thru. It's become a contest of who can be more outrageous, more in your face. Kind of like when Michael Jackson or Madonna get bad press for saying or doing something stupid and they sell more records. I must admit that I'll buy one of these three dollar coffees when I wake up too late to brew my own. But, I hate it when these big national chains try to change the names of the sizes. It's small, medium, large, just like our clothing. You can't expect that I'm going to learn a whole new language just for a cup of joe. Of course, they do this so you feel like you're getting something more for your money. So next time you fancy a half caf tall iced grande mocha frappucino latte with whipped cream and a cherry on top for $8.95 be sure to get your coffee card stamped if you can find it in your glove compartment. After you buy ten cups, the next is free.

22 comments:

sloeater said...

Today I witnessed the brewing brayer for myself. That's right, the Bad Ass was out on the street waving a sign in muggy, 90 degree weather. Some might call him a "dumb" ass. Sorry I didn't post earlier. I know you wanted to capture it on camera. But I know sometimes cameras are out of reach ;)

Anonymous said...

I think if you buy coffee just to look at some gal in a bikini, your desperate for some T & A !

Go to the lake or beach...and take a thermos! Ha Ha Ha

Greg said...

My favorite coffee "house" used to be FastLane on Commercial. The women working there were all top notch and made us feel very special everytime we pulled up for coffee. We were like a family. I was heartbroken when they closed their doors.

That being said, JackRabbit on 13th street has been filling that void for me. The baristas are friendly and know what my drink is so they have it started when I pull up.

Anonymous said...

Where has the refinement gone out of a nice well brewed cup of coffe or tea?

Bikini bimbos = Tacky. I wish guys could just get a hold on their (youknowwhats) and get some class.

Anonymous said...

The bikini thing is ridiculous. Anyhow, the best coffee is at Salem's Latte on State Street. It's the drive in that's part of Jori Zan's piercing...really, I kid not. They use Stumptown coffee and it's awesome. check it out.

Anonymous said...

Dutch bros. just broke ground on Mission Street, right in front of North Coast Electric Supply. They are sliding in between the Shell Station Espresso shop and Coffee in Motion hoping to steal away customers from established businesses as usual.

I do know that "Coffee Nation" changed their name to "Bikini Coffee Company" because they were bought out by an investment group out of state after their news segment went on CNN and now they have shops opening in Eugene and Beaverton.

Everyone makes good coffee now, if you don't dare to be different, your failure rate rises.

Anonymous said...

Please DO NOT support Dutch Bros. They moved in across from Breakpoint for a reason: to put a local place out of business. Plus, their coffee is awful. Support our local coffee establishments!!!

Anonymous said...

totally in support of local businesses and avoiding the "chain gang" coffee companies.

If we constantly give our money as a mass population to chain stores, it will become harder and harder for anyone starting small.

I support anyone small. Someday, I might have a dream to own my own business, it would be nice to be able to have a chance, and not worry about being driven under by some corporate monster.

Anonymous said...

Java Crew on Commercial is simply the best hands down. The women working there know you by sight and when you pull up, they already know what you want. Yes sometimes there is a wait but it is so worth it.

Plus if the wait is to long, just top your car off at Cheveron. When your done the line for coffee is probably gone.

Anonymous said...

Line for coffee? Top off at the gas station? Doesn't anybody know how to make coffee at home???

guy who loves to eat said...

The bikini coffee company and dutch bros on mission street are both in for some more competition. STARBUCKS plans to open in the new shopping center currently under construction on mission street just west of Les Schwabs. I think this is great news for the consumers who will benefit from the competition.

reddot said...

i think starbucks will hurt the dutch and the bus, but the bikini shop i doubt it. i don't see the old guy that behind the counter at starbucks pulling the customers away from those bikini girls. the dutch tried without success, funny how us guys are.

Anonymous said...

I can see stringy star bikinis in the future.

Anonymous said...

You really need to check out the Bad Ass coffee shop on S. Commercial st.! They have a great lobby to sit and relax in an Hawaiian environment, and the baristas are very upbeat and friendly!!! They also have great live music every Saturday night!
NOT TO MENTION THE COFFEE IS AWESOME!!!

Andy said...

