Washington’s Weird Bikini Barista Culture

by: Lindy West

This past December I was sitting in a Manhattan restaurant with the rest of the Jezebel ladies for our annual staff dinner. I made an offhand comment about an acquaintance who’d once worked as a bikini barista. I might as well have said she’d once worked as a frog. “What’s a ‘bikini barista‘?” said everyone, staring blankly. I was equally dumbfounded. WHAT ISN’T A BIKINI BARISTA, YOU GUYS.

Washington's Weird Bikini Barista CultureHow is it possible that this entire table of savvy, plugged-in women weren’t aware that sometimes young women stand in small, poorly insulated roadside huts with names like “Peek-a-Brew” and “Java Juggs” and foam milk with a scalding jet of steam while wearing only pasties and a thong? How can they stand to drink coffee without any idea of what their barista’s vulva looks like? How can they live without the joy of eating a scone that was recently stored near the razor-burned pubis of a sullen 19-year-old?!? What kind of a life is that?

Well, it’s a normal life, apparently, in every part of the country except for my weird perverted corner in the Pacific Northwest. I seriously had no idea that bikini barista stands weren’t a nationwide phenomenon. Because why the fuck would it be a Washington thing, of all places? We literally won CLOUDIEST CITY IN THE U.S. (The prize is depression!) The only place where it makes less sense to wear a bikini than inside a shack filled with boiling milk is inside a damp, rainy cloud forest. Way to go, Washington.

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