By Alicia Love,
I've always loved how intertwined coffee and music are. I have a love for coffee, but music was my first passion. Obviously music is often played live in coffee houses across the world, and some shops, Coffee Labs included are known for the music they play for their customers. Coffee houses have always been meeting places since the early 20th century and were hotbeds of political talk. Music just kind of naturally fell into that environment.
Since so many of my favorite and irreplacable artists passed away this year, it's gotten me thinking more and more about what this close relationship between music and coffee means to me. Music has been an enormously important part of my life since I was young. When I was in high school, friends and I would gather in front of a stereo and listen to records and bootlegged tapes, and enjoy the music we loved. We thought these guys were the coolest. Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, U2, The Clash, and so many more. We would read the liner notes and try to learn anything we could about these artists. We went to as many concerts as we could afford, listened to great music at every party and during every car ride. We were never without music.
It's this tie to music that makes it so difficult to see so many of my favorite artists passing. I was lucky enough to see Tom Petty live for the first time on his last tour just before his death. He was part of the soundtrack of my life. So was Greg Allman. When he passed last may, I did a tribute to him at home where I tried to play his entire catalog. I didn't make it more than 3/4 of the way through before I gave in. He and the Allman brothers were so prolific.
It's the passing of these artists that has me thinking about the relationship between music and coffee in my life. I think this love for music is what led me to coffee in some ways. I was reminded recently by a great friend from high school Jen Adams that I had forgotten aspirations of owning a coffee shop even when I was a teenager. I must have forgotten that, but I guess it was just what I was supposed to do. I just thought coffee houses were cool. When I decided to enter the coffee business, and went to my first industry show I fit in instantly!
After we opened, the coffee house became more than a place to connect with people through music & place to hang out. It was and is the global community that really draws me in. The people we work with. The farmers, importers, the endless conversation about coffee. It’s never boring to me. It’s exciting talk about a new crop, brew method etc, just as it was never boring to talk about those artists. After years of owning a coffee shop, the musical connection is still as important as ever, but coffee has brought me closer to a global community and for that I am incredibly grateful.