Dutch Bros. is not a national chain. They are native to Southern Oregon and open to franchises in only the western states. The individual owners decide where they want their stands and land is not abundant these days so I doubt that this stand is trying to move in on more localized stands. Plus if the customers were happy at the other shops, they would not change their "loyalty" to a new stand unless they enjoyed that experience better. The Boersma brothers that started Dutch Bros. started as a small business in Grants Pass and have worked hard over the past 15 years or so to get to where they are now, from that first small coffee cart. I think that if you do not like their coffee you can take your business elsewhere freely but there is no reason to try to down talk a business after people have worked so hard to make it what it is today. I personally enjoy going to a near by Dutch Bros. stand, but we all have our own views on things... just sit in a room and ask everyone in it who they want to be the next president? Support the coffee and stand that you feel is right for you.

Anonymous said...

""Java Crew on Commercial is simply the best hands down. The women working there know you by sight and when you pull up, they already know what you want.""

NO, I am sorry that's a load of crap!
The other day i went there and the lead barista (the one in charge) was a total jackass.
She completely messed up my drink and gave me that "oh it's one of YOU" people looks, when I asked her to make it properly. Yet, when I drove off I realized it was still wrong. NEVER GOING THERE AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

Dutch Bros. and Starbucks are not even in the same league. Starbucks customers like the taste of finely roasted beans and can tell the difference. Dutch Bros customers want the "Big Gulp" of "coffee" drinks and as big a buzz as they can get along with it. Having said that, they are both "local" companies (Northwest) and should be fine next door to each other, since they serve people with completely different tastes.

Anonymous said...

to those that think that these women are trashy and that only fat perverted truckers are visitors of these coffee astablishments are completely ignorent and more so insecure of themselves and physical figure. some people are naturally money motivated. a cute girl could work at chillis and make x amount of monay or work at hooters and make 2x that amount hypothetically. depening on her own personal morals ( right or wrong who are we to judge ) if she felt her most advantagous avenue to make more monay was to look sexier than why shouldnt she be able to do so with out being scorned by the naturally obese society. and perverted truckers...ha ha, i am 28, an attourney, consider myself above average looking, make good money, and have a beautiful wife. I go to bikini coffee almost every day to get a cup of joe here in portland since they opened and until they close starbucks wont get a single dollar from me. the girls are nice to talk to while waiting for your drink, easy on the eyes, and its over all a comfortable enviornment to visit. i have even taken my wife there and she agrees, the coffe if great.

just my 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

toadally coffee out on south commercial is amazing. they have great drink specials and their coffee is delicious!

Anonymous said...

Dutch Bros will move to any state that accepts them if they want to make money. Yes the Dutch Bros family has worked very hard to establish themselves, but lets get one thing straight; they got the idea from coffee stands opening in Eugene when Travis was attending college there. They copied the idea, made it their own, and now they are fighting for their place in the competitive coffee industry. Which includes opening shop right next to already established stands. They just shot themselves in the foot by only allowing current owners and employees to franchise stands, and they have completely saturated Oregon and are not taking anymore applications for this state. Good luck with that. Their coffee is decent, inexpensive and offers enough variations to be interesting. They are not anywhere near being the best. They focus on low price, consistant quality, speed and service. They have a great business formula for producing those four things. That's about it. All the rest of the persona and gimmicky stuff is Southern Oregon wierdness. Dutch love and Dutch mafia and the Dutch creed....come one now. Its either going to catch on and move across the U.S. or crash and burn with the ensuing double dip. National chain? Nope. Iffy Franchise? Yep.

Chuck Bradley said...

My thanks to today’s Anon post for returning me to this thread. I so enjoyed August 7, 2008 11:22 AM Anon’s post. It reminds me of the old joke: “Last week I couldn’t even spell attorney, now I are one!” This guy should add to that: “and I still can’t spell it.” How would you like to have this man draft a contract for you? Tears of laughter are still running down my cheeks!

Anonymous said...

I miss Fast Lane coffee. I will now either go to Starbucks (when I want to sit with my hubby and hang out) or I will go to Bikini Coffee Co. The coffee there is pretty good and whenever we drive through the ladies ask if our kids want lolly pops :) For those bashing the bikini coffee co I think its kind of sad, the girls are super nice and they are more covered than what you would see at the local Y...