Sunday, March 27, 2011

Social Drinking and the Siphon

I have a confession to make: I can’t handle my caffeine. Even after all of these years of sipping lattes, including the time I spent behind the espresso machine, caffeine still affects me in bizarre ways. Sometimes everything will seem fine until about 4am when I’m lying in bed, unable to sleep and deeply regretting that mocha I had 12 hours earlier. Other times, like the day I visited the Beach Bum Café, the chemical rushes straight into my brain, making me coffee drunk. Yes, sometimes a cup of coffee can hit harder than a couple of vodka tonics.

Appropriately enough, this downtown coffeehouse is set up much like a bar, with counter seating wrapping around the drink prep area. I settled into a chair and started studying the menu. A friendly guy sitting next to me suggested going for the siphon brewing method, if I had time. Ooh, I’d never gotten around to trying that before. Sad, but true. Sure, I had some time to kill. Let’s give it a go.

The barista pulled out the components of an elaborate coffee chemistry set from behind the counter and quickly assembled it. He then ground the coffee, spooned it into the top part of the contraption, filled the bottom with water, lit the Bunsen burner... and then we were off! Wait, this shop is in the middle of grab-and-go country; an area where you sneak away for a coffee while your boss is in a meeting. How do the 9-to-5ers have time for this?

Following the barista’s suggestion, I tried the Rusty’s Red Caturra. It was interesting and different; a nice cup indeed. Sorry, I’m out of practice when it comes to describing coffee…. I shall study up!

It’s good to finally have a shop out here that takes their brewed coffee seriously, instead of focusing primarily on espresso drinks. 100% locally-grown coffee, brewed by the cup. 

The owner was holding a tasting while I was there, explaining the nuances of a few different brews to a group of people.

Oh yeah, then I got wired. Majorly. Feeling a bit awkward sitting alone at the bar, I drank my coffee rather quickly. I also felt like I shouldn’t just sit there mute, so I asked the barista a bunch of questions. As the caffeine started surging through my bloodstream, I’m pretty sure my questions grew progressively more off the wall. By the end, I was convinced he either thought I was some sort of coffee spy or a random oddball. Caffeine-induced paranoia….

The plan for next time: Don’t drink on an empty stomach, drink slowly and don’t drink alone. 

Beach Bum Café 
1088 Bishop Street, Suite 101, Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 521-6699


  1. I'm sorry! Next time I'll get coffee drunk with you!

  2. Hi! I've enjoyed Beach Bum Cafe's Red Caturra and also like it in the siphon method!

    Nice blog!

  3. No, Brooke, it was a nice experience, so don't worry. But yes, be my drinking buddy next time!

    Wow, Rick, guess I made a good choice :)It was good to finally try the siphon, after seeing it around in other cities.... And thanks!

  4. Hi, just stopping by your blog from Coffee Served Daily. Love your coffee photos! I just visited Oahu a few weeks ago, where my sister in law lives. I visited a couple of coffee shops, but missed this one! Darn!

    Great blog! :)

  5. Thanks, Nicolle! I'm such a big fan of Coffee Served Daily :) Hope you can make it out here again one day to experience the Beach Bum Cafe!