The more I think about music and coffee, the more I feel i can learn from the music industry.

I’m not a musician, or knowledgeable about music in any way. All I can say is that a good mate plays in a band and i’ve been to a few shows.

But from what I know about him as a musician and the industry, I feel I can learn a lot about approaching coffee from their approach to music. The music industry is layered in quality. From garage bands, to pop stars, to experienced session musicians. And when it comes to live shows a lot of time is spent on geting it sounding just right. Rehearsals and sound checks. On the day of a gig, my mate will show up hours before the gig to make sure its sounding just right. Think of all the variables!! His guitar, the other guitar, the keyboard, the drums and percussion. Tuning is just the start. Getting the amp levels just write so that every instrument is heard and is harmonious with the other. Hours and hours of tweaking, so that when it comes time to play, you just play. And if something goes wrong? You’ve got backup within a few seconds.

Cafe opening times are like the gig, and the baristas like the musicians.

Sometimes I wonder if I don’t take coffee seriously enough, being my chosen profession. Spending 15 to 30 min of a morning dialling in until it tastes good, and maybe cupping a few profiles and picking one, isn’t that a bit like showing up a half hour before a gig, playing a few chords, agreeing that it sounds “good” and leaving it there? But you couldn’t get away with it in the music industry. Fans know what sounds good and when something sounds off. Are they just more educated about their field? More so than coffee people? Maybe I get away with it in coffee because peoples expectations about what’s “good” is far lower? Maybe we’re all just used to the coffee equivalent of a garage band and we don’t realise how clean and schmick it all could be! Imagine the difference if I spent hours and hours on a single coffee. Exploring it’s potential and then getting the technique down so tight that it was just second nature that I could interact with customers as if I was a rock star in the crowd. And do this every time.

I wonder about the potential there. Maybe it’s a bad link. But it’s nonetheless inspiring to wonder at the possibility of improvements with that kind of dedication.



“She served lemon Bundt cake, baked that morning, and poured strong coffee”.
– Kinfolk, Vol. 6, p58.

Specialty coffee is the minority in coffee. Well…, duh. Haha I know. But think of it like that, rather than seeing it as the “top of the pile”, and it feels a bit different.

All of a sudden we’re the silly ones. The ones that measure everything, and tweak everything, and slurp, and say it tastes like mandarin and cherry pie. But far from calling this silly, it’s amazing. It’s a world of passionate, driven people who know this product and its potential very well.

Coffee is a huge industry. We are a tiny part, but a great part.