Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

Island Brew Coffeehouse opens new location to celebrate a “Gilmore Girls” revival.
Island Brew Coffeehouse owner and barista Rafael Baez, left, was in full Luke Danes mode, wearing the signature Luke’s Diner apron and a backward baseball cap. The coffee shop served brew in special cups, right, with Lorelai’s famous quote. The one-time Gilmore Girls event happened yesterday.
Photos: Maria Kanai


There are days when we are all Lorelai from Gilmore Girls—we need coffee in an IV. The Gilmores’ famous obsession with coffee has sprawled over diehard fans, and, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the series premiere, Netflix reached out to local coffee shops around the nation to give folks the real Luke’s Diner treatment: free coffee.


For those not in the know, Gilmore Girls is an American television comedy-drama about Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a fictional young, fast-talking mother-and-daughter duo who live in a small Connecticut town called Stars Hollow. The show ran for seven seasons until 2007 but is returning as a miniseries on Nov. 24 on Netflix, hence the hype.


Here in Hawai‘i, Island Brew Coffeehouse began its Gilmore Girls pop-up at 7 a.m. on Oct. 5, at both its Hawai‘i Kai and Kaimukī locations. It was the Kaimukī store’s first day to open—a smart move that probably made new customers of hardcore Gilmore fans.


The local coffee shop was decked out to look like Luke’s Diner, complete with the cake stands and the “No Cellphones” sign. Most were ignoring that sign, as fans snapped pictures of the owner and barista Rafael Baez, who was in full Luke Danes mode, wearing the signature Luke’s Diner apron and a backward baseball cap. He even took on Luke Danes’ surly attitude until he broke character to say, “I like this. I can be my natural mean self!” (Baez owns Island Brew with his wife, Pei-Yu.)


Happy Gilmore fans Jordyn Ware and Katie Wood got their Luke’s coffee fix.


Island Brew Coffeehouse has a cozy aesthetic, with hanging vines, potted succulents and colorful paintings—a change from the outdoor ocean views at the Hawai‘i Kai location. By the time we arrived, there was a long line, mostly women and kids. Two of the cake stands were empty, and only the lemon cream cake ($5.25) remained, sliced in huge portions perfect for Lorelai and her famous appetite. About 200 cups of free drip coffee were handed out, with a special Gilmore Girls cup cover and quotes, “You like coffee?” “Only with my oxygen,” printed on the cup. Behind the cover, there’s a secret Snapchat code for a special Luke’s Diner filter.


Island Brew Coffeehouse’s signature lattes were for sale, including the Malabar mocha ($4.95), biscotti latte ($4.75) and the vanilla latte ($4.65), but the food menu was limited to bagels and the cakes. The Hawai‘i Kai shop is known for its acai bowls, so we’re looking forward to trying the food when it’s available at its Kaimukī location.


The four-part miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres on Netflix on Thursday, Nov. 24 at 9:01 p.m. HST.