Java Jive

Everyone already knows that music makes life in the workforce easier. It’s been proved that productivity rises in any office in the world when people are allowed to listen to music.

Historically, it is how slaves made it through their days picking cotton, and how chain gangs survived their harsh environments … by singing together.

Coffee also has its place in the workforce. It is the life blood of the office, it is the escape to break up your day. Whom among us doesn’t tear up when they hear, “Coffee run!”

It’s the reason newspapers get out on time, it is the backbone of the New York Stock Exchange, and it is the reason I can make two kids healthy lunches before 7 a.m.

Coffee and music: pretty important stuff … to our social network, our economy and our wellbeing. They are the two pieces of fabric that weave through our daily grind.

Besides good coffee, good music is an integral part of a café anywhere in the world. The part about good music is, of course, personal. So what is good music to play in a café?

It is imperative to set moods in your establishment; one that fosters a general feeling of wellbeing, is key. I personally cannot drink coffee to Janis Joplin at 7:35 a.m. That’s just me, my husband would happily listen to German metal at 6 a.m., but that’s just to get the kids out of bed.

When I work, I try to cover as much musical ground as possible. I try and match busy coffee times with the perfect music. I have some success every day. In my humble opinion, the perfect morning music (7:30 to 8:45 a.m.) is Al Green. His super cool vocals and the sound of the wicked organ swoon over the sound of the roaster. This seems to keeps everyone really tranquil, and sedate.

Moving on in the day, for the mid-morning coffee rush, I like Waylon Jennings, a little smattering of Merle Haggard and, rounding off your cappuccino, a taste of Lee Dorsey.

Into the afternoon, when people drink less drip coffee and turn to yummy treats like mochas and iced frappes, it’s all about the funk, no one can stay angry or irritated when funk is on.

It’s Bill Withers or The Rolling Stones to end the day, but also some Etta James, Candi Stanton and any other soul queens are great for that late-afternoon latte.

Music is the universal language, and when you combine the global village’s two favourite pastimes — drinking java and listening to music — we all benefit.

Notice what happens in the Great Canadian Superstore when Cyndi Lauper’sTime after Time comes on. Everyone sings along, puttering up and down the aisles.

The best is when it connects people. A couple of weeks ago, during a big rush on the counter at Midnight Sun, Dream Police by Cheap Trick was playing, and to my surprise every single customer broke out in the chorus. It was beautiful, it made the line move faster, and no one seemed to mind waiting until the barista finished playing air guitar.

And finally, my secret coffee ingredient: my roasters all sing to the beans, every day, all day. After all, happy beans = happy cup o’ Joe.

So get in your favourite café, grab a mug and get your funk on.

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