Coffee + Creativity


I am in love… with coffee.

You could say I’m addicted, and perhaps I partly am, since caffeine is a component. But, I know our relationship is much deeper than a surface buzz.

I love everything about coffee. I love the shape, the color, the process, the aroma. I love the routine of making coffee, alone and quiet, with the sun just rising. I love local coffee shops and the people (most of the time) that own them. I love working in a coffee shop and absorbing the energy flowing through it. I love drinking coffee with my husband, on our back porch, while wearing pajamas. I love talking about coffee with my friends: who makes the best in the city, the atmosphere of a shop, flavor profiles, how much we’ve had today, the excitement of waking up tomorrow and drinking coffee…

I love the simple JOY a crafted-with-love cup of coffee gives me. I love being part of the coffee tribe.

My preferred drink is the Americano, black. If not that, espresso roast in a french press. I like it bold, rich, and aromatic. If it’s not that, I’d rather not drink it.

So, why are we talking about this? Because, lately I’ve been wondering how my coffee fits in with my ability to create. I’m sure you’ve seen the contradictory studies on coffee. Some say it’s super healthy for you with tons of antioxidants and focus power! Some say it will make you into a nervous, nutcase and affect your general wellbeing.

Well, I believe there must be a nice, fat happy place in between those opinions/studies, just like with most everything.
When I drink coffee, I feel empowered, emotionally and physically. When I work in a coffee shop I am much more productive than I am in my home office. I feel like a good coffee shop is like a mini New York City — hustling and bustling with diversity, culture, determination and interesting subjects. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but actually, there is research on the coffee shop atmosphere and how apart from consumption, the sounds alone can boost creativity. Check out this article in the New York Times that describes how the level of noise (about 70 decibels) in our favorite java joints allows just enough quiet for focus and just enough noise for our mind to wander, stimulating imagination and creative thinking. Huh.

The article also mentions a website/team of creatives called Coffitivity “recreates the ambient noises of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.” You can download an app that streams coffee shop noise directly from your device, and they even have a premium library that includes sounds from cafes around the world like Brazil Bistro and Texas Teahouse. Say what?

I’m actually doing it right now while I write this. It is kind of nice! Not sure it replaces the actual thing, but I’m willing to give it a try. If only they could stream smells…

What about you? How does coffee fit into your creative life?
P.S. Fun fact: Beethoven counted out exactly 60 beans for his coffee every morning. Maybe he was onto something